Crawley Town 1
by CHRIS PARSONS
MAXIME Blanchard's first goal in English football will probably go down as the most important he'll ever score after his 90th minute overhead kick lifted the Pilgrims out of the bottom two for the first time since August.
Having gone one down just before the break to a Pablo Mills header, Argyle needed a second-half rally.
However, it was not until the 87th minute, and the introduction of Joe Lennox and Craig Sutherland, that the Pilgrims threatened and from there, it was happy days, when, as the clock struck 90, Blanchard's effort stole a share of the spoils for the Greens.
With no new injury worries, Argyle manager Carl Fletcher stayed faithful to the same starting 11 that had beaten Burton Albion seven days previously.
Visiting boss Steve Evans made one change from the Red Devils' dour 0-0 draw with Bristol City, swapping central midfielder Josh Simpson with Scott Neilson.
Coming out of the traps early has long been Fletcher's mantra and the Pilgrims did exactly that when Ashley Hemmings left a trail of players in his wake on a mazy run towards goal.
With just one defender and the 'keeper left to beat, he was deliberately tripped by Dean Howell right on the edge of the area.
With the traditional cry of 'shoooot' echoing around Home Park, Paul Wotton stepped to blast it but saw his effort deflected to the wing.
Warren Feeney eventually got a shot off but, off balance, his half-volley was high and wide.
Hemmings again proved dangerous just a few minutes later, showing a clean pair of heels to David Hunt before delivering a low cross for Feeney.
Feeney did well to attack it but could not shake off Pablo Mills, who was hot on the Northern Irishman's heels, to produce a meaningful effort.
It was not all going Argyle's way, though, as Kyle MacFadzean showed why he is rated as one of the best midfielders in the league with a cannonball drive that Jake Cole managed to just get fingertips to.
Matt Tubbs, the man feared by League 2 defences the country over, was next to test Cole, swivelling nicely in the area to try and convert a lose ball. Cole was more than up to it, though, pushing the ball behind for a corner.
Several corners followed as Argyle continued to defend in numbers before, on the stroke of half-time, Crawley went in front when skipper Mills headed home a David Hunt free-kick.
The weary Pilgrims went in at half-time understandably shell-shocked and did not seem to shake that feeling off until 15 minutes into the second-half when Darren Purse's sliding effort in a scrappy goalmouth scramble lifted spirits both on the pitch and on the terrace.
Luckily for the Greens, Crawley could not seem to find the right gear in the second half either as ball after ball was pumped long for nobody in particular by both sides.
With 20 minutes to go, Fletcher threw on Ladjie Soukouna for Feeney and pushed Hemmings up top.
Even that did not seem to change things and, with three minutes remaining, Sutherland replaced Matt Lecointe and Lennox made his debut, coming on for Luke Young.
The introduction of the two attackers immediately shook things as Lennox and Sutherland combined to send the latter down the wing. He crossed for Hemmings whose shot was saved for a corner.
Lennox took the corner, Wotton flicked it on and, incredibly, Blanchard was on the end of it with a spectacular overhead kick.
It was the most unlikely of equalisers after a half bereft of creativity and chances for both sides/ but it was enough to grab a point and lift the Pilgrims away from the League 2 trapdoor.
Argyle (4-4-2): 23 Jake Cole; 28 Paul Bignot, 5 Darren Purse, 22 Maxime Blanchard, 14 Onismor Bhasera; 15 Luke Young (21 Joe Lennox 87), 19 Paul Wotton, 8 Simon Walton (capt), 31 Ashley Hemmings; 11 Warren Feeney (13 Ladjie Soukouna 70), 27 Matt Lecointe (10 Craig Sutherland 87).Substitutes (not used): 1 Romain Larrieu (gk), 2 Durrell Berry.
Booked: Purse 37.
Crawley Town (4-4-2):25 Scott Shearer; 13 David Hunt, 4 Pablo Mills (capt), 28 Claude Davis (6 Hope Akpan h-t), 3 Dean Howell; 8 Sergio Torres, 22 Scott Neilson 5 Kyle MacFadzean, 15 Dannie Bulman; 8 Matt Tubbs, 23 Tyrone Barnett. Substitutes (not used): 1 Michael Kuipers (gk), 11 Josh Simpson, 12 Ben Smith, 20 Charlie Wassmer.
Booked: Torres 7.
Referee: Phil Gibbs.
Attendance: 6,417 (186 away).