A POOR pitch matched by some equally poor decisions proved the frustrating backdrop to Argyle’s 2-1 defeat at Bradford City in Sky Bet League Two on Saturday.
The Valley Parade quagmire survived two pitch inspections before being deemed playable by referee Carl Boyeson and the Bantams were quickest to adapt, scoring the opener with a set-piece header from Ben Richards-Everton.
Boyeson then intervened to show Argyle skipper Gary Sawyer a very harsh red card and Dylan Connolly doubled the home lead with a sublime free-kick.
The officials’ hat-trick was complete when Antoni Sarcevic was dismissed in a painfully soft decision, but Argyle still battled brilliantly with nine men, reduced the arrears through Ryan Hardie and could have possibly claimed an incredible draw in the end.
“The game was lost in the first half but what an unbelievable tremendous effort the lads gave us in the second half,” said Argyle manager Ryan Lowe.
“It was different class, what we wanted. In the first few minutes, when we haven’t picked up from a corner, has cost us, because the second goal is a worldie.
“The sending-off set us back again and then the other sending-off, but it was nowhere near a football match today. The pitch was a disgrace, we couldn’t play our football, we still tried in parts but a certain individual didn’t help.
“What I’ve got to take out of it is what the lads did in the second half. They showed tremendous character and effort to get back in it, and I felt if there were another five or ten minutes, we would’ve probably equalised because the intensity was brilliant, even though we had nine men on the pitch.
“A lot of credit has to go to our lads for the second half because they went out and performed. We do it for the fans, for this football club, for everyone associated and those that came here today.
“They will always do it in terms of a footballing way and they showed a fight and desire today, but there was one individual, and we felt hard done by in certain situations. What a game it would have been if we’d played another five minutes and got an equaliser.”