Cheating Wednesday Beat Argyle
29/08/09 @ 1500
Plymouth Argyle still remain winless, after an improved performance against Sheffield Wednesday theatrical society.
Argyle played good football in spells, but their inability to create chances from possession led to their downfall. A combination of Wednesday employing tactics such as feigning injury, wasting time, gaining yards and diving did not help Argyle's cause, along with a inconsistent performance from match referee, Haines.
Sturrock replaced debutant, Darcy Blake, for the injured McNammee and Gow and Sheridan started up front, in a 4-4-2 formation. Arnason, who looked a decent player in spells, but is clearly not a centre back, played centre back alongside Marcel Seip. Seip again struggled at Home Park, and Tudgay was quite dominant against the Argyle centre back pairing.
The crowd numbers visibly looked lower than the ladst home game against Cardiff. The Devonport End was pretty sparse and it appears that the Argyle faithful contain mainly season ticket holders and masachists.
The match began with Mackie looking very lively on the left. He made a couple of runs, one winning a corner and one winning a 35 yard free kick. But Wednesday had the ball in the net in their first attack. Jermain Johnson, who drifted in and out of the game, made a storming run down the Wednesday left and played a good low cross into the Argyle box. Varney finished from 2 yards, but was flagged for being offside.
Argyle should have taken the lead a minute later. Argyle played some good football leading to a corner on the right. Patterson's inswinger was met by the head of Sheridan, who headed over, when he should have got the ball on target.
The game settled until Michael Gray picked up an injury on 9 minutes. McAllister replaced him.
On 14 minutes, Mackie attacked the Wednesday defence, after a good pass from Arnason. Mackie miscontrolled the ball, which found its way to Fletcher on the right wing. He rolled the ball to Mackie, in the 18 yard box, who tried to dribble through the defence, but was tackled and the ball was cleared.
Argyle had another attack, from a cruching Arnason tackle in defence. Mackie broke down the right and raced into the box. He was challenged by a Wednesday defender and took a tumble. Argyle fans and players appealed for a penalty, but the referee gave nothing- with his actions in the second half this was another of the inconsistencies which troubled Argyle.
Argyle had been the better of the 2 teams, but it was clear that Wednesday were starting to make inrodes into the game.
On 23 minutes, Spurr took a long throw from the right, which was cleared by Argyle. From the edge of the box James O'Connor hit a great volley, which appeared goal bound. Fortunately the ball struck a Wednesday forward and went wide.
On 31 minutes, Johnson went on another powerful dribble on the left. He crossed and Argyle cleared from a corner on the Wednesday left. The corner was headed behind for a consecutive corner. The next corner was hit deep to the far post, Tudgay did superbly to head the ball back across goal, and Wood powerfully headed into the roof of the net from 6 yards.
The goal hit Argyle's confidence and the team struggled to create anything leading up to half time. On 43 minutes, Varney attacked down the right and beat Arnason who slipped. In a move reminiscent of Cardiff's first goal, Varney crossed low from the byline. Tudgay met the ball, 12 yards from goal, but his curling shot easily cleared the bar. Half time soon arrived and despite Argyle's early pressure, Wednesday goalkeeper, Grant, hadn't made a save.
Argyle kicked off the second half in a positive manner. Straight from the kick off, Judge attacked the Wednesday goal, but was hauled down by Varney, who received a yellow card. Patterson, who had been poor for much of the game, took another weak set piece from 25 yards.
On 52 minutes, Johnson countered, after an Argyle attack and broke down the left. Arnason challenged the winger and clearly won the ball, but the ref decided it was a foul and booked the Icelandic player.
On 55 minutes, Argyle came close to equalising. Mackie attacked and played the ball to Gow in the 18 yard box. He laid the ball back to Fletcher who hit a low drive towards goal. Unfortunately for Argyle, the ball struck the post. Wednesday cleared the ball to Johnson who attacked the Argyle goal and laid the ball to Varney in the 18 yard box. Larrieu raced off his line and made a superb low interception, which sent Varney tumbling. There was minimal contact but Varney acted like he'd been shot (in an attempt to win a penalty). After a few minutes of treatment, Varney jogged off the pitch with no sign of 'injury'. His theatrics didn't work this time, but cheats like Varney will always try to deceive the match officials.
