AN attacking masterclass from Argyle spearheaded a sensational 4-2 win over AFC Wimbledon, as Derek Adams’ side maintained their superb form in style.
A bumper midweek attendance at the Theatre of Greens witnessed an evening of entertainment they will never forget – and one that could never be done justice through one humble article. Six goals, three disallowed goals, a missed penalty and much more were packed into 90 minutes, with the Pilgrims eventually getting the better of things thanks to their attacking prowess.
Graham Carey’s non-stop energy and pressure in the game’s opening throes bore fruit in the 16th minute, as he closed down Callum Kennedy’s clearance, controlled calmly and slotted home. The lead was relinquished 21 minutes later through Lyle Taylor’s equaliser, but Argyle surged ahead again just three minutes later, thanks a thunderbolt from David Fox.
A Fox free-kick was then saved and fell to Ryan Taylor, and it was 3-1 before the interval, with the visitors constantly struggling to keep Derek’s team at bay.
“I was delighted tonight,” said Adams. “I thought we started the game and started on the front foot. We got a foothold in the game very early, and got off to a great start with Graham scoring that first goal. It gave us the platform to go forward and play. We lost a poor goal, and they were able to get themselves back in it.
“Fox gets a goal as well with a tremendous strike. I’m just delighted he hit the target! He hasn’t the target many times this season, but he’s certainly hit it tonight. He hit it right in the top corner. He did well with the free kick. He hit it through the wall; the goalkeeper made a good save, but Ryan Taylor was there to pounce and finish it off.”
Uncharacteristic defensive errors threatened to nullify Argyle’s potency going forward in the second half, as Taylor capitalised on an error to make it 3-2. However, the Greens refused to go quietly into the night, and re-established a two-goal lead, with Ruben Lameiras working himself some space, keeping his cool and rounding the goalkeeper for 4-2 on 67 minutes. The usual defensive resilience returned from there, highlighted by Remi Matthews – whose debut for Argyle came in the reverse fixture of this game – preventing Taylor from completing his hat-trick by saving his penalty kick.
“We let Wimbledon back in the game to make it 3-2,” said Adams, “when we make a terrible error on our 18-yard box. We didn’t need to make it and we did, and we allowed them the opportunity to get back in the game. We had two opportunities to clear the ball; it was in our possession twice with two separate players, and we could’ve cleared the goal-scoring opportunity for them.
“To save [the penalty] was very important. It allowed us to have that two-goal cushion. He’s a goalkeeper that plays on the front foot, and he’s made some really good saves since he’s come here.”
Argyle’s second four-goal haul of the Sky Bet League One season reiterates how the side’s run of one defeat in 14 games has seen them evolve into a strong team in all areas. After rediscovering their defensive stability, the Pilgrims now have a goal-scoring threat from multiple areas, thanks to bundles of energy and creativity.
“I thought we were playing ever so well at times,” said Derek, “and passing the ball well. Everybody had good games. Maybe just at the start of the second half, we could have been a little better for a ten-minute spell. We didn’t play with the tempo that we did in the first.
"They’ve shown the hunger and desire – and I think that Carey started it off, because his running power for the first 20 minutes was unbelievable. He was going to cause them all sorts of trouble. Ryan Taylor again; Lameiras again; Carey; so that’s the front three scoring goals as well. We had Ness scoring the other week; we had Sarcevic scoring the week before; getting the goals from the way we are from all around the team is helping us.”