League One
Monday 18th April 2022
Plymouth Argyle FC
Sunderland AFC
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Full Time - 96
Home Park
MATCH CENTRE DELIVERED BY
Match Details
Steven Schumacher

A sold-out Home Park will be hoping Argyle can get back to winning ways when they entertain Sunderland on Easter Monday.

The Greens sit fourth in Sky Bet League One and have a two-point buffer the four sides below them.

One of those teams is Sunderland who are just outside the play off places on goal difference.

The tight nature at the top end of the division has put extra importance on the games over Easter and Argyle’s loss to Wycombe Wanderers on Friday has meant that the race for the play offs has got even closer.

A win for the Greens would see them stretch their lead over Sunderland to five points with two games remaining while a win for Sunderland would see them leapfrog the Pilgrims.

The Black Cats also have a game in hand over Argyle, so the importance of gaining an advantage is not lost on Steven Schumacher.

He said, “It’s going to be huge; it was always going to be a big game anyway.

“We have to go out and try and win the game, we need to put in a better performance than on Friday and compete better.

“We know how important it is to get a result and we will do our best to try and do that.”

Having picked up a point from back-to-back away games, Argyle will be pleased to be returning to Home Park.

It has been a bit of a fortress in recent times with the last six games yielding six wins and six clean sheets.

The Pilgrims have the fourth best home record in the division and haven’t lost at home since Rotherham United won 1-0 in February.

In that time, they have seen off play-off chasing sides in Portsmouth and Oxford United with huge atmospheres making in impact in those games.

And with Monday’s game being the fifth sell out of the season, Steven knows just how much of an impact the Green Army makes.

He said, “The fans that turned up on Friday were fantastic and they will be again on Monday.

“They have been terrific for us at home this season and make it an intimidating atmosphere and the players are looking forward to putting things right.”

The visitors come into Monday’s encounter having scored late winners in their last two matches.

An 89th minute goal from Elliott Embleton a fortnight ago gave them a 2-1 win at Oxford, while Nathan Broadhead scored deep into injury time against Shrewsbury Town on Friday to give the Black Cats a 3-2 victory.

Those results mean that Sunderland have gone nine games without defeat and are beginning to find their form at the perfect stage of the season.

A 6-0 defeat to Bolton Wanderers in January brought an end to Lee Johnson’s reign at the Stadium of Light, with Alex Neil coming in to replace him.

It took four games for them to get their next victory but since then, they haven’t looked back.

They’re unbeaten in their last five away games, drawing three and winning two, and have conceded just two goals in that time.

The reverse fixture in December was Steven Schumacher’s second game in charge of Argyle and saw Sunderland race into a two-goal lead before Dan Scarr reduced the deficit after half time.

That 2-1 win was the fifth time in the last six meetings that Sunderland have got the better over Argyle, with the Greens last home win over Sunderland coming in August 2004.

TEAM NEWS

Steven Schumacher admitted that Joe Edwards and Ryan Hardie are unlikely to feature in Monday’s game as they both continue their recovery from injuries.

Brendan Galloway, James Bolton, Alfie Lewis and George Cooper remain side-lined.

As for the visitors, they are doubtful about the availability of Alex Pritchard who has missed the last two matches with an injury issue.

Thorben Hoffman and Callum Doyle are also doubts after missing Friday's contest due to illness, while Leon Dajaku has returned to his native Germany to undergo tests.

TICKET NEWS

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

ARGYLE TV

With Monday’s game being shown live on Sky Sports, there will be no streaming available on Argyle TV.

Instead, a watch-along with Erin Black, Martin Gritton and Brian McGlinchey will be available to view for free on Argyle TV with audio commentary with Rob McNichol and Ian Stonebridge available to purchase for £2.50.

The pre match show will be live, as usual, from 2pm.

 

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Hardie is crowded out by Sunderland

Argyle 0 

Sunderland 0 

Argyle extended their incredible clean sheet run at Home Park to seven games after an ultra-tight 0-0 draw with promotion rivals Sunderland. 

The Sky Sports cameras descended on Home Park for a beautiful Devon day but, on the pitch, it was a case of two very strong teams cancelling each other out. 

Argyle manager Steven Schumacher made two changes from the Good Friday loss at Wycombe, as Ryan Hardie returned from injury to partner Niall Ennis in attack. Jordon Garrick and Luke Jephcott dropped to the bench. 