On 57 minutes, Wednesday's dirty tactics continued. Larrieu caught the ball from a Wednesday corner and tried to release the ball quickly. As he attempted to throw, Wednesday defender, Wood, tripped the French keeper and received a booking- it could have been harsher as this was another display of blatant cheating.
On 62 minutes Jpohnson received a yellow card, a few moments later, Sheridan was hauled down by Purse, in what looked a yellow card offence, but the ref just spoke to the Wednesday defender. From the 25 yard free kick, Gow curled just wide with his left foot.
The spell of Wednesday's ungentlemanly play seemed to bolster Argyle and the crowd. On 63 minutes Patterson attacked well in the centre and laid the ball to Sheridan on the left. The on-loan Celtic striker shot wide, when he had more time to conjure a shot on goal. Minutes later and Blake provided a good cross, from the right, but the ball was missed by both Gow and Sheridan, and Wednesday scrambled the ball for a corner. After another poor Patterson corner, Argyle regained possession and Sawyer crossed from the left. Mackie met the ball with his head, but Wednesday were able to deflect the ball clear for a throw.
On 69 minutes Wednesday attacked from danger man, Jermaine Johnson, and he put pressure on the Argyle centre backs, resulting in Seip fouling the winger 30 yards from goal. Seip received a yellow. Potter's 30 yard free kick went over.
On 72 minutes, Wednesday doubled their lead, as the diving Varney won a penalty. Seip challenged the striker in the box, and he went down like he'd been hit by a tank, and the ref gave a penalty (the challenge was very similar to that on Mackie in the first which the ref deemed not a foul). Tudgay took the spot kick, which Larrieu managed to get a hand to, but the power took the ball into the net. A section of the Lyndhurst started chanting 'Sturrock Out'. The Argyle manager looked immotive and just stood in his usual catalogue pose and didn't look to make any changes.
On 78 minutes Sheridan broke into the Wednesday box, from the right, and was clearly having his shirt tugged back. Unlike Varney, the Argyle striker stayed on his feet, and lost control in the box. Wednesday cleared but Argyle attacked down the right and Spurr handled on the edge of the box. Gow stepped up and hit a magnificant 25 yard, left footed freekick, into the roof of the net. It was a brief lifeline for Argyle.
On 81 minutes Wednesday attacked, and Argyle won the ball. Again as Argyle tried to break quickly through Blake, Johnson performed a deliberate foul on the Welsh full-back, which deserved a second yellow. The ref bottled the decision and just spoke to the winger. Moments later Johnson was substituted for Miller. As Johnson took so long to dawdle off the pitch, when Fitz announced the substitution he said 'Johnson coming off for Miller- Eventually'.
On 82 minutes Spurr fouled Gow with a nasty tackle on the right, but was unpunished. The freekick was curled in by Gow and the ball was scrambled in the 6 yard box. The ball was met by Sawyer, from 6 yards, and his header went wide, when he should have scored.
Argyle counter attacked well on 85 minutes through Gow and Sheridan in a flowing move. Mackie received the ball in the 18 yard box and cut past a tackle, he then blazed the ball over the bar. Wednesday substituted Varney for Sodje. Shortly after Patterson received a yellow for an innoculous challenge in the middle- Johnson and Spurrs fouls minutes later were far worse but weren't deemed yellows?
The board was displayed showing 5 minutes injury time, at which point Argyle stopped attacking. Wednesday kept possession well and on 92 minutes attacked down their left. A good ball from Buxton was met by Potter near the Argyle 18 yard box and his first time lay off set Tudgay free in the box. Tudgay finished superbly for Wednesday's third and more chants of 'Sturrock out'. The match finished minutes later.
Argyle didn't deserve to lose by a 2 goal margin, but Wednesday countered well in the second half. Argyle need to start creating chances from the spells of possession, but also take their chnaces when presented. Wednesday tookn theirs with clinical efficiency, but Argyle had misses from Sheridan, Sawyer and Mackie which should have at least registered on goal, if not better.
Arnason and Seip struggled against Johnson and Tudgay, often being caught out of position. Patterson was generally poor and Argyle's set pieces were once again sub-standard.
The football played was encouraging, with some good flowing moves, but all too often the final ball or shot was misjudged. Mackie had a very lively game and threatened, but too often there was no end product. Johnson played in a similar role for Wednesday and provided some dangerous crosses and passes showing the Argyle striker how to play on the wing!
With news of Davey's sacking at Barnsley, the pressure is on Paul Sturrock and the Argyle board.