Battling Argyle Labour To Point
15/08/09 @ 1500
Plymouth Argyle rescued a point against QPR, with a 93rd minute equalising own goal from Rangers' Kaspar Gorkss.
It was a game of two halfs for Argyle, the first was quite poor, the second much improved (mainly thanks to the introduction of Cillian Sheridan). Larrieu pulled off a number of decent saves and Timar, who looked back to his best, put in a few vital blocks.
Argyle started with 10 of the starting 11 from the Palace game. Judge replaced Luke Summerfield, who dropped to the bench. QPR started the stronger of the 2 sides, with Buszaky, Routledge and Taraabt combining well in midfield.
Argyle had the ball in the net on 5 minutes but Fallon was easily offside. The QPR flair players seemed to be quite adept at 'simulation' and Taraabt won a freekick on 15 minutes, 30 yards from goal, after what appeared to be a fair tackle from Fletcher. Buszaky's 30 yard curling free-kick was well saved by Larrieu, who tipped the ball around his right hand post for a corner. Buszaky had another 30 yard free kick, minutes later, but this time it cleared the bar by 3 yards.
On 28 minutes Buszaky curled a corner kick in from the left, which Argyle cleared but Routledge shot from the edge of the box, and Larrieu again saved superbly, palming the ball wide.
QPR started to dominate proceedings and Taraabt came close on 31 minutes. He won the ball in midfield and ran at Fletcher, and then McNammee. The French-Algerian forward played a good 1-2 with Heidur Helguson and shot from 8 yards, from the left hand side of the box. Larrieu saved again, for another corner.
QPR's dominance eventually paid off in the 42nd minute. Fallon was adjudged to have handled the ball, despite protesting his innocence. QPR took a quick free kick and Buszaky back heeled the ball down the left wing to Taraabt. Taraabt ran at the Argyle defence cut in and crossed towards Helguson. The Icelandic forward met the ball with his head and the ball nestled into Larrieu's bottom left hand corner, from 8 yards.
Half time arrived and Argyle had barely mustered a shot on target. The team passed the ball around, but didn't look like creating anything. The formation looked disjointed with MacLean probably dropping too deep leaving Fallon isolated. Paterson and Fletcher worked hard in midfield, and Argyle could have been facing a worse scoreline if it wasn't for the agility of Romain Larrieu.
At the start of the second half Sturrock made a substitution!!! Sheridan made his debut and replaced MacLean (who hadn't played too badly). Sheridan lined up on the left wing, Fallon was in the middle, with Mackie on the right. Judge moved into the middle with Fletcher and Paterson. QPR changed from 4-4-2 to 4-4-1-1 with Taraabt dropping back from attack onto the left and Buszaky supporting Helguson.
Argyle started brightly and Sheridan had a chance within seconds, but his volley was blocked by the QPR defence. On 50 minutes Timar launched a ball forward which QPR keeper, Cerny, looked to gather with ease, but he spilled the ball onto the back of defender, Gorkss, and unfortunately for Argyle the ball was cleared to safety.
On 55 minutes Routledge attacked down the QPR right and cut across field. He played the ball to Buszaky on the left, who cut inside and hit a curling 20 yard shot that just went wide of the goal (it hit the stantion behind the goal and many thought he had scored).
2 minutes later and Argyle applied pressure with a few corners. Argyle went close when a QPR defender headed across his own goal line and the ball went out for a corner.
On 60 minutes, Paterson won the ball well in midfield and played the ball to Fallon. Fallon laid the ball to Judge on the left who ran at goal and passed to Sheridan in space in the 18 yard box. Sheridan shot first time and his rasping drive just went wide of the top corner. QPR substituted Agyemang for Helguson.
A few minutes later, and Argyle pressed again down the right with Mackie. Mackie laid the ball back to Paterson, after being challenged by Ramage. Paterson crossed to the far post and Sheridan headed across goal, with the ball hitting a QPR player. The Argyle players appealed for hand ball, but the ref indicated a corner.
The game started to get a bit scrappy, QPR substituted Ephraim for Buszaky and Rowan Vine for Taraabt. Vine played in support of Agyemang and Ephraim moved onto the left.
Vine attacked the Argyle goal on 80 minutes down the right, and was temporarily stopped by a crunching Timar tackle (in the box), but he managed to check back and cross to Routledge who volleyed wide from 15 yards.
Sturrock decided to change the side on 82 minutes, strangely substituting the dangerous Judge, for Craig Noone (the left winger) who lined up on the right? Duguid later replaced Paterson who had an effective game for Argyle.
On 87 minutes McNammee missed an interception on the halfway line and Vine broke clear. He closed in on Larrieu's goal, but the Frenchman narrowed the angle and deflected Vine's 10 yard shot. Timar then followed up and cleared the ball for a corner.
90 minutes approached and the ref awarded 5 minutes injury time. Argyle put a lot of pressure on the QPR goal and won a series of corners. The ball whizzed across the box and Argyle couldn't make a connection. Timar had two efforts cleared off the line as QPR repelled Argyle's efforts.
In the 93rd minute Argyle had a long throw from the left. The ball went into the box and a mad scramble ensued. In the melee, the ball ended up in the net and Argyle had rescued a point. Fitz announced that Mackie had scored but later reports credited an own goal to Gorkss. QPR tried to attack on the restart but the ref blew shortly after.
There were some bright points in the game, notably the performance of Timar and Paterson. Judge and Sheridan linked well and Argyle tried to play football. But Argyle struggled to create good chances and the performance looked similar to some of those given last season. Sturrock tinkered the formation throughout the game and some would argue it was to the detriment of the side. The substitution of Judge was met with boos, and it was strange that Noone lined up on the right.
QPR easily out fought Argyle in the first half, but Argyle shaded the second and it was refreshing for Argyle to fightback after conceding a goal.