Saturday 2nd December 2023
Plymouth Argyle FC
Stoke City FC
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Full Time - 100
Home Park
Match Details
Stoke City Preview

Sync Fixtures

The Game 
Argyle v Stoke City. Home Park. Saturday, 2 December. 3pm. Sky Bet Championship.

The Opposition
Stoke are 17th in the Championship table coming into Saturday's game. They have 21 points from 18 games. They have won six, drawn three and lost nine. This puts them three places and two points ahead of Argyle. 

Stoke's form has had its peaks and troughs this season. They won two of their first three games, beating Rotherham United and Watford, but then got just four points from seven games, including a win against Bristol City. 

At the end of October, the Potters won three games in a week, beating Sunderland, Leeds United and Middlesbrough - all sides currently in the top ten in the division. They followed with goalless draws with Cardiff City and Coventry City, then a 3-0 home loss to Blackburn Rovers. Most recently, Stoke were 2-0 up at Queens Park Rangers, but lost 4-2, having had Enda Stevens sent of when they were 1-0 up. 

The Gaffer
After a playing career in which he represented Airdrie, Barnsley and Mansfield Town, Alex Neil's final club was Hamilton Academical, who he would go on to become the player-manager of, aged 31. His success there, taking Hamilton up to the Scottish Premier League, drew the attention of Norwich City, who Neil joined in January 2015. 

At Carrow Road, he took Norwich to promotion to the Premier League via the Championship play-offs, but the Canaries were relegated the following season. With the club eighth the season after that, Neil was sacked. 

Alex Neil

His next job was with Preston North End, where he spent nearly four seasons, finishing in positions ranging from seventh to 14th. In February 2022, he was given the task of steering Sunderland to the play-offs and then into the Championship, which he achieved. 

He chose to leave the Stadium of Light to join Stoke that summer. Last season, he took the Potters to 16th place. 

The Squad
Stoke's leading goalscorer this season is Andre Vidigal, who has four league goals, and one in cup action. Typically playing up front or wide on the left, Vidigal signed from Maritime in his native Portugal, having begun his career at Academica, also in Portugal, and having a spell with Fortuna Sittard in the Netherlands. 

Ben Pearson (below) has started 15 of Stoke's games this season, in the heart of the Potters' midfield. The 28-year-old came through the ranks at Manchester United, and had a season on loan at Barnsley, before moving to Preston North End, where he was managed by Alex Neil. He played 165 times for PNE, then moved on to Bournemouth, where he played 55 times over three seasons. He spent some of last season on loan at Stoke, then signed permanently in the summer. 

Ben Pearson

Enda Stevens was sent off in Stoke's last game, so misses the trip to Home Park through suspension. Wouter Burger and Daniel Johnson were booked in that game, taking them to five cautions, and they will also be suspended for Saturday. 

Fancy a Stat?
Argyle's record defeat came at the hands of Stoke City. The Potters beat Argyle 9-0 at the Victoria Ground in December 1960. 

The History
Argyle and Stoke have met 45 times in the clubs' histories. The Greens have won 12 of those games, Stoke have won 20 and there have been 13 draws. 

The most recent meetings came in the 2007/08 season. The sides drew 2-2 at Home Park, with the game at Stoke earlier in the season ending in a 3-2 win for the Potters.

Tickets
The game is sold out for Argyle supporters. 

If you have a season ticket and cannot attend, you can make your ticket available via the Ticket Exchange and receive face value credit if your ticket is resold. Find out more about the Ticket Exchange.

Fans' Guide
The game is a dedicated Project 35 fixture. For more information on this and other matters to enhance your match-day experience, see our Fans' Guide.

Argyle TV
Commentary for the game will be provided by Charlie Price and Aaron Cusack.

Argyle TV’s pre-match show, hosted by Alex Wood and Katie Middleton, will begin at 2pm, and is available to watch for free on YouTube.

Domestic supporters can listen to audio commentary on Argyle TV, while international supporters can buy a match pass to watch the game, here.

New Year's Eve

Adam Randell

Argyle 2
Bundu 43
Randell 90+7

Stoke City 1
Campbell 23

Adam Randell celebrated a century of Pilgrim appearances with a dramatic last-gasp winner to take all three points at a frosty Home Park.

Stoke City had grabbed the lead on 23 minutes, Tyrese Campbell firing the visitors in front, but Mustapha Bundu replied with a fine finish on the stroke of half-time.

The Greens largely controlled the second period without creating that one big chance but it all changed when substitute Randell rifled home from 15 yards after a spell of stoppage time pressure had created mayhem in the Stoke box.

