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Match Report


Posted Sat 13 Feb 10 at 17:12 PM


Barnsley 1
Colace 45

Argyle 3
Fletcher 64, Mackie 74, Fallon 83

ARGYLE broke a hoodoo that has haunted the club for over two years to record a fabulous victory at Barnsley.

Boxing Day 2007 was the last time the Pilgrims had come from behind to win a game. QPR were the victims on that day and when Hugo Colace opened the scoring for Barnsley on the stroke of half-time, Green hearts sank.

What happened next will live long in the memory. Argyle swept forward in a relentless siege on the Barnsley goal. Carl Fletcher equalised with a fabulous strike and substitute Yannick Bolasie terrorised the home defence in a truly brilliant debut.

Jamie Mackie gave the Greens a deserved lead 15 minutes from time and Rory Fallon rounded off a wonderful afternoon with an extraordinary lob.

Head coach Paul Mariner opted to sweep the brush of change down the left side of his team following the heartbreaking 2-1 defeat at Reading in midweek.

Chris Barker came in at left-back for Gary Sawyer and Craig Noone was preferred to Alan Judge on the wing following his sparkling display as a substitute at the Madejski Stadium.

Karl Duguid recovered from a sprained ankle in last weekend's loss to West Bromwich Albion to replace groin victim David McNamee at right-back. In attack, Fallon won his battle with tight groins to take his place alongside Mackie. On the bench, Bolasie came in for Bradley Wright-Phillips.

Argyle's starting 11 at Oakwell was a reflection of the changes Mariner has made since taken over control of first-team duties from Paul Sturrock. Only three from the 11 selected for the abandoned match at Home Park in November survived. The Greens were trailing 4-1 to a rampant Barnsley side on that day before referee Gavin Ward abandoned the match because of torrential rain.

Romain Larrieu, Darcy Blake, KrisztiánTimár, Shane Lowry, Gary Sawyer, Yoann Folly, Alan Judge and Alan Gow all started against the Tykes two months ago, but only Duguid, Fallon and captain Carl Fletcher remained in the first choice line-up.

Barnsley boss Mark Robins made just one change from the side that suffered a 2-1 loss at Middlesbrough in midweek. Jay Rodriguez, on loan from Burnley, was preferred in attack to Brazilian Anderson De Silva.

After a positive opening two minutes for the Greens, Noone conceded a needless free-kick by the corner flag and Argyle's defence failed to get organised. Keiran Trippier's simple pass inside found Teixeira, who should done more than thunder a shot into the legs of Kári Árnason.

The Pilgrims instantly recovered to launch an attack down the right. Mackie weaved his way past Darren Moore and Carl Dickinson to centre the ball for Flecther. The skipper's scuffed effort found Fallon stood in front of Luke Steele but the Barnsley keeper was able to snaffle the ball before the big Kiwi could strike.

On ten minutes, Argyle suffered defensive disaster when Réda Johnson dawdled on the ball, allowing Rodriguez to square for Emil Hallfreddsson with David Stockdale hopelessly out of position. The sculpted winger simply needed to tap the ball into the empty but, mercifully, opted to blast his shot over the bar.

Réda Johnson's uncomfortable opening to the game continued with a poorly timed jump from a Steele goal-kick and Rodriguez was on hand to thump in a half-volley from distance that Stockdale pushed wide for a corner.

Although the clever passing was coming from red boots in the first 20 minutes, the honesty endeavour of Mackie was keeping Barnsley keen at the back. The problem for Argyle was getting players forward quickly enough to support Mackie's channel-running.

Elsewhere, Fallon and Moore were enjoying an interesting battle every time an elevated pass went forward. Both brutes in their own right, off the field, the two men are good friends and committed members of the Christian Brotherhood.

To the left of the Fallon and Mackie, Noone endured a frustrating opening 30 minutes against the determined defending of Trippier, who is on loan at Oakwell from Manchester City.

For all Argyle's toil, Barnsley remained the more threatening side and a long throw from Dickinson gave Rodriguez the opportunity to hold off the attentions of Árnason before a desperate hack from Duguid cleared the danger.

In the face of another quick break forward from the hosts, Argyle were able to launch a swift counter-attack of their own. Fallon's clever pass allowed Mackie to run at Trippier and return the ball to Fallon, who steered a curler narrowly wide, via a deflection off Tykes' captain Stephen Foster.

The big moment for the Greens arrived five minutes before half-time. Foster was caught by Mackie's pace after a punt forward and the Argyle striker got in front of his man before being bundled to the ground.

Given that Foster had already been booked and the infringement was inside the penalty area, the double decision of a penalty and inevitable red card was too much for young referee Karl Evans, who waved away furious Pilgrim protests.

