Ahead Of The Game - Festive Fixtures

ARGYLE kicked-off their Christmas series of games with a 3-0 home victory over Dagenham & Redbridge...

...but the festivities do not stop there.

Once all the players have eaten their Christmas dinners and opened their presents, Sky Bet League 2 duty will resume for Argyle on Boxing Day when they travel to Wales to take on Newport County. Then, on Sunday, December 28 Argyle will return to the Theatre of Greens to do battle with Michael Appleton’s Oxford United.

Argyle will be looking to secure their third successive victory when they head to fellow promotion chasers Newport, at Rodney Parade.

A win for John Sheridan’s men will see them increase the gap between themselves and Newport, but more so, it will further enhance their push for promotion – with victory potentially seeing them rise to as high as second in the league.

The three points for the Exiles, however, would see them go level on points with Argyle and get back to winning ways after suffering a 3-0 away defeat to Luton Town.

When Argyle and Justin Edinburgh’s side met for the first time last season the floodlights went out at Home Park after 74 minutes, which resulted in a ten-minute delay, and the game finished goalless.
The return fixture, at Rodney Parade, saw Argyle secure a 2-1 victory with Tyler Harvey opening the scoring with a powerful header, before former Pilgrim Chris Zebroski restored parity. The Greens restored the lead and secured the points when Conor Hourihane latched onto Reuben Reid’s cut-back to put his precise effort into the bottom right corner.

After the Boxing Day then turns to our second league tie in two days when we return to Home Park to take on Oxford United.

Unlike Argyle, Michael Appleton’s side have struggled to find the form of last season and with Argyle looking to extend their unbeaten home record to ten matches, and Oxford having to play high-flying Shrewsbury Town prior to this tie, it is poised to be a tough festive season for United.

A victory for the U’s would do them a world of good, however, as they currently sit just five points above the relegation zone.

Oxford come into this game - pending their Shrewsbury result - having won just once in their last six games. Their most recent setback was against bottom-of-the-league Hartlepool – drawing 1-1 with Danny Hylton cancelling out Joe Ironside’s opener.

The last time Argyle locked horns with Oxford it resulted in a 2-0 home defeat, with goals from Dave Kitson and James Constable securing the win against the ten-men of Argyle – with Maxime Blanchard receiving a red card after 49 minutes.

It was a different story in the away fixture though, with Argyle securing a 3-2 win last Boxing Day, after Caolan Lavery opened the scoring with a low driven strike that flew into the bottom corner, only for it to be cancelled out by Asa Hall.

The Greens’ lead was then restored when Dave Kitson handled in the box to allow Reuben to duly convert from the spot, who then went onto net a brace after his shot squirmed into the net to give the Pilgrims a two-goal cushion. Oxford reduced the deficit when Neal Trotman’s miscued clearance found the corner of his own net, but it wasn’t enough as the three points went back to Devon.

Merry Christmas everyone!