Wycombe Wanderers 1
by CHRIS PARSONS
ARGYLE’S December run came to an end at the last hurdle to Wycombe Wanderers.
Despite complete domination of the match, Matt McClure’s first-half goal from a Pilgrims mistake, gave the Chairboys all three points.
Argyle did everything they could to score, controlled the tempo of the game and had several glorious opportunities to get something from the match.
But, try as they might, they just could not find the back of the net on an afternoon that was smash and grab exemplified for their visitors.
After a dominant performance against Torquay on Boxing Day, Argyle manager Carl Fletcher kept faith in the same starting XI.
He made one change on the bench, though, with the fit again Mark Molesley replacing Jamie Lowry.
The Pilgrims began the game just as they had finished against the Gulls; with purpose and looking dangerous in attack.
In fact, they could have gone ahead inside the first three minutes when Wycombe ‘keeper Jordan Archer misjudged a Paris Cowan-Hall cross and fumbled it into the box. Both Nick Chadwick and Onismor Bhasera did their best to poke the ball home but good defending from Anthony Stewart denied them an opener.
Just minutes later, Cowan-Hall was causing problems again, latching on to a Luke Young through-ball to blast over the bar from a tight angle.
Argyle had taken up camp inside their opponents’ half with the Chairboys unable to handle to Young and Hourihane joining the attacks from the midfield.
The Pilgrims were totally in control and when Chadwick hit the post with a superb turning shot before the ten minute mark, it seemed just a matter of time until they took the lead.
But, incredibly, just a minute later, it was Wycombe who were in front when Lewis dispossessed Young on the edge of the area before feeding McClure to thread past Gilmartin.
It was not an exaggeration to say it was the first time that they had had any possession in and around the Pilgrims’ penalty area, let alone a shot on goal, making the sense of injustice all the more raw.
Undeterred, Argyle restarted their bombardment of the Wycombe penalty area and again went close when Tyler Harvey tried to capitalise on Kortney Hause’s poor back pass, only to be foiled by Archer at the death.
Cowan-Hall fashioned himself another chance just moments later but again missed the target, pulling his curling effort wide after much ducking and diving to find space.
Miscommunication between Harvey and Hourihane led to the two of them stepping over another neat cross from Cowan-Hall before Chadwick failed to get the right bounce when he controlled Bhasera’s pass on his chest on the centre spot.
In the time it took for Argyle to create all of those chances, Wycombe has mustered just a single corner in attacking threat.
With five minutes to go until half-time a funky free-kick routine found Williams in acres of space 30 yards from goal but his trademark thunderous drive swerved just inches wide of the top right hand corner.
Despite their dominance, Argyle found themselves 1-0 down at the break, leaving a near 7,000 festive crowd somewhat unsettled.
Within the first few minutes of the second period, both sides had hit the woodwork when first, Matt Spring’s corner cannoned off the outside of Gilmartin’s post before Cowan-Hall’s cross-turned-shot bounced off the top of the bar.
Darren Purse headed over from a Young corner before Chadwick headed wide from Bhasera.
Just before the hour, Warren Feeney replaced Harvey and within seconds found himself in the book for a late challenge on Archer. Rhys Griffiths and Molesley joined the action a short time afterwards.
Cross after cross, long shot after long shot followed as Argyle peppered the Wycombe goal without being able to apply that killer touch.
Six minutes of injury time brought more pressure from the men in green but it just would not fall for them and Griffiths header wide in the dying embers proved to be the final action.
My goodness, can’t football be frustrating?
Argyle (4-4-2): 20 Rene Gilmartin; 17 Curtis Nelson, 5 Darren Purse (capt), 4 Maxime Blanchard, 3 Robbie Williams; 7 Paris Cowan-Hall, 15 Luke Young, 6 Conor Hourihane, 14 Onismor Bhasera (30 Mark Molesley 70); 29 Tyler Harvey (11 Warren Feeney 56), 9 Nick Chadwick (10 Rhys Griffiths 70). Substitutes (not used): 1 Jake Cole, 2 Durrell Berry, 19 Joe Lennox, 27 Andres Gurrieri.
Booked: Feeney 57
Wycombe Wanderers (4-4-2): 36 Jordan Archer; 19 Marvin McCoy, 34 Kortney Hause, 27 Anthony Stewart, 11 Sam Wood; 7 Gareth Ainsworth (32 Junior Morias 86), 8 Stuart Lewis (capt), 9 Matt Spring, 12 Bruno Andrade; 29 Matt McClure (38 Ade Azeez 71), 22 Jo Kuffour. Substitutes (not used): 15 Dennis Oli, 21 Lee Harrison, 25 Lee Angol, 35 Georges Ehui.
Booked: McCoy 82
Referee: Brendan Malone.
Attendance: 6,983 (203 away)