Argyle 1 York 1 - ReportArgyle 1
B Reid 3
York City 1
by Rick Cowdery
IF this season is going to be one to write home about for Argyle, a lot of the credit will be down to a couple of good Reids.
Many plaudits have already come the way of leading scorer Reuben, and many are surely due to him before this interesting season is out, but the impact that midfielder Bobby Reid is having in his temporary spells from Bristol City are proving a vital cog in the Green Machine.
The 21-year-old scored his first Argyle goal in the third minute of his second loan spell from Ashton Gate which, for a long time, looked like being enough to give the Pilgrims an eighth successive home win.
In the end, after nearly ten hours without conceding a Sky Bet League 2 goal at Home Park, York forward Jake Hyde squeezed home the ball after an almighty goalmouth scramble in the fourth minute of added time. That the referee had awarded only three and had cause to speak to York about foul play before the free-kick that led to the leveller only served to heighten the sense of Argyle injustice.
It was the first time this season that they have not gone on to claim all three points after taking the lead and, although they occasionally put the Green Army through it a bit against recently resurgent visitors, they never had never really looked like relinquishing that happy stat.
Argyle had gone into the match having made a change to their central defensive trio for the first time in 11 games, a calf strain having ruled out Carl McHugh for the short-term. Anthony O’Connor dropped back from midfield to fill in, which allowed the returning Reid to slot straight back in to the starting line-up at the beginning of his.
York, chasing a third successive away win, made one change to the 11 that had started the previous week’s 3-1 victory at Hartlepool, bringing in former Pilgrim Luke Summerfield in place of the benched Lewis Montrose.
Another ex-Home Park hero, Stephane Zubar, continued his loan spell at Bootham Crescent from Bournemouth at left centre-back, while York’s two other deadline-day signings, strikers Diego De Girolamo, of Sheffield United, and Norwich City’s Carlton Morris, began on the bench.
Bobby Reid was afforded marvellous Home Park reception when the teams were introduced before the kick-off, and it was not long before he drew more sustained applause from the Green Army.
After receiving the ball back from one of his own corners on the right, he advanced into the penalty area, parallel with, and a yard in from, the bye-line, selling Summerfield a dummy that the Ivybridge-born midfielder bought too easily.
The rashness gave Reid the time and space to fire off a shot that was heading for goal before it took a helpful deflection off the lunging Femi Ilesanmili’s foot and looped over the head of goalkeeper Alex Cisak.
The early strike left York needing to score as many goals as all of Argyle’s previous nine league visitors this season had managed between them to take all three points.
After a period of Pilgrim pressure reminiscent of the previous home routing of Portsmouth, the visitors came close to getting halfway to their daunting objective when centre-back – and joint-leading scorer – Keith Lowe headed Michael Coulson’s free-kick narrowly over with goalkeeper Luke McCormick committed and beaten.
More York enterprise followed before, in another echo of Pompey, Kelvin Mellor made one of his surges into the penalty area and pulled the ball back for the Argyle goalscorer to have another try, but the scudding shot was dragged narrowly wide of Cisak’s far post.
McCormick was as busy as he has been in recent weeks – certainly at Home Park – and reacted well to boot away a low shot from Marvin McCoy after the York right-back had marauded down the Argyle left.
York were certainly better at coming forward than they were at defending their own lines, and Argyle eyed up some invitingly large unpoliced areas behind and wide of their back four. A combination of the linesman’s flag and some desperate defending kept them at bay, with Reuben Reid’s header from puppet-master Bobby’s delivery nearly finding a way past Cisak.
The visitors’ team of two halves then came as close as anyone since Wycombe Wanderers in mid-September to beating McCormick at Home Park when Wes Fletcher had the beating of Curtis Nelson. With the Pilgrims’ keeper again committed, he squared for Josh Carson to horribly miscue and fire the ball high into the Devonport end.
The close thing might have been the reason why Argyle immediately upped their attacking game. Before half-time, Bobby Reid saw an effort well saved by Cisak after he had poached a poor City pass, and Andy Kellett was also denied by the York custodian following a typically elusive break into the opposition penalty area.
York started the second half with a flourish – nothing too threatening, though – as League 2’s best defence contented themselves with showing the skills that has earned them that epithet. The Devonport had to be satisfied with the odd sight of an Argyle attack, with the ever-willing Dominic Blizzard firing Mellor’s cut-back narrowly over.
Mind you, when the did move forward, they did so with patience and purpose that threatened a nerve-settling second. One such move saw Mellor cut the ball back for Bobby Reid to fire in a low shot that Lowe blocked well.
They were not afraid to attempt the direct approach, either, with Reuben Reid twice trying his luck with low drives, but both times finding Cisak impassable.
Mellor tried his luck with the gentlest of lobs on the angle that arced over the furiously backpedalling York goalkeeper before plopping just wide of the far post and, as the game entered do-or-die territory, Lewis Alessandra span Zubar and took a touch before firing over.
Substitute Deane Smalley joined in with the near-misses when he reacted well to latch on to a clearance that fell to him unexpectedly but could not keep his shot down.
At the time, you thought it would have been a nice way to finish. As it turned out, it was also necessary.
Argyle (3-5-2): 23 Luke McCormick; 5 Curtis Nelson (capt), 28 Anthony O’Connor, 29 Peter Hartley; 2 Kelvin Mellor, 4 Lee Cox, 17 Bobby Reid, 11 Dominic Blizzard, 13 Andy Kellett; 9 Reuben Reid 922 Deane Smalley 81), 7 Lewis Alessandra. Substitutes (not used): 1 James Bittner, 3 Ben Purrington, 6 Ollie Norburn, 8 Jason Banton, 14 Tyler Harvey, 19 Nathan Thomas.
Booked: Blizzard 52, Mellor 90.
York City (4-4-2): 29 Alex Cisak; 2 Marvin McCoy, 15 Keith Lowe (5 Josh McCombe 73), 38 Stephane Zubar, 3 Femi Ilesanmili; 12 Josh Carson (19 Diego De Girolamo 61), 8 Luke Summerfield, 10 Russell Penn, 7 Michael Coulson; 9 Wes Fletcher (25 Carlton Morris 77), 39 Jake Hyde. Substitutes (not used): 14 Lewis Montrose, 17 Bradley Halliday, 20 Lindon Meikle, 24 Michael Ingham (gk).
Booked: Penn 39, McCoy 79.
Referee: Tim Robinson.
Attendance: 6,808 (150 away).