Match Preview | Wycombe Wanderers v Argyle
Wycombe Wanderers 0
Cosgrove pen 8
There are many ways to win a football match and the latest rung in Argyle’s table-topping ladder was all about professional poise and defensive discipline.
An early penalty from Sam Cosgrove proved enough at a sunny Wycombe Wanderers, as the Greens weathered an aerial storm for long periods of the first half and then kept their hosts at bay with controlled possession play after the break.
Argyle manager Steven Schumacher made four changes from the side that came from behind to beat Ipswich last weekend. Jordan Houghton, Finn Azaz, Cosgrove and Brendan Galloway came in for Joe Edwards, Danny Mayor, Bali Mumba and Niall Ennis. Apprentice Kieran Edworthy, son of former Pilgrim Marc, was on the bench.
Dan Scarr introduced himself to the game with a tremendous block on Daryl Horgan and the Pilgrims responded with a corner flicked on by James Wilson, but Nigel Lonwijk’s shot was charged down.
Moments later, the Greens were in front. Horgan tripped Cosgrove for a penalty and the big striker gladly took responsibility for the spot-kick, calmly sending home goalkeeper Max Stryyjek the wrong way for an ideal start.
Argyle continued to press forward, Morgan Whittaker firing over following good work from Adam Randell and Cosgrove. Wycombe responded with a spell of pressure, culminating in a sharp header from Chris Forino but Mike Cooper produced another brilliant save for his growing scrapbook.
Sam Vokes then headed over from a great position and Argyle were forced to further demonstrate their defensive prowess around the half-hour, stoically resisting an aerial bombardment from corners and throw-ins by a Wycombe side trying to unlock the Green door.
When the Chairboys did manufacture a chance, Vokes nodded down for Anis Mehmeti but, for a second time, the hosts were denied by an extraordinary reflex save by Cooper.
Outstanding defending from Lonwijk repelled Mehmeti on his latest twisting foray in the left channel. Galloway was next in line for the rearguard action, keeping his eye on the ball to block a shot by Nick Freeman.
The half ended with Cooper shielding his eyes from the sun before pouncing on a flicked header from Vokes after another launched throw-in, drawing down the curtain on a satisfactory, if occasionally stressful, opening 45 minutes.
A super surge from Whittaker earned Argyle a free-kick 22 yards from goal within seconds of the restart. Randell’s effort deflected off the wall and a couple more corners represented a positive opening to the second period.
Any home hopes of a whirlwind after the break were quashed by some controlled Pilgrim play, although Vokes did hook a scruffy effort well wide from a looping cross. The Greens came back with a Randell corner nodded just past the post by Scarr.
Whittaker won another free-kick on the edge of the box and this time had a go himself, forcing Stryyjek into a decent low save from the curling shot. Matt Butcher then had a pop from wide on the left that dipped narrowly over.
Territorially, the Greens were in control of the game, pinning Wycombe back and frustrating the home side for long spells. Mayor replaced Azaz with the instructions to continue that theme.
A brilliant backheel from Mayor soon created room for a Galloway cross that rebounded to Butcher, who fired on target from seven yards but credit to Alfie Mawson for a terrific goal-line block.
Wanderers had four new faces on the pitch for the final 10 minutes but there was a reassuring composure about the Greens, keeping the ball in midfield and aggressive in their press when Wycombe had possession.
A sweeping pass from Houghton picked out Mayor for a chance to kill the game, as he jinked inside two defenders before firing inches over. Whittaker was then withdrawn for Conor Grant.
Despite a flurry of late corners for the hosts, it was job done and a long-awaited Argyle victory at Adams Park was both welcome and warranted.
Wycombe: 1 Max Stryyjek; 5 Chris Forino (2 Jack Grimmer 80), 9 Sam Vokes, 10 Lewis Wing, 11 Anis Mehmeti, 12 Garath McCleary (16 Sullay Kaikai 82), 17 Daryl Horgan (24 Adam Leathers 71), 20 Alfie Mawson, 22 Nick Freeman (25 Ali Al-Hamadi 82), 23 Jordan Obita, 26 Jason McCarthy. Substitutes (not used): 13 Tyla Dickinson (gk), 3 Joe Jacobson, 31 Jasper Pattenden.
Booked: Obita 77
Argyle: 1 Mike Cooper; 4 Jordan Houghton, 5 James Wilson (capt), 6 Dan Scarr, 7 Matt Butcher, 16 Sam Cosgrove, 18 Finn Azaz (10 Danny Mayor 71), 19 Morgan Whittaker (15 Conor Grant 86), 20 Adam Randell, 21 Nigel Lonwijk, 22 Brendan Galloway. Substitutes (not used): 25 Callum Burton (gk), 8 Joe Edwards, 9 Ryan Hardie, 17 Bali Mumba, 46 Kieran Edworthy.
Booked: Scarr 44
Attendance: 5,869 (1,200 away)
Referee: John Busby