Posh Deliver The Final Embarrassment
Argyle 1 - Peterborough 2.
Wright-Phillips 31. Mackail-Smith 63, 69.
Plymouth Argyle Football Club ended the season officially a shambles!
A defeat against Peterborough United, the only team below Argyle in the Championship, brought the curtain down on an awful season.
Not content with a season of two poor managers, an indecisive and split board of Directors, a transfer embargo, a winding up order, closure of a popular part of Home Park and finally relegation, the fans had to endure one more final twist of the knife in the game against the Posh.
After this performance the players need to take a long hard look at themselves and Paul Mariner should offer his resignation tonight. The fans didn't deserve this; far too many of the team had their flip-flops on and their deck chairs out. The only good thing to come out of this match was that Sir Roy Gardner was present, rarer than an Argyle win, to witness the shambles.
Game after game this season fans had to walk away from the ground feeling angry and frustrated at what they have just witnessed and this match was no different.
Before the game Carl Fletcher and Joe Mason picked up the Player and Young Player of the Year awards respectively but what was disappointing was that only a handful of the players bothered to applaud their team mates, indeed it was only Luke Summerfield that clapped both players as their picked up their award.
Reda Johnson was on the bench after not quite recovering from an injury so Kari Arnason slotted into defence alongside Bondz N'Gala, such is the injury situation at Home Park that Mariner included three defenders on the bench including young Curtis Nelson. Keeper Romain Larrieu was recalled and young goalie Ollie Chenoweth was on the bench.
A dead rubber of a game and it showed.
Tommy Rowe for Posh had the first chance of the game but his shot went wide of Larrieu's goal. Not much was happening on the pitch, if the sun was out I'm sure our lot would have got the sun cream out, so the fans traded 'That's why you're going down' chants when a pass went astray or 'Stand up if you're going down'. Gallows humour.
Argyle's only 'efforts' on goal were back-passes to Larrieu, were they trying to put him under unnecessary pressure? Posh did have the ball in the net but it was ruled out for offside, but hey at least it was a shot on target!
Posh should at least be one up, especially when Liam Dickinson wasted a good chance by placing his header wide of the goal. When will Argyle wake up and take off their flip-flops and wear football boots?
Judge looked Argyle's best chance of a shot or, God forbid, a goal, this he proved when he played in N'Gala, he twisted and turned in the area like a veteran striker but his shot was saved. That's better!
Against the run of play Argyle took the lead and it was the simplest goal seen at Home Park this season. Larrieu threw the ball out wide to Chris Clark, his pass sent Bradley Wright-Phillips scampering down the left wing, he outpaced the defenders and planted an angled shot past Joe Lewis in the Peterborough goal to give Argyle the lead.
With the difference now being 13 points between the two teams will Argyle make their 'class' count?
Good work from Wright-Phillips set up Joe Mason but his side foot shot went wide, while Wright-Phillips was put through on-goal soon afterwards but his shot from an acute angle went wide of the far post.
At the start of the second half Chris Barker replaced Onismor Bhasera, although this minor detail was missed by the new match-day announcer who was too busy reading out birthday requests and talking over the game while in play, including a stern warning that no fans are allowed on the pitch at the final whistle, unless of course you are 20-stone and wear a black and white shirt!
Dickinson had a shot saved by Larrieu with Argyle rarely threatening Lewis in the Peterborough goal.
It appeared that the players and Mariner were content to keep the 1-0 lead and keep world beaters Posh at arms length. Hey, here's a thought - how about trying for a second and third goal and beat the worst team in the league and finish the season with a comprehensive win? A bit radical for you Paul? Too far 'out there' perhaps?
Nevermind, because as scripted Posh pulled a goal back and what a goal it was. A cross found Mark Little, he superbly back-heeled the ball to the lively Craig Mackail-Smith and he slotted in from close range. One each and fully deserved.
Oh look, long throws from Arnason that were easily cleared, just like the other 560 this season! Argyle only had two players over six foot tall in the team, one was N'Gala, the other was taking the throw! Hello! Has Paul Sturrock actually gone, can someone check!
Yala Bolasie then replaced the injured Chris Clark but it was Peterborough who took the lead when a free-kick from Tommy Rowe was headed in by Mackail-Smith, so easy. 2-1 to the Posh.
Suddenly Argyle realised they just might lose to the only team below them and woke up from their slumber. Wright-Phillips was clean through on-goal but blasted his shot over the bar. Rory Fallon came on for Karl Duguid with Mariner now employing a 3-4-3 formation.
The Pilgrims were unlucky when a 20-yard free-kick from Judge smashed against the crossbar and bounced down on the goal line, a goal mouth scramble followed and ended when Arnason shot over.
Soon after a cross from Bolasie was headed toward goal by Fallon but the ball was cleared off the line, the rebound fell to Wright-Phillips and his shot suffered a similar fate when it was cleared off the line.
The ref then blew for full-time on a miserable match and a miserable season with Argyle fans suffering the final insult and embarrassment. Peterborough played well and deserved the win; they are planning for next season by bringing in a new manager while we bumble on making the same mistakes time and time again. Credit also to the Posh fans who made the long journey for this dead rubber.
Still, at least I can say I saw Sir Roy Gardner at an Argyle match!
Larrieu 5, Duguid 5 (Fallon 5), N'Gala 5, Arnason 5, Bhasera 5 (Barker 6), Judge 7, Fletcher 5, D Johnson 6), Clark 5 (Bolasie 5), Mason 4, Wright-Phillips 6).
Subs not used: Chenoweth, Nelson, R Johnson, Summerfield.