Argyle boss Steven Schumacher made three changes from the narrow loss at Coventry City in midweek. Brendan Galloway made his first start since April, alongside Dan Scarr and Bundu, with Julio Pleguezuelo, Ben Waine and Joe Edwards dropping to the bench.

The Greens came out flying, with Jordan Houghton and Luke Cundle moving the ball through midfield for an eventual cross from Morgan Whittaker, which was deflected over the bar by the Stoke defence.

Cundle pounced on a loose ball from the subsequent corner and the Potters were again forced into a desperate block before Finn Azaz found space on the edge of the box and speared a decent effort narrowly wide of the post.

Stoke found some attacking impetus on seven minutes, Ciaran Clark steering his header into the arms of a well-positioned Michael Cooper. It was then over to Campbell to head over from a corner, as the visitors settled into the game.

Argyle fell behind midway through the first half, when Campbell took advantage of some hesitancy at the back to slip a calm finish beyond Cooper. Andre Vidigal was next to ask a question, firing over from a tight angle.

The Pilgrims gradually recovered their composure and, after a scrappy spell, Kaine Kesler-Hayden fizzed in a super cross and Bundu beautifully controlled the finish to flick the ball beyond a stranded Jack Bonham in the Stoke goal.

Argyle emerged for the second period full of enthusiasm, as evidenced by a delicious Cundle pass down the channel for Bundu, who was on target with his low effort but credit to Bonham for a strong save from the angled strike.

Stoke responded with a swift counter and a clever run behind the Argyle defence from Ryan Mmaee resulted in a drilled effort diverted wide by the legs of Cooper.  

The game then descended into a scruffy period, with both sides struggling to find cohesion in their passing. When Stoke did find some precision through the middle, Kesler-Hayden produced a wonderful recovery tackle to thwart Bae Junho.

Argyle switched the focus to the other end with a lovely low cutback from Bundu to pick out Azaz but the final shot was ballooned over the bar. Azaz soon rediscovered his radar, dinking a lovely cross for Cundle to volley against the legs of Bonham.

Ryan Hardie returned from injury to replace Bali Mumba midway through the second half, as the Pilgrims began to enjoy a spell of sustained pressure. The next Argyle changes saw the introduction of Mickel Miller and Randell for Galloway and Houghton.

Matt Butcher and Callum Wright replaced Whittaker and Kesler-Hayden for the final ten minutes of a game that remained fully in the balance. Miller won a free-kick by the left byline but Randell’s swinging delivery was headed clear.

Argyle continued to press and Hardie picked up on a lovely reverse from Azaz before lashing a fierce shot inches over. While Stoke were sitting a little deeper in the closing stages, the counter-attack threat remained very real and the stage was set for a proper finale in the six minutes of stoppage time.

Wright almost delivered with a jinking run and cross, parried clear by Bonham at the near post but the climax was just around the corner.

Wright, again, weaved down the left, his shot was well saved by Bonham, Cundle’s rebound was blocked by some desperate Stoke defending but destiny was in the hands of Randell and he obliged with a fearless left-foot strike into the bottom corner with virtually the final kick of the game.

Argyle: 1 Michael Cooper; 2 Bali Mumba (9 Ryan Hardie 68), 4 Jordan Houghton (capt) (20 Adam Randell 76), 6 Dan Scarr, 10 Morgan Whittaker (11 Callum Wright 82), 15 Mustapha Bundu, 17 Lewis Gibson, 18 Finn Azaz, 22 Brendan Galloway (14 Mickel Miller 76), 28 Luke Cundle, 29 Kaine Kesler-Hayden (7 Matt Butcher 82). Substitutes (not used): 21 Conor Hazard (gk), 5 Julio Pleguezuelo, 8 Joe Edwards, 23 Ben Waine.

Booked: Houghton 7

Stoke: 13 Jack Bonham; 2 Lynden Gooch, 4 Ben Pearson, 7 Andre Vidigal (27 Mehdi Leris 71), 10 Tyrese Campbell (35 Nathan Loure 90), 17 Ki-Jana Hoever, 19 Ryan Mmaee, 22 Bae Junho (8 Lewis Baker 82), 23 Luke McNally, 26 Ciaran Clark, 28 Josh Laurent (capt). Substitutes (not used): 45 Tommy Simkin (gk), 5 Michael Rose, 11 Dwight Gayle, 15 Jordan Thompson, 18 Wesley, 24 Junior Tchamadeu.

Booked: Vidigal 57, Pearson 63

Referee: Sam Barrott

Attendance: 16,371 (1,546 away)