Filipe Teixeira almost compounded Green misery seconds later when he danced past Réda Johnson and Chris Barker, but the final shot was scooped wildly towards the grateful Green Army behind the goal.

It was a momentary escape, however, as Colace thundered Barnsley into the lead. A fizzing cross from Dickinson glanced off the head of Duguid to find Colace umarked at the back post and his controlled volley bounced into the turf and beyond Stockdale to nestle in the far corner.

The disturbing reality of Argyle's situation was that no player on display had come from behind to win a game in the Green and White. It was going to be a challenging half-time team-talk for Mariner, although he delayed his speech to join Mackie in berating Mr Evans for his failure to award the spot-kick.

Argyle needed a fast start to the second period and they got one from Mackie's determination to win possession, a wonderful cross from Chris Clark and Fallon's cushioned header aimed at the top corner but Steele produced a stunning save to keep the Tykes in front.

Barnsley responded to the Green threat with Dickinson's blockbuster from 30 yards that singed the outside of Steele's post. Moments later, Mariner brought an end to Noone's afternoon by introducing the blistering pace of Bolasie for his Argyle debut.

The Pilgrims continued to press and a Duguid clip into the box found Mackie, who possibly could have done more than guide the ball harmlessly wide with his volley on the pivot. Bolasie was Duguid's next target from a looped cross, and the winger did superbly well to time his jump and plant a powerful header towards goal, but Steele was equal to the effort.

Argyle's next attack stemmed from a terrific through ball by Réda Johnson to Árnason, who drifted over the perfect cross for Mackie. The finish was wayward but Argyle were now the dominant side on a bitter afternoon.

The pressure finally told in 64 minutes when Duguid launched a cross back into the box for Fallon to challenge with Moore. The ball spilled out to Fletcher who cushioned it on his chest before unleashing a stunning left-foot strike beyond Steele.

Fletcher's midfield partner, Damien Johnson, was next to join the fun. A long throw from Árnason found Fallon, who contrived to steer the ball back to the edge of the area for Damien Johnson to send a dipping volley onto the crossbar.

Robins responded to the Green pressure by introducing Adam Hammill and Daniel Bogdanovic for Teixeira and Rodriguez, but the move merely prompted another promising attack from Argyle.

Bolasie's pace was too much for Trippier and the eventual cross found a way to Clark at the back post, whose attempt to nod the ball back inside was only just intercepted by Steele.

Mackie finally got his reward for a tremendous afternoon of pure endeavour on 74 minutes. Bolasie's excellent corner was met by a powerful header from Fallon and Mackie was in the right place to divert the ball past Steele from point-blank range.

Within a minute, Dickinson had a wonderful chance to equalise. The former Stoke man somehow found space in the penalty area but his woeful finish sailed over the bar, much to Argyle's collective relief.

Understandably, Barnsley poured forward but the pace of Bolasie was such a threat on the counter and the youngster was having a debut from heaven. Even the attentions of four Tyke defenders could not prevent Bolasie from reaching the byline and cutting in a low cross that fractionally evaded Mackie.

Victory was sealed by a truly amazing goal. When the ball fell to Fallon 35 yards from goal there seemed no threat, but the former Barnsley man instantly curled an astonishing lob over the advanced Steele to complete a miraculous victory.

In the past few days, some have said our wonderful club is doomed to relegation and we lack quality. The players response to the gloom-mongers could not have been more emphatic.

Barnsley (4-4-2): 1 Luke Steele; 16 Keiran Trippier, 4 Darren Moore, 6 Stephen Foster, 29 Carl Dickinson; 8 Filipe Teixeira (25 Adam Hammill 68), 5 Hugo Colace, 39 Nathan Doyle, 14 Emil Hallfredsson; 9 Jay Rodriguez (10 Daniel Bogdanovic 68), 27 Andy Gray. Substitutes: 12 David Preece (gk), 15 Anderson De Silva, 19 Jacob Butterfield, 21 Jon Macken, 22 Luke Potter.

Booked: Foster 23, Doyle 84

Argyle (4-4-2): 21 David Stockdale; 2 Karl Duguid, 11 Kári Árnason, 21 Réda Johnson, 15 Chris Barker; 6 Chris Clark, 4 Carl Fletcher (capt), 7 Damien Johnson, 17 Craig Noone (36 Yannick Bolasie 55); 8 Jamie Mackie, 14 Rory Fallon. Substitutes: 1 Romain Larrieu (gk), 18 Gary Sawyer, 20 Luke Summerfield, 25 Alan Judge, 32 Joe Mason, 33 Kenny Cooper.

Booked: Fallon 31, Fletcher 53, Bolasie 86, Réda Johnson 90

Referee: Karl Evans (Lancashire).

Attendance: 11,661 (200 away est).

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