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Match Report


Posted Sat 03 Oct 09 at 17:07 PM


Argyle 2
Fallon 57, Judge pen 76

Scunthorpe United 1
Hooper pen 75

RORY Fallon, Argyle's man of faith repaid the faith shown in him by manager Paul Sturrock by scoring for the second time in a week to help Argyle to a first home victory of the season.

Fallon, a practicing Christian, headed home Gary Sawyer's left-wing cross just before the hour, as the same pair that had linked for the Pilgrims' second in their 2-1 win at Peterborough the previous Tuesday again proved a deadly combination.

That opener was equalised by Gary Hooper's 75th-minute penalty, but Argyle were behind for less than 100 seconds as substitute Alan Judge restored the lead, also from the penalty spot, after he had been upended by Scunthorpe goalkeeper Josh Lillis.

The Argyle starting line-up was understandably unremarkable, Luggy staying faithful to the 11 that had paved the way for the Pilgrims' first victory of the season at London Road.

Indeed, there was only the one change among the 18-strong squad, with midfielder Chris Clark coming into the party for ailing centre-back Krisztián Timár. That meant no defender among the Argyle replacements, but, with Darcy Blake and Jim Paterson starting in midfield roles, that was no cause for alarm.

Scunthorpe, who lost 2-0 at Nottingham Forest - Argyle's conquerors in their previous home game - in midweek, made five changes, possibly because that game was played 24 hours after the Pilgrims' midweek exertions, leaving precious little time for recuperation before the journey to the Westcountry; possibly to alleviate a poor trot.

Goalkeeper Lillis continued at the expense of Joe Murphy, who he had replaced during the game at the City Ground, while manager Nigel Adkins brought in two different full-backs, Andrew Wright and Ian Morris. Matt Sparrow replaced Michael O'Connor on the right wing, while striker Hooper returned in place of Jonathan Fortune up front.

The game began in remarkably open fashion, as two sides whose prior defensive shortcomings were well documented went at each other.

Scunthorpe brought the best out of Romain Larrieu from successive dead-ball situations that showed up some familiar defensive fragility in the Pilgrims' back four.

A quickly taken free-kick that slipped Hooper in behind saw the French goalkeeper extended by the Scunthorpe striker's shot and, from the resulting corner, central defender Cliff Byrne stole in front of the waiting David Gray for a header that required Larrieu's reflexes to be razor sharp.

At the business end, Jamie Mackie's mental and physical refusal to be halted in any of his foraging runs towards goal twice troubled Lillis. The second looked promising as he toed the ball around the Iron's last man, only to run out of pitch before he could deliver his cross.

The Pilgrims had a let-off when their inexperienced and young defensive unit twice failed to get to grips with an incursion down their left that saw the ball eventually fall to Sam Togwell in front of goal. Failing backwards, he could only loft the chance over the crossbar.

Argyle's riposte was led by the indefatigable Mackie, whose drive down the left ended with him teeing up Fallon for a first-time shot on the angle of the penalty box that the recalled Kiwi fired just over.

That chance fell within a period of pressure in which you could sense the confidence seep back into green-blooded veins, on the pitch and off it.

That growing feeling was given a jolt when Hooper, not for the first time, was allowed time to turn and line up a shot that, this time, zipped low and fast across the goal and just wide of Larrieu's right-hand post.

Hooper again raised the pulses when a quick Scunthorpe break saw him shrug off Sawyer's attentions a little too easily, although the Argyle left-back succeeded in driving the Scunthorpe man wide enough to make Larrieu's subsequent save not as difficult as it might have been.

The same could not be said of Lillis's back-pedalling corkscrew twist that denied Fallon from breaking the deadlock five minutes before the interval with a textbook typical number nine looping header back across goal from Sawyer's cross.

Blake gave way to Judge shortly after the interval, a forward-looking move, and he was soon in the thick of things, setting up Gray for a cross that drew a corner that the little Irishman took himself and saw Karl Duguid go close with a near-post flick-on.

Attacking the Devonport end generally seems to bring out the best in Argyle and this day proved no different as the gutsy Pilgrims took the lead.

The goal was not dissimilar to the one that eventually proved to be the Greens' first winner of the season four days earlier. Sawyer again provided the left-wing cross from which Fallon held off his man to power home the pinpoint delivery.

Argyle lived dangerously, with Byrne heading a free-kick wide and substitute Garry Thompson firing wide when well placed before the Pilgrims proved architects of their own downfall.

Gray let a ball from Thompson for fellow substitute Martyn Woolford run through, thinking that Larrieu was going to collect but he misjudged the pace of the ball and Larrieu ended up clattering into the Scunthorpe man for a cast-iron Iron pen. Hoper converted.

Within a minute and a half, Argyle were back in front, with their strike, too, coming from the 12-yard blob.

Judge, slipped in expertly from a free-kick by the quick-thinking Fletcher, was upended by Lillis after he nipped the ball past the 'keeper. Again, no hesitation from referee Andy D'Urso, and no argument from the opposition.

The wee man picked himself up to send the spot-kick straight down the middle.

Like the rest of his team's performance, his effort was not the prettiest, but it was effective.

What a difference a week makes.

Argyle (4-4-2): 1 Romain Larrieu; 39 David Gray, 38 James Chester, 37 Shane Lowry, 18 Gary Sawyer; 13 Darcy Blake (25 Alan Judge 49), 4 Carl Fletcher (capt), 2 Karl Duguid, 3 Jim Paterson (6 Chris Clark 80); 8 Jamie Mackie (21 Cillian Sheridan 90), 14 Rory Fallon. Substitutes (not used): 10 Bradley Wright-Phillips, 23 Kyle Letheren (gk), 24 Ashley Barnes, 26 Alan Gow.

Booked: Fletcher 56.

Scunthorpe United (4-4-2): 22 Josh Lillis; 2 Andrew Wright, 6 Cliff Byrne, 12 Rob Jones (capt, 18 Michael O'Connor 84), 27 Ian Morris; 7 Matt Sparrow (11 Garry Thompson 65), 4 Sam Togwell, 19 Josh Wright, 8 Grant McCann (16 Martyn Woolford ; 9 Paul Hayes, 10 Gary Hooper. Substitutes (not used): 20 Jordan Spence, 23 Sam Slocombe (gk), 26 Niall Canavan, 29 Adam Boyes.

Booked: Josh Wright 51, Andrew Wright 67.

Referee: Andy D'Urso (Essex).

Attendance: 9,780 (186 away).

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