Nathan Broadhead scored a last-gasp winner for the Black Cats at home to Shrewsbury on Friday and it was brilliant recovery work from Panutche Camara that stemmed an early break by the visitors. 

In a highly competitive start, Camara again thwarted Broadhead with some excellent tracking back before a delicious cross from Conor Grant was half-cleared to the all-action Camara for a half-volley launched over the bar. 

The Green Army were then purring after a delightful counter involving Grant, Camara and Steven Sessegnon. The ball was recycled for a low cross by Sessegnon and Ennis forced a decent low save from Anthony Patterson. 

In a tight game, Danny Mayor turned sharply 25 yards out for a shot at goal, deflected wide by a Sunderland head. Macaulay Gillesphey followed up with a curling effort that dipped a tad too late to trouble Patterson. 

Camara, meanwhile, continued his swashbucking display, winning the ball in midfield to set up Ennis, who laid the next pass a fraction too far ahead of Mayor for a shot on goal. Sunderland responded with a clip over the top for Ross Stewart but his slightly heavy first touch allowed Mike Cooper to make a brave low block.  

In general, however, Argyle were the team looking a greater threat and a lovely cross from Grant picked out the darting run of Hardie for a downward header steered narrowly wide of the near post. An intriguing first period ended with a pass from Ennis angled just beyond the path of Hardie. 

A terrific tackle from Gillesphey blunted a sharp run by Dennis Cirkin immediately after the restart and it was then down to Cooper, saving well with his legs after a stabbed shot by the lively Broadhead from a tight angle. 

A powerful run and cross from Sessegnon was gathered under pressure by Patterson after yet more Camara energy started the Pilgrim move. The Black Cats came back with a deep cross from Luke O’Nien that needed clearing by the well-positioned Dan Scarr. 

Camara was forced off with an injury midway through the second period, with Adam Randell the readymade replacement. Mayor then tricked his way beautifully into the box for a pass slipped to Grant on the edge of the box, but his steered effort was deflected wide. 

As the game entered the final 20 minutes, a typically strong defensive header from Scarr repelled a cross by O’Nien, who was then replaced by Lynden Gooch, followed by Stewart spinning on the edge of the box for a shot rifled narrowly wide.   

Jephcott for Ennis was the next Pilgrim change, while Patrick Roberts came on for the visitors, as both teams looked to unlock the door to three massive points in the play-off race. Daniel Neil for Jay Matete was the final Sunderland switch. 

Garrick replaced Hardie for the final 10 minutes and he wasn’t far away from a lovely whipped cross by Grant that defender Bailey Wright could only scoop in the air for Patterson to hastily collect.  

Sessegnon continued to spark on the right flank and his industry led to a cross for Grant, who cut back on his right foot for a shot that flicked off a Sunderland leg before creeping past the post. 

The Pilgrim play-off push moves on to a huge challenge at Wigan Athletic on Saturday. 

Argyle (3-5-2): 1 Mike Cooper; 5 James Wilson, 6 Dan Scarr, 3 Macaulay Gillesphey; 17 Steven Sessegnon, 28 Panutche Camara (20 Adam Randell 66), 4 Jordan Houghton, 10 Danny Mayor, 15 Conor Grant; 9 Ryan Hardie (14 Jordon Garrick 82), 11 Niall Ennis (31 Luke Jephcott 76). Substitutes: 25 Callum Burton (gk), 7 Ryan Broom, 27 Ryan Law, 33 Romoney Crichlow. 

Booked: Sessegnon 90 

Sunderland (3-5-2): 20 Anthony Patterson; 15 Carl Winchester, 26 Bailey Wright, 17 Dennis Cirkin; 25 Jack Clarke, 27 Jay Matete (24 Daniel Neil 80), 8 Elliott Embleton (77 Patrick Roberts 76), 4 Corry Evans (capt), 13 Luke O’Nien (11 Lynden Gooch 74); 9 Nathan Broadhead, 14 Ross Stewart. Substitutes: 1 Lee Burge, 5 Daniel Batth, 19 Arbenit Xhemajli, 32 Trai Hume. 

Booked: Cirkin 59, Evans 84 

Attendance: 15,800 (1,537 away)

Referee: Carl Brook