A Bridge Too Far
A round trip of 572 miles that started full of optimism on the eve of a new season ended with a disappointing and deflating 1-0 defeat against Cambridge.
Over 1,000 Argyle fans marched on the Abbey Stadium in Cambridge to take a look at the new team built by manager John Sheridan. The line-up included six new players and hope was high that the Greens could burst the Cambridge promotion bubble.
Argyle had a measure of control during the first half, enjoying plenty of possession and moving the ball around well, usually out wide to Deane Smalley or Jason Banton.
Several corners were wasted by Argyle, either failing to beat the first man or sailing over the heads of everyone, and yet Cambridge didn't capitalise and looked very average.
Disaster struck in the 11th minute when Argyle defender Carl McHugh handled the ball in the area, he leant into the ball as it bounced across the penalty area. However, the penalty from Adam Cunnington was weak and Luke McCormick was able to pull off a good save.
On the stroke of half time Lewis Alessandra ran clear of the Cambridge defence and only had to lob the advancing keeper but didn't get enough leverage on the ball and it was saved.
A good first half for Argyle with Cambridge rarely threatening the Green defence.
Argyle had a good five minute spell at the start of the second half but after that it all went down hill.
The passing style disappeared and for the first time in the game the Argyle defence came under some pressure with McCormick making several good saves.
Despite the momentum being with Cambridge Argyle still had chances to score with shots from Reuben Reid and Ollie Norburn well saved.
The one and only goal came in the 61st minute when Argyle failed to deal with a corner and Josh Coulson seized on the loose ball and finished with a shot from just inside the area.
The goal seemed to be a killer blow to the Argyle players because they showed no urgency or desire to fight back and grab the equaliser.
Substitute Marvin Morgan did his best with some long balls aimed at him but the first half momentum had gone and the game staggered to its inevitable conclusion.
A game of two halves, we looked a decent team for the first 45 and yet for the second 45 we looked very average and to be fair Cambridge were no great shakes either.
Banton got into some good positions but is reluctant to use his left foot; too many times he did well to get into a crossing position but stopped and looked to beat the defender again so that he could cross with his right foot.
Smalley had a good game and used the ball well, he looks an intelligent player. Reid looked our most likely player to score, the full-backs did ok with Kelvin Mellor getting forward more than McHugh on the left.
Cox was our best outfield player and got through a lot of work in midfield; Alessandra was lively upfront and was surprisingly subbed.
Once again our corners were poor, either hitting the first defender or going too long, the short corners didn't work either, didn't we learn anything from last season?
Overall, a disappointing result considering we controlled the first half, it's just a pity we collapsed so badly during the second half.
Man of the match: McCormick.
McCormick 8, Mellor 6, Nelson 7, Hartley 6, McHugh 5, Smalley 7, Cox 7, Norbun 5 (Blizzard 6), Banton 6 (Morgan 6), Reid 7, Alessandra 6 (Thomas 5).
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