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Match Report


Posted Sat 27 Mar 10 at 17:14 PM


Argyle 0

Blackpool 2
Adam 78, Dobbie 82

THE agony continues. Despite creating a hatful of chances, Argyle came away with nothing from Ian Holloway's return to Home Park.

They will point to injuries to key players at key moments, which saw them forced to blood an apprentice and necessitated keeping players on the field who clearly needed a breather.

In the end, those explanations will butter no parsnips: three points lost - or, rather, not gained - at this stage of the season makes the remaining seven games that much tougher. Tougher, but not impossible.

Each starting line-up had shown a single change from the ones that paved the way for spectacular midweek victories.

Argyle head coach Paul Mariner was obliged to ask Chris Clark, normally a midfielder, to fill in at left-back, having lost Chris Barker and Richard Eckersley to injury and allowed Gary Sawyer to join Bristol City on loan. Alan Judge replaced Clark on the right side of midfield.

Otherwise, the Pilgrims' initial 11 was unchanged from the one that had began Tuesday's night's 2-0 win at Portman Road, where no side had previously been victorious since September.

Bondz N'Gala made his home debut alongside Réda Johnson at centre-back, while Bradley Wright-Phillips continued in an all-pace attack alongside Jamie Mackie.

Blackpool were without Brett Ormerod, because of a fractured hand, and called club captain Jason Euell into a three-man attack, but made no further alteration to the team that had started Tuesday's 5-1 Bloomfield Road thrashing of Swansea City.

Argyle's afternoon got off to a poor start, with captain Carl Fletcher hopping off the field on his one good leg that remained after a bone-crunching fifth-minute encounter with Keith Southern took care of the other.

For some people, and I am among them, Fletch on one leg is more valuable than some players on two, but the head coach took the quite reasonable view that his skipper needed to be replaced, and so Luke Summerfield stepped into the not inconsiderable adidases of his leader.

He soon proved more than up to the task, feeding a superb pass in behind the Blackpool defence, which Judge had anticipated superbly. Such was the weight and range of the delivery that the Irishman had time to check the maker's name on the ball before shooting, but he rather snatched at the opportunity and scuffed it wide.

This season has been one of spurned opportunities by Argyle and the point was illustrated again when Mackie superbly shrugged off the attentions of Alex Baptiste to go clear on goal. Forced wide, Mackie cut the ball back to Wright-Phillips, who's first shot was saved by Matt Gilks, with the goalkeeper recovering to scramble away BWP's follow-up.

Summerfield continued to create an impression, and, simply, to create, opening up the Blackpool defence like a saggy Satsuma to find Yala Bolasie, whose low, powerful volley required Gilks to be strong.

Bolasie and Wright-Phillips, especially, seemed to be enjoying the freedom afforded the Pilgrims by pedestrian opposition, and the latter teed up the former for another attempt on goal that this time riffled the side-netting.

For all his good work in the first half, Summerfield nearly blotted his copybook in the opening minutes of the second half with a nonsensical header towards his own goal that merely played in Ben Burgess.

David Stockdale maintained his impressive form of late by sticking out a boot to block Burgesses shot, and reprieve his relieved midfield colleague.

Stockdale did not possess the elasticity to get a hand on Adam's long-range curler that looked all ends up a deadlock-breaker before it pinballed off post and crossbar and rebounded into play.

Stockdale was equal to Adam's next attempt as Blackpool cranked up the pressure, flinging himself across the goal and stretching up his arm to paw away another on-target attempt from distance.

Mackie relieved the pressure with a break on to substitute Joe Mason's ball that saw him turn Ian Evatt inside out before powering a shot that Gilks turned over.

There was mayhem from the resultant corner that saw Wright-Phillips hit the post from close range before Mackie put the ball in. Somewhere in the chaos, someone had infringed, however, and the scoresheet remained blank.

Summerfield then pinged a hamstring, which meant a debut for second-year apprentice Ryan Leonard at right-back, Karl Duguid moving into central midfield: Argyle's right side was now Leonard and Mason, and you would have got astronomical odds on that happening this season if you had asked a bookmaker on August 15.

That youth was ruthlessly exposed for its callowness when Adam capped his match-winning second-half performance by cutting inside from the left wing and clipping a low shot under Stockdale.

Dobbie, who had created the chance with a sweet backheel, then had the creative compliment returned by Adam, breaking free and finishing with aplomb.

Argyle (4-4-2): 21 David Stockdale; 2 Karl Duguid, 29 Bondz N'Gala, 22 Réda Johnson, 6 Chris Clark; 25 Alan Judge (32 Joe Mason 61), 4 Carl Fletcher (capt, 20 Luke Summerfield 7, 40 Ryan Leonard 73), 7 Damien Johnson, 36 Yannick Bolasie; 8 Jamie Mackie, 10 Bradley Wright-Phillips. Substitutes (not used): 1 Romain Larrieu (gk), 14 Rory Fallon, 33 Kenny Cooper, 37 Sean Kinsella.

Booked: Wright-Phillips 48, Réda Johnson 63.

Blackpool (4-3-3): 21 Matthew Gilks; 31 Seamus Coleman, 15 Alex Baptiste, 6 Ian Evatt, 3 Stephen Crainey (14 Joe Martin 45); 4 Keith Southern, 12 Gary Taylor-Fletcher, 26 Charlie Adam; 18 Jason Euell (capt) (33 Stephen Dobbie 68), 9 Ben Burgess, 7 Billy Clarke (29 Barry Bannan 68). Substitutes (not used): 1 Paul Rachubka (gk), 24 Rob Edwards, 28 Andy Butler, 30 Stephen Husband.

Booked: Southern 5.

Referee: James Limington (Isle of Wight).

Attendance: 10,614 (449 away).

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