ARGYLE’S afternoon in the sun at home to Port Vale started so promisingly.For more than an hour, the Pilgrims controlled the game on a gorgeous late summer’s afternoon, playing eye-catchingly good football.
The afternoon turned, though, on a couple of key moments where misfortune befell members of Argyle midfield, at either end of the experience scale.
First, veteran Paul Wotton, who was probably having his best afternoon of the season so far, was forced to limp from the field ten minutes into the second half, a worsening groin injury curtailing his involvement at a crucial stage of the game.
Then, teenager Luke Young was lured into felling Ashley Vincent as the Vale man skipped into the penalty area. Referee Darren Sheldrake inexorably pointed to the spot, and Vale soon had their equaliser.
Without their midfield talisman and with the game levelled at 1-1, Argyle could not recover the vice-grip they held upon the game in the first period, and it slipped away. A 3-1 loss scarcely tells the story of a match which looked only to be heading in one direction for two thirds of it.
Speaking of the loss of Wottsy, boss Carl Fletcher said: “You miss experience.
“He did his groin in the first five minutes, he said. It just got worse and worse.
“Stopping at half-time [didn’t help]. We said ‘try the second half’ and he tried to get through it.
“Obviously that’s disappointing for us. We’ll have to see how it is.
“It’s a learning experience for Luke. It’s one he needs to learn from.
“If he’s giving penalties away every week, then there’s an issue, but he just has to learn from this. Youngy is going to be a great, great player whether it’s here or at another club, he’ll use it in the future.
“He’s still young. He’s only 19. He’s learning all the time.”