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Hartlepool match report
24 September 2016 18:08 Post ID: #71856
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Argyle snatched a late point with a Jake Jervis penalty to finish 1-1 against Hartlepool and stay top of League Two.

It's a sign of a good team that after not playing so well we manage to grab a crucial point.

We were sloppy and lacklustre during the whole game, there were too many backwards or sideways passes and too many mistakes.
The usually reliable David Fox and Graham Carey often found a pink Hartlepool shirt rather than a green shirt and Carey's set-pieces were poor.
But the team kept on going and were rewarded with a late penalty that Jake Jervis converted which kept us top of the league, in fact most of the action late in the game with a red card for Hartlepool defender Harrison and their manager Craig Hignett was sent to the stands but stood behind the dug-out and then the tunnel before being spotted by the fourth official and told to go away.

Adams started with his usual 4-2-1-3 formation with Craig Tanner playing in the hole and David Goodwillie playing as the central striker in place of the injured Arnie Garita.
Garita's absence changed the whole game plan because we couldn't hit the ball long and had to play to feet.
This caused problems for Naurus Bultvitis and Sonny Bradley because they had to make sure with their passes and it was clear Hartlepool had done their homework on us because they closed down and harrassed the two centre-backs and forced them into mistakes.

We just couldn't get going and disaster struck when former Argyle winger Thomas attempted a cross that caught the wind, deceived McCormick and flew into the net.
Thomas was his usual self - shooting from any position when team mates were in better positions, giving the ball away and showboating but to his credit he didn't celebrate his fortunate goal.

The Argyle crowd now started to turn which didn't help the players.

Carey did have a free-kick that was heading into the top corner but was well saved.

Adams tried Carey in the middle and Tanner on the right and then swapped Tanner and Jordan Slew on the wings but to no avail.

The second half was an improvement. Jervis and Connor Smith replaced Slew and Yann Songo'o but Goodwillie still played as the lone central striker but he played the role very well when the ball was played to his feet.
For the first ten minutes we were again lethargic and opted to pass sideways and backwards, however all that changed courtesy of a storming run from Jervis which the crowd appreciated and changed the mood in the stadium.
Ben Purrington and Gary Miller now started to get forward from their full-back positions and played as wingers and finally we put some pressure on Hartlepool.

The Monkey Hangers then changed into Wycombe and fell down and wasted time at every opportunity.

Despite us knocking on the door we just couldn't find that vital goal so Adams rolled the dice again and replaced Tanner with Jimmy Spencer and switched to a 4-4-2 formation, although Tanner wasn't happy about being subbed and showed it.

Spencer was now keeping the ball up front and bringing other players into the game although with just two defenders in Bully and Bradley Hartlepool nearly caught us cold on several occasions at the back, luckily Thomas was selfish and we escaped.

Spencer had a header go wide from a fantastic cross from Purrington when he really should have hit the target, Fox and Carey wasted a couple of corners and it looked like it wouldn't be our day.

Hartlepool brought on striker Billy Paynter and almost immediately he received a yellow card for kicking the ball away, it looked like he showed dissent to the ref who was then about to issue a second yellow but suddenly stopped, that surely would have been the fastest sending off ever.

We were saved with a late penalty when Spencer stooped to head the ball in the area but Nsiala raised his foot too high and the ref awarded a penalty. Some refs might not have given it.
Surprisingly it was Jervis who stepped up and thankfully he slotted home.

With the Twist and Shout theme tune ringing around Home Park we went in search of what seemed at one point an unlikely winner.
We were helped by Hartlepool defender Harrison kicking the ball away and picking up his second yellow card.

Very late in the game Spencer had a chance from a difficult angle but could only kick the ball across the area.
We'll take a point from a bad day at the office.

I felt sorry for Goodwillie, he did his best as the lone striker, it's not his best position but I thought he was one of our better players, often coming deep to get the ball to feet.
Bulvitis was surprisingly full of mistakes and without a target man to hit both centre-backs struggled to find a green shirt and when Fox and Carey are also not playing at their best the whole team struggles.

Songo'o is great when we have a lead to protect but struggles when we have to chase a game, we'll need him on Tuesday against Orient.
Slew showed some good touches but was rarely involved during the first half, both full-backs had good games and Tanner was unfortunate to be subbed.

Alessandra didn't win his usual penalty.

Man of the match: Goodwillie.

McCormick 7, Miller 7, Bulvitis 5, Bradley 6, Purrington 7, Songo'o 5, Fox 5, Carey 5, Slew 5, Tanner 6, Goodwillie 8.
Subs: Jervis 7, Smith 6, Spencer 6.
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