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Cambridge match report
12 December 2015 17:51 Post ID: #71517
Argyle's plummet from the top of League Two continued with a 2-1 defeat against Cambridge at Home Park.

A lacklustre first half display cost Argyle the game and the season is in danger of falling apart at the seams.

Cambridge are another team who have done their homework and worked out how to play against our 4-2-3-1 formation at Home Park.
At the start of the season we were the surprise package under a new manager but now teams know they will dictate the play if they close us down in midfield, which allows Nelson and Hartley to have the ball, because there are no options they hit the ball long to our lone striker and possession is lost.
The three players playing behind the one striker, today it was Jervis, Tanner and Wylde, are virtually spectators when the opposition close us down, any creativity then falls to McHugh and Threlkeld who are defenders converted into midfielders.

Surprisingly Adams didn't make any substitutions when it might have been worth giving a chance to Rooney or Smalley.

Credit to Cambridge because even after conceding they still went for the win when most teams would have settled for a point, they were neat and tidy around the edge of our penalty area and had a definite game plan of closing down and playing balls in behind our full-backs who both struggled.

The first goal we conceded was soft, a scuffed shot from Williamson went through Hartley's legs and deceived Walton and nestled in the far corner.
We didn't get going at all during the first 45 minutes, there was no urgency and no momentum but we know this team can come back and win games so there was no panic at half time.
The only attack of any note was when Wylde raced away and his cross found Jervis who had his shot saved.

To prove that point we did play a lot better during the second half, this time it was us who were closing down and hassling the Cambridge players and we started to create chances.
We had two good shouts for penalties but as we know this season we don't get awarded penalties.

Nelson had a close range shot go just wide and Threlkeld miss-kicked from 18 yards when all he had to do was smash it into the net.

Adams switched to a 4-4-2 formation mid-way through the second half with Jervis partnering the ineffective Brunt and Tanner moved out to the right.

We equalised following a fantastic run out of defence by Nelson, he released Jervis on the right and his superb cross found the smallest player on the pitch Wylde who headed in from close range. 1-1 and game on!

Except Cambridge raised their game and it was them who looked the more likely to score.
We did have a few corners and a wasted free kick from Tanner but after the goal Cambridge were comfortable in defence.

Just when it looked like we would have a late rally to snatch a winner Hartley slipped and Luke Berry raced clean through on goal and beat Walton with a long range drive.
After earlier blocking two certain goals by throwing himself in front of the ball you had to feel sorry for Hartley for gifting Cambridge the winner.

It really is time for a new formation and tactics for home games, we are too predictable and teams now out play us at Home Park. The 4-2-3-1 formation is perfect for away games, however we have been "sussed" at home.

Not many players stood out today, it's still disappointing that given all of the injuries over the last few weeks no-one but Nelson has taken on more responsibility and leadership.

Walton is a very good keeper with his hands, he made two great saves but struggles when kicking a ball, his kicking today put the team into trouble.
Mellor and Sawyer had Cambridge players racing past them in the wide areas and couldn't cope.
Nelson was probably our best player, McHugh tried hard but was closed down quickly, he didn't have any time to look up to play a pass, the game passed by Threlkeld.
Jervis hardly touched the ball during the first half but was more lively for the second period.

Brunt was blunt and failed to hold up play, he was so ineffective it was a surprise that Smalley didn't replace him, he's a good impact sub but not so good when starting games.

Tanner was disappointing in the Carey role, the team needed a lot more from him and Wylde didn't see enough of the ball but scored a great header.

Earlier in the season when we didn't play so well we had a bit of magic from Reid, Carey, Jervis or even Boateng to grab a win, there was no magic today.

It's time for Adams to have a rethink for home games.

Man of the match: Nelson.

Walton 6, Mellor 4, Nelson 7, Hartley 6, Sawyer 5, McHugh 5, Threlkeld 4, Jervis 5, Tanner 5, Wylde 6, Brunt 4.

Goals: Wylde 73. Williamson 6, Berry 86.

Attendance 7,246.
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