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'If It's Football, It's Vital'

Pilgrims 1 - 1 Stags

Argyle 1 - 1 Mansfield
Alessandra 96. Rhead 74.

Attn: 6,248.

Another poor home performance saved by a late equaliser, this time in the 96th minute.

The play-offs are now 11 points away into the distance and after back-to-back home draws coupled with poor performances promotion this season looks a lost cause.

The players once again look lethargic, the mo-jo has disappeared from the team and the team spirit must be in question following the altercation between Neil Trotman and Luke McCormick.
The keeper and defender both went for the same ball midway through the second half and collided, luckily McCormick smothered the loose ball but quickly jumped up to push Trotman in the chest and have a heated debate, Trotman pushed back which resulted in the ref giving both players a yellow card; McCormick then signalled he had a hand injury and was replaced by sub keeper Jake Cole.
Did McCormick injure his hand pushing Trotman? As McCormick walked off there was a shouting match with the Mansfield bench, God knows why because the situation was nothing to do with the visitors.
Not a good situation and embarrassing for everyone.

Argyle manager John Sheridan started with a 4-3-3 formation with Lewis Alessandra and Jaosn Banton flanking Reuben Reid and Dom Blizzard sitting deeper of the three midfielders.
A strong swirling wind once again played a part in a game at Home Park and it was bleddy freezing!

We started well which lasted for about 10 minutes but faded, the front three just couldn't get going, the wrong pass or decision was made too often and the Mansfield keeper was given an easy time.
Alessandra and Banton briefly swapped positions but it didn't matter.

The second half was much the same, if 4-3-3 isn't working why not revert to 4-4-2?
Nope, Tyler Harvey came on for the unlucky Blizzard but the formation stayed the same.

A very average Mansfield team took the lead when Matthew Rheadwas left unmarked at the far post and easily slotted in. It was poor defending from Argyle who now looked all over the place at the back.

We huffed and puffed and carved out half chances for Reid, Banton and Alessandra but they were wasted, although I don't remember the Mansfield keeper making many saves.

You know when Sheridan gets desperate when he changes to three at the back and puts a lot of players into attacking positions and sure enough Ben Purrington was sacrificed for Nathan Thomas in a 3-3-4 line-up and we finally started to put some pressure on the Stags.

It all looked lost and with the fans streaming out of Home Park Thomas tied a defender in knots, crossed to Alessandra who was able to find a way through and shoot low into the net. 1-1 at the death witnessed by the 3,000 or so fans left in the stadium.

While the players are lacking quality and cohesion at the moment they deserve credit for their effort and for somehow finding the equaliser. It`s a sign of a good team that after playing so badly they carve out a point late in a game, if only the team would show what they are made of from the first whistle.

Blizzard was so unlucky once again to be subbed, he was having a good game.
Hourihane had a very good game, driving the team on.
Young, as so often happens to him, wasn't so good from a starting position in the team.

Banton is slowly getting there but is wasted in the wide areas, get him the middle playing just off Reid and let him weave his magic, just as he did last season.

Alessandra did some good things and made some mistakes but kept going to grab that goal.

Shame on McCormick and to a lesser degree Trotman.

The team needs a spark from somewhere.

Well done to the ref who had a very good first league game.

McCormick 5 (Cole 6), Blanchard 6, Trotman 5, Nelson 6, Purrington 6 (Thomas 7), Hourihane 8, Blizzard 7 (Harvey 5), Young 5, Banton 6, Alessandra 6, Reid 5.

Man of the match: Hourihane.

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The Journalist

Writer: Ian De-Lar Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Saturday February 1 2014

Time: 6:27PM


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