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Match Report


Posted Tue 30 Mar 10 at 22:10 PM


Argyle 0

Barnsley 0

THERE were chances and there were let-offs but try as they might, neither side could find the net in an end-to-end 0-0 draw with Barnsley at Home Park.

Nethertheless, Paul Mariner would have taken this point over the heavy defeat that the Pilgrims were on their way to when the original match was abandoned after 59 minutes for a waterlogged pitch.

Both sides had chances, Réda Johnson probably having Argyle's best, and Jamie Mackie was a constant threat to a slow but experienced Barnsley back four.

The arrival of Iain Hume just before half-time changed the game for Barnsley and it was the former Leicester man who perhaps had the best chance of the entire match and would have scored but for an excellent save from David Stockdale one-on-one.

Argyle head coach Paul Mariner was down to the bare bones of his squad after injuries to Luke Summerfield and captain Carl Fletcher during Saturday's defeat to Blackpool added to the list of walking wounded.

Chris Clark was preferred to the recalled Yoann Folly in midfield allowing Onismor Bhasera to slot in at left-back to make his much anticipated debut for the club since initially gaining a work permit nearly a month ago.

Barnsley manager Mark Robins had opted for a change in tactics for his second trip to Home Park this season, utilising the traditional 4-4-2 as opposed to the 4-5-1 that had been seen in their defeat to Doncaster last Saturday.

He had made three personnel changes too, with injured Filipe Teixeria making way for Emil Halfredsson and Jon Macken and Daniel Bogdanovic replacing Andy Gray and Anderson Da Silva.

Yala Bolasie had been the Pilgrims' main outlet in a number of previous games and he proved how dangerous he could be after just 30 seconds, beating full-back Ryan Shotton for pace down the right before being forced into touch by solid Barnsley skipper Stephen Foster.

The next ten minutes saw a number of sorties into the Barnsley half until Stockdale's failure to deal with a Adam Hammill corner allowed Shotton to hit the bar with an impressive over head kick.

But then came Argyle's first real chance of the half when Mackie's usual perseverance saw him set off down the right-flank. With Bradley Wright-Phillips in support, it looked like he might try and find him in the air but instead opted to feed the incoming Bolasie with a crisp daisy-cutter. The pacey winger didn't even have to check his run but saw his shot from just outside the box cannon off the post and out for a goal-kick.

Barnsley were the next to threaten when Halfredsson's deflected cross found Macken, whose shot was excellently saved by Stockdale from point-blank range. It was an important save for Stockdale who undoubtedly regained his confidence following his earlier misdemeanour.

The game had now come alive and the Pilgrims, now playing against a very strong wind, began to take control, taking advantage of Mackie and Wright-Phillips' pace to expose Darren Moore and Foster over the top.

One of Barnsley's tactical moves had also helped Argyle; with Halfredsson swapping flanks with Hammill so that the former, with his sheer mass, could deal with Bolasie. However, this only served to open up Judge on the other side and cross after cross followed from the right.

Réda Johnson then had the chance of the half when he met Judge's free-kick with a thunderous header on the edge of the six yard box that smashed against the crossbar and away from goal.

Less power might have seen it drop in but without the power, he may never have beaten Moore with such ease.

The Argyle back-line still had to be on their guard though and they were almost punished when Bondz N'Gala's hurried clearance led to another superb Stockdale save from Macken on the eve of half-time.

Straight from the second half kick-off, the Pilgrims showed positivity going forward when Mackie and then Bolasie went close with loose efforts. Mackie in fact felt he should of had a penalty when he tangled with Shotton but referee Russell was on the scene to quickly dismiss his protests.

Mackie and Wright-Phillips have formed a formidable partnership since their first outting together against Coventry at the beginning of March and they combined well again to give the Pilgrims' yet another scoring opportunity.

Having battled with Shotton, Wright-Phillips won the ball on the flank and then progressed along the byline. He then fed the advancing Mackie whose well placed shot across himself to the back-post was saved at full stretch by Luke Steele in the Barnsley goal.

The ball stayed in play though until Judge's volley from the corner of the box went sailing into the stand.

Joe Mason replaced the now booked Bolasie just after the hour mark and the game had a ten minute lull until Iain Hume's fierce drive evaded the Argyle defence and whipped across Stockdale's goal.

That little scare was followed by another piece Mackie brilliance when his twisting and turning followed by a decent effort was again thwarted by Steele.

But Iain Hume was proving as much of a threat to Argyle as Mackie was to Barnsley when he gambled on a high ball to go clear on goal. Stockdale, fantastic throughout, stood strong and saved well to his left before gobbling up the loose ball.

The tackles were getting heavier and heavier as both sides looked for a winner but despite several genuine opportunities, neither side could break the deadline.

Kenny Cooper was thrown on as a last throw of the dice as four minutes went up on the fourth official's board.

Bondz N'Gala saw his header tipped over by Steele, Noone had an audacious effort from the right before the referee blew time on an entertaining but ultimately fruitless clash.

Argyle (4-4-2): 21 David Stockdale; 2 Karl Duguid (capt), 29 Bondz N'Gala, 22 Réda Johnson, 35 Onismor Bhasera; 25 Alan Judge (17 Craig Noone 74), 6 Chris Clark, 7 Damien Johnson, 36 Yala Bolasie (32 Joe Mason 61); 8 Jamie Mackie, 10 Bradley Wright-Phillips (33 Kenny Cooper 89). Substitutes (not used): 1 Romain Larrieu (gk), 14 Rory Fallon, 31 Yoann Folly, 40 Ryan Leonard.

Booked: Bolasie 57

Barnsley (4-4-2): 1 Luke Steele; 30 Ryan Shotton, 4 Darren Moore, 6 Stephen Foster (capt), 22 Luke Potter; 25 Adam Hamill, 5 Hugo Colace, 39 Nathan Doyle, 14 Emil Halfredsson; 21 Jon Macken (27 Andy Gray 78), 10 Daniel Bogdanovic (7 Iain Hume 40). Substitutes (not used):12 David Preece (gk), 15 Anderson De Silva, 19 Jacob Butterfield, 23 Mounir El Haimour, 45 O'Neil Thompson.

Booked: Halfredsson 55, Hammill 61, Shotton 90

Referee: Mick Russell (Hertfordshire)

Attendance: 7,243 (162 away)

Chris Parsons

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