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Northampton match report
07 March 2015 17:59 Post ID: #71144
The Greens returned to winning ways with an excellent 2-0 win against a strong and confident Northampton team.

Anthony O'Connor and Lewis Alessandra grabbed the goals but the credit should go to the way the whole team defended and held onto the first half lead. That's better Argyle!

Despite playing against 12 men we managed to get the win that put's us back in the play-off zone.
Referee Steve Martin and his team tried everything but just couldn't break down a strong Argyle defence.

We look a much better team when we go in front and have something to hold on to and protect.
Northampton should have been down to 10 men in the early minutes when their keeper handled outside of the box but Steve Martin didn't even issue a yellow or speak to Matt Duke.

Reuben Reid made a welcome return to the team after recovering from injury and while not a vintage Reuben display he played a part in the win and the second goal. Kelvin Mellor also came back into the team and Drew Talbot switched to central midfield.

Northampton came at us from the first whistle and we looked a little hesitant, Peter Hartley wasn't at his best and clearances always seemed to find an opposition player.

Slowly we got a foot hold in the game and Alessandra should have scored when he pounced on a back header from a Cobblers defender, with only the keeper to beat he weakly shot at Duke and he easily caught the ball, the obvious intention was to lob the ball over the keeper.

Soon after the big talking point arrived. Duke raced out of his penalty area and clearly handled the ball, the linesman gave it and surely Northampton would be down to ten players. Nothing at all from the referee Steve Martin, not even a yellow card or a talking to to Duke!
The free-kick fizzled out into nothing.

Talbot and Tarieq Holmes-Dennis were now having a growing influence on the game and the first goal was manufactured on their side of the pitch, the ball fell loose to Anthony O'Connor who thumped the ball in from 20 yards out.
He raced to the fans and removed his shirt to reveal a Superman T shirt. And guess what? O'Connor received a yellow card while Duke got away scot free.

Argyle now looked a different team, full of confidence and had the lead to protect.

By now Martin had pulled on a Northampton shirt and was giving every 50/50 decision to his new team mates.
Half time came and Martin had a decision to make on which dressing room to go to.

We sat back for the early stages of the second half, defending is just as good as attacking if you are good at it and we definitely were. We tackled, blocked, cleared and closed down every Cobblers attack despite obvious decisions still going against us.

Carl McHugh was replaced by Dom Blizzard with O'Connor dropping back into the three-man defence, McHugh received treatment while sat in the dug-out.

Alessandra had another chance when he raced away but the one fault with him is that he sometimes makes the wrong decisions and he did it again this time by not going for goal, he was closed down and the chance was gone.

With Northampton getting braver and pushing more players forward there was always the chance they would be caught on the break and leave the back door open.
Sure enough Argyle broke away, Reuben played the perfect slide rule pass into Talbot, he crossed to the unmarked Alessandra who side stepped Duke and tapped the ball into the empty net. 2-0 and Martin and his team mates sank to their knees. Game over.

Nathan Brunt replaced Reuben and Jason Banton swapped with Alessandra to see out the final few minutes.

Well played and well defended!

Talbot had a brilliant game, he defended well and got forward in equal measure, on this evidence he's been the missing link we've been looking for in midfield all season. He even had time to showboat late in the game.

Performance-wise Holmes-Dennis wasn't far behind Talbot, he owned the left side of the pitch - Kellett who?

O'Connor had another steady game and we finally had a goal from a defensive midfielder, what a strike it was.
McHugh and Curtis Nelson were solid and Hartley improved as the game wore on.
Luke McCormick didn't have much to do courtesy of the protection he received from his defenders and yet strangely the match sponsors awarded him Man of the Match.

Reuben did a job for the team, he didn't fire on all cylinders but his pass to Talbot for the second goal was sublime.

On the downside the set-pieces from Bobby Reid still don't work so why is he still taking them? He also fell asleep on a Cobblers short corner routine and Alessandra had to sprint back to mark the player Reid should have been watching.

The referee was poor. Enough said.

Overall, once we get in front we are very difficult to beat, we defend so well - Plan A really works just fine.

Man of the Match - Talbot.

McCormick 7, Nelson 7, McHugh 7, Hartley 6, Mellor 7, O'Connor 7, Talbot 8, B Reid 6, Holmes-Dennis 8, R Reid 7, Alessandra 7, Blizzard 6, Brunt 6, Banton 6.
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