League One
Saturday 2nd April 2022
Plymouth Argyle FC
Oxford United FC
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Full Time - 96
Home Park
MATCH CENTRE DELIVERED BY
Match Details
Training

Steven Schumacher is hoping his Argyle side can take a step closer to securing a position in the Sky Bet League One play off places this Saturday against the division’s highest scorers, Oxford United.

The Greens head into the final month of the season sitting fourth in the league and have five of the top eight still to play.

The first of those is on Saturday when the U’s visit Home Park for the club’s Armed Services Day.

A week on from defeat to Ipswich Town, the Argyle squad have had a full week to prepare for what will no doubt be a pivotal month in the Greens’ season.

“The lads were brilliant throughout the whole of the March,” Steven said reflecting on the last month.

“We got 18 points in a really good month during a really good run.”

“We just ran out of energy against Ipswich, so we felt it was important to recharge the batteries and go again.”

Last weekend’s defeat away to Ipswich ended the Pilgrims’ six game-winning run which coincided with six consecutive clean sheets.

“We all recognise we were below our level and that happens,” Steven admitted.

“The players on Tuesday were keen to speak about that, we discussed it, we analysed it and quickly put it to bed and moved on.”

Saturday’s 3pm kick-off is a chance to return to winning ways for the Greens, against a side one position and five points below them in the league.

Oxford will travel down to the south west having gone one better than Argyle after snatching a late point against Ipswich a fortnight ago.

Their recent form has seen them pick up 16 points out of a possible 18 from their last six games.

Having had a week off last weekend, Steven is sure Oxford will be raring to go come matchday.

He said, “It will be a really tough game. They’re the leading goal scorers in the division, they’ve got firepower all over the pitch, their midfield has players that can handle the ball.

“They’re a strong team, they missed out on the play-offs last year, they’re always there or thereabouts and Karl Robinson has them playing nice, attractive football all the time.

“They’re chasing us, they’ll be desperate to try and close that gap and we’ll have to do our best to keep them away from us.”

With injuries to the first team, including one to the club’s top goal-scorer this season, Ryan Hardie, Steven will need to rely on the depth of his squad.

However, he is confident in the players waiting in the wings and is sure they’re ready to step up.

“I don’t think there’s been any sort of drop off in performance when people have been coming in and out of the team and we’ve changed things up,” he said.

“The level of consistency has generally been pretty good, so we’re really pleased with that and we’re going to need that to continue.”

He added, “The players outside of the starting eleven don’t get too down because they understand things can change quickly in football.

“It’s a funny old game, football, now and again. You’ve just got to be ready when needed and when called upon.”

With a chance to return to the Sky Bet Championship for the first time since 2010 on the horizon, optimism amongst fans have been higher than ever.

With this in mind, Steven said, “It’s exciting to be a part of Argyle at the moment and I know walking around the city everyone is excited, everyone’s looking forward to the games and it should be a good day when they get behind the team.

“We’re going to need that atmosphere again, it does help the players, it helps everybody, it gets the energy going.

“When you’re in tough games and have tough times throughout the game, I’m sure Oxford will have spells on Saturday, we’re going to need our fans to get behind the lads and push us forward.”

Finally, with Armed Forces Day taking place at the ground, Steven finished with his appreciation for the role of the military within Plymouth, “The military and the armed forces play such a huge part in the city.

“They create so many jobs and they have a rich history of being a part of the foundation of this city.

“I think it will be a brilliant day.”

TEAM NEWS

Panutche Camara and Luke Jepchott will be available again following their international call ups last week.

Ryan Hardie will be missing after picking up a thigh injury in the loss to Ipswich Town last weekend. However, both Alfie Lewis and Dan Scarr were named on the bench last week and are in contention once again.

Oxford United, too, will have players returning from international duty.

Gavin Whyte and Ciaron Brown were away with Northern Ireland while Mark Sykes is back after making being called up to the Republic of Ireland squad for the first time.

James Henry and Sam Baldock could well be back after recovering from injuries and the squad could also be bolstered by the return to fitness of defender Elliott Moore.

TICKET NEWS

Saturday’s game is a complete sell out and no more tickets are available for purchase.

ARGYLE TV

If you cannot make the game, then it is available to watch or listen to on Argyle TV. 

Our pre-match show, hosted by Erin Black and Ian Stonebridge, will be free to watch on the club's YouTube channel from 2pm.

Details on packages available to you can be found here.

