IT was a case of déjà vu all over again as Argyle suffered a third successive home defeat after having a player sent off.
The Pilgrims’ 3-1 defeat by Blackpool on Tuesday at Home Park came in the wake of Milton Keynes’ 1-0 victory four days before and Scunthorpe’s 4-0 triumph a fortnight earlier, both of which followed familiar patterns – concession of an early goal, followed by some good play by Argyle and a red card.
For the third time in seven league matches this season, Argyle went behind early to a freak goal after a cross into the area was deflected past goalkeeper Luke McCormick by one of his own players. This time, Gary Miller was the unwitting contributor as Colin Daniel’s ball into the box clattered off him and looped into the goal.
Ryan Edwards’ then followed in the early-bath stud-marks of Antoni Sarcevic and Graham Carey when he was dismissed for a second bookable offence after Sonny Bradley had levelled for a rampant Argyle with his first goal of the season.
Argyle manager Derek Adams said: “There’s not much you can do when there’s a goal from a deflection in the first minute of the game and you get yourself back into it and go down to 10 men again for the third time at home.
“It feels like we’re getting punished all the time at this moment in time.”
Argyle responded to the early goal by moving Yann Songo’o from central defence into midfield, which gave them momentum that saw Sonny equalise just after half-time, and they retained the ascendency until Ryan was red-carded midway through the second half. Two late Blackpool goals then condemned the Pilgrims to a fifth defeat from seven matches this season.
Derek said: “Blackpool started the game very well and then we were able to grind ourselves into the game and we did that well.
“They got a lift after getting the early goal. After we went down 1-0, we had a lot of good play and put them under a bit of pressure. We changed things about a number of times just to see if we could get at them and we did.
“We had umpteen chances from corner-kicks which we should have scored more at. We needed to score and the amount of chances we had from corner-kicks was frightening, right on top of the goalkeeper; we just feel we should have done better with them.
“We are not taking the chances when they come along and we have seen. We have seen that from the stats – we are quite high in the division.
“Then we do get one, make it 1-1; then we get the sending off and it’s an uphill struggle after that.
“We have had a third sending-off in seven league games. We have played well in large spells in these games but you can’t have ten men on the pitch all the time, hoping to get a result.
“We just keep on shooting ourselves in the foot. The sendings-offs are really killing us at this moment in time. We have been able to play well but the players are getting frustrated when we’re getting a sending-off and they’re having to run even more, again, for the third game in a row. That’s hard because it’s a difficult league we’re in.
“The players have stuck at it but, when you go down to ten players, again, it becomes a hard thing. I have been there myself as a player and it becomes mentally draining – they feel they have got a bit of pressure; they were on top of the game; and it has just been taken away from them.”