Argyle 0 Blackpool 3 - Report
Cullen 27, Potts 30, Flores 62
by Haden Tye
ANY members of the Green Army that are superstitious will have more than enough reason to alter their Tuesday routine.
Two goals within as many minutes just before the half-hour mark condemned Argyle to another disappointing mid-week loss, with Blackpool defeating the Pilgrims 3-0.
Mark Cullen and Brad Potts struck in quick succession to put the Seasiders ahead against the Pilgrims before Jordan Flores made the lead comfortable for the visitors, who eased to a 3-0 victory on a wet and dreary night at Home Park.
Derek Adams made just two changes from his side that overcame Carlisle United 2-0 at the weekend. At centre-half, Jakub Sokolik made way for Yann Songo'o and in central-midfield Ryan Donaldson replaced Antoni Sarcevic.
Blackpool's boss, Gary Bowyer, included two former Argyle players in his squad with Kelvin Mellor starting at right-back and Jamille Matt on the bench. The visitors lined up with four at the back, switching from the three they had played at the weekend and played Jack Payne in defensive-midfield with a bank of four across the middle and Mark Cullen up the top as the lone frontman.
The Seasiders when in possession committed bodies forward, but when Argyle had the ball they looked happy to sit behind it. A few half chances with little conviction for either side was followed by an opening for Argyle.
Graham Carey, who scored Argyle's first on the weekend, picked up the ball on the far right. Argyle bodies flooded into the box, but Carey cut a pass back to Matty Kennedy. In a position that the Pilgrims loanee had proved to be deadly from, he tried to curl an effort to the left of Dean Lyness in the Blackpool goal, but he couldn't wrap his foot round it enough and it drifted well wide.
After nearly half an hour of play with little else than the occasional half chance for either side, the visitors managed to make their own luck. The Seasiders fizzed a pass out wide to the feet of Nathan Delfouneso and the pacey Blackpool winger span away from Argyle's left back Gary Sawyer.
Delfouneso found Brad Potts in the middle and the central-midfielder turned and immediately took a shot at goal from outside the Argyle box. The ball took an unlucky deflection off the boot of Sonny Bradley which steered it into the path of Cullen, who side-footed home with ease for the opener.
Blackpool could smell blood.
Just two minutes after their opener, the visitors doubled their advantage through the same man. Colin Daniel picked the ball up on the left and zipped a cross into the Argyle area which bounced up in front of an unmarked Potts, who rifled a left-footed volley into the roof of the net to bolster the Seasiders' advantage.
Argyle had an uphill task on their hands. Donaldson raced forwards and went to knock the ball around Tom Aldred in the Blackpool defence, but was brought down by the Seasiders centre-half who got booked for his troubles. The resulting free-kick was lashed high and wide by the right foot of Fox.
The Pilgrims were fortunate to get away with another warning without further damage from Blackpool's Cullen. The Seasiders broke down the right before switching to Cullen on the left who ran at the Argyle defence before striking his effort well over the bar from a promising position.
The Pilgrims had another go at the visitors. Carey got the ball on the left and had a considerable amount of space to use down the left. Argyle's number 10 dribbled to the edge of the box and shifted the ball onto his favoured left foot, but his attempt to get Argyle back into the game amassed to little more than a ball in the Barn Park End.
The half-time whistle signalled a change of plan for Adams' side; Craig Tanner and Jimmy Spencer were introduced for Jake Jervis and Kennedy, who had struggled to make an impact.
With a two goal deficit to overturn, the Pilgrims began to assert some much-needed authority and got hold of the ball. The visitors dropped deeper and let Argyle attack them. What the Pilgrims hadn't accounted for, was the threat of the visitors on the break.
The Seasiders countered on the left and switched the ball to the right, where they found the feet of Delfouneso. The Blackpool winger shot across the Argyle goal and Songo'o cleared for a corner. The resulting set-piece led to another Seasiders set-piece as Argyle cleared their lines for a throw-in. Jordan Flores was found by the throw and he escaped the challenge of Tanner and was undeterred by the pressure of Songo'o and fired a low shot that bobbled over McCormick in the Argyle goal.
With the visitors three goals to the good they continued to sit deep and absorb Argyle's inconsistent pressure, which was a bearable challenge for the visitors. With little over ten to play, the Seasiders brought on Jamille Matt who received a warm reception from the Green Army.
Argyle had a late attempt on goal through a Fox shot from the edge of the box but it was met with an ironic applause to summarise Argyle's lack of threat on the night.
The Home Park floodlights dimmed with the final few minutes to play and completed a wonderful scene of pathetic fallacy as Argyle lost 3-0 in a dark and wet Home Park.
Another mid-week game, another anticipated victory and another stumble.
It wouldn't be interesting without a stumble, would it?
Argyle (4-3-3): 23 Luke McCormick (capt); 18 Oscar Threlkeld, 4 Yann Songo'o (8 Jordan Slew 76), 15 Sonny Bradley, 3 Gary Sawyer; 10 Graham Carey, 16 Ryan Donaldson, 24 David Fox; 14 Jake Jervis (27 Craig Tanner 45), 19 Ryan Taylor, 16 Matty Kennedy (9 Jimmy Spencer 45). Substitutes (not used): 2 Gary Miller, 5 Nauris Bulvitus, 13 Nathan Blissett, 21 Vincent Dorel (gk).
Booked: Threlkeld 42, Spencer 75.
Blackpool (4-1-4-1): 27 Dean Lyness; 2 Kelvin Mellor, 5 Clark Robertson, 15 Tom Aldred, 3 Andy Taylor (capt); 28 Jack Payne; 30 Nathan Delfouneso, 8 Brad Potts, 12 Jordan Flores (Ian Black, 76), 23 Colin Daniel (21 Bright Osayi-Samuel, 71); 9 Mark Cullen (19 Jamille Matt, 78). Substitutes (not used): 6 Will Aimson, 25 Myles Boney (gk), 29 Sanmi Odelusi, 31 Armand Gnanduillet.
Booked: Aldred 32, Daniel 43.
Referee: John Busby.
Attendance: 10,568 (127 away).