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Captain Joe Edwards celebrates a brilliant winner

Argyle 1 
Edwards 55 

Oxford United 0 

Skipper Joe Edwards capped a perfect day at Home Park with a stunning volley on 55 minutes to secure Argyle three massive points against promotion rivals Oxford United. 

Home Park was bouncing all afternoon, both sides gave everything for the cause, Edwards won the game with a superb goal and we had the honour and privilege of welcoming special guests for Armed Services Day. 

An afternoon at the football doesn’t get much better. 

Argyle manager Steven Schumacher made four changes from the 1-0 defeat to Ipswich, with Dan Scarr returning to the defence in place of the injured James Bolton. Panutche Camara, Jordon Garrick and Ryan Law also came in for Ryan Hardie, Steven Sessegnon and Adam Randell. The Pilgrim bench included teenagers Oscar Halls and Freddie Issaka 

Oxford arrived at Home Park fresh from a two-week break and Edwards was in the right place to snuff out an early foray, swiftly followed by an outstanding save from the legs of Mike Cooper after a quick break had given Gavin Whyte a clear shot on goal. 

The U’s continued their bright start with a looped pass from Marcus McGuane and Matty Taylor’s prodded lob just landed on the roof of the net. Jordan Houghton relieved the concern with a deep free-kick that found Edwards for a nod back across goal, cleared by Sam Long. 

Danny Mayor made his introductions with a searing run and 25-yard drive that flashed inches wide before an enthralling game took another twist with a deep cross from McGuane to Billy Bodin, who was denied by a fine Cooper block at the near post. 

The action briefly settled into some midfield sparring, a period interrupted by a slick turn from Niall Ennis and a shot rifled over from distance. The Greens then manufactured room for James Wilson to attempt a long-range effort that skidded wide of Simon Eastwood’s far post. 

An inviting low cross from Garrick nearly found the late run of Law on 40 minutes but, for all the attacking intent on display, the first half ended goalless. Quick feet from Bodin and a left-footer curled narrowly wide resumed the action after the break. 

Argyle immediately replied with an extraordinary goal from Edwards. Houghton started the move with a slipped pass and Mayor moved the ball left for Law to cross. Ennis cushioned the ball in the air with his chest and the skipper adjusted his feet before planting a brilliant volley into the corner. The technique, the timing and the significance all combined for a sumptuous goal. 

Understandably, the Pilgrims were playing with renewed fluency and belief, with Mayor and Law causing problems down the left, and the intense running of Garrick and Ennis stretching the Oxford defence. 

The U’s made a couple of changes in an attempt to alter the flow, Sam Winnall and James Henry introduced, but the Pilgrims remained steadfast in defence and Houghton putting out fires across the midfield. 

After an incredible shift in the vanguard, Garrick was relieved of his duties for the closing 13 minutes, Luke Jephcott the readymade replacement, and he was a whisker away from releasing Ennis for a big chance after some beautiful interplay from the Greens. 

Nathan Holland for Bodin was the final Oxford change but the Pilgrims continued to look the more threatening side, Mayor feeding Law for a low cross cleared by the retreating visitors.  

Adam Randell and Ryan Broom replaced Mayor and Camara for the last few minutes and Home Park was a stadium full of tense anticipation. The Greens stood strong through the dying embers and a massive result for Argyle’s promotion aspirations. 

Argyle (3-5-2): 1 Mike Cooper; 5 James Wilson, 6 Dan Scarr, 3 Macaulay Gillesphey; 8 Joe Edwards (capt), 28 Panutche Camara (7 Ryan Broom 90), 4 Jordan Houghton, 10 Danny Mayor (20 Adam Randell 88), 27 Ryan Law; 11 Niall Ennis, 14 Jordon Garrick (31 Luke Jephcott 77). Substitutes: 25 Callum Burton (gk), 33 Romoney Crichlow, 43 Oscar Halls, 48 Freddie Issaka. 

Booked: 

Oxford United (3-4-3): 1 Simon Eastwood; 2 Sam Long, 16 Luke McNally, 4 Ciaron Brown; 10 Mark Sykes, 26 Herbie Kane, 18 Marcus McGuane (11 Sam Winnall 67), 7 Ryan Williams (17 James Henry 67); 9 Matty Taylor (capt), 21 Gavin Whyte, 23 Billy Bodin (27 Nathan Holland 79). Substitutes: 13 Jack Stevens (gk), 14 Anthony Forde, 15 John Mousinho, 42 Steve Seddon. 

Booked: Brown 45, Bodin 76, Taylor 82 

Attendance: 15,826 (1,485 away)  

Referee: Ollie Yates