REPORT | ARGYLE 1 WYCOMBE WANDERERS 0
Wycombe Wanderers 0
On a night when the football world joined together to remember the legend Pele, we thank-you for gracing Home Park in your wonderful career and for making the beautiful game truly beautiful.
Rest in Peace, King Pele.
A sold-out Home Park applauded in unison to honour the great man before a solitary first-half goal from Dan Scarr ensured Argyle entered the new year as leaders of Sky Bet League One.
Argyle boss Steven Schumacher made four changes from the Boxing Day win at Cheltenham. Jordan Houghton, James Wilson, Ryan Hardie and Sam Cosgrove came in for Matt Butcher, Joe Edwards, Niall Ennis and Bali Mumba. James Bolton was on the Pilgrim bench after nine months out with injury.
A clipped cross from Hardie presented the first opening, Cosgrove glancing narrowly over, quickly followed by a superb volleyed pass from Morgan Whittaker to Hardie, who cut inside a for a left-foot shot fired wide.
A delicious pass from Adam Randell created the next opportunity, floating the ball from left to right for Cosgrove to take a touch and spear a low 20-yard drive inches wide of the near post.
Wycombe had their first glimpse in a tight start to the game with a free-kick from the left headed over by Ryan Tafazolli on 24 minutes. A corner was then glanced over by Ali Al-Hamadi after some loose Argyle marking at the near post.
Set-pieces have not been a great source of goals for Argyle but Scarr remedied that with the winner on 33 minutes, volleying home from close range after a terrific whipped delivery by Randell.
The Pilgrims closed out an efficient first period with Mike Cooper barely tested by the Wycombe attack, one offering a rising drive from Joe Jacobson comfortably held by the Argyle custodian.
Hardie restarted the game with a drift inside from the left and a curling effort beyond the far post, followed by a corner skewed wide from the head of James Wilson. Wycombe replied with a couple of dangerous crosses, the second of which was cleared under pressure by Scarr.
An accurate long ball from Nigel Lonwijk then found Hardie, who controlled the ball superbly before scuttling a left-foot effort that hit the post with Wycombe ‘keeper Max Stryjek rooted to the spot. A sumptuous pass from Danny Mayor next released Hardie for a sliding effort held by Stryjek.
Ennis for Cosgrove was the first Pilgrim change, while Wycombe made three substitutions in a bid to find an equaliser, but Argyle had the next big chance, Hardie pouncing on a loose touch for a dinked effort charged down by Stryjek.
One of the Wycombe introductions, Sam Vokes, found space for a left-foot strike dragged wide from the edge of the box. Argyle responded with a deep corner that just evaded the run of Macaulay Gillesphey.
An incredible block from Wilson thwarted Anis Mehmeti in a dangerous surge from the visitors before Vokes flashed a shot on the turn narrowly wide.
Butcher for Mayor gave Argyle some fresh legs in the closing stages but Wycombe were turning the screw, Jordan Houghton bravely blocking an effort from Mehmeti. Bolton replaced Whittaker three minutes from time.
Argyle withstood the onslaught to end a brilliant 2022 top of the pile.
Happy New Year.
Argyle: 1 Mike Cooper; 3 Macaulay Gillesphey, 4 Jordan Houghton, 5 James Wilson (capt), 6 Dan Scarr, 9 Ryan Hardie, 10 Danny Mayor (7 Matt Butcher 83), 16 Sam Cosgrove (11 Niall Ennis 66), 19 Morgan Whittaker (2 James Bolton 87), 20 Adam Randell, 21 Nigel Lonwijk. Substitutes (not used): 25 Callum Burton (gk), 8 Joe Edwards, 17 Bali Mumba, 48 Freddie Issaka.
Booked: Lonwijk 24
Wycombe: 1 Max Stryjek; 3 Joe Jacobson, 5 Chris Forino, 6 Ryan Tafazolli, 8 Curtis Thompson, 16 Sullay Kaikai (7 David Wheeler 76), 17 Daryl Horgan (11 Anis Mehmeti 71), 18 Brandon Hanlon (9 Sam Vokes 71), 22 Nick Freeman, 25 Ali Al-Hamadi (29 Tjay De Barr 71), 26 Jason McCarthy (2 Jack Grimmer 82). Substitutes (not used): 13 Tyla Dickinson (gk), 19 Jack Wakely.
Booked: Forino 28, Thompson 79
Attendance: 15, 729 (427 away)
Referee: Carl Brook