REPORT | ARGYLE 2 SHEFFIELD WEDNESDAY 1
Sheffield Wednesday 1
Sam Cosgrove emerged from the Argyle bench to head in a dramatic late winner and send Home Park wild with joy.
Ryan Hardie had given the Greens a perfect start with a lovely strike on just three minutes but Sheffield Wednesday swiftly replied through Liam Palmer.
Both sides conjured a number of terrific chances in a fine game between two top sides but Cosgrove was the man to seize his moment.
Argyle manager Steven Schumacher made three changes from the weekend win at Wycombe, with Joe Edwards, Bali Mumba and Hardie all returning to replace Brendan Galloway, Cosgrove and Jordan Houghton.
A solitary goal from Will Vaulks was enough to give Wednesday all three points at Port Vale on Saturday but he was soon retreating, as a Hardie strike was deflected wide.
Moments later, Argyle were in front and it was a fabulous goal. Finn Azaz whipped a wonderful ball behind the Wednesday defence for Hardie to run into the left channel. He took the shot early from 18 yards, arrowed across former Pilgrim David Stockdale and inside the far post.
The Owls were level within four minutes. Tyreeq Bakinson, another former Green, threaded a pass through the middle and Palmer swooped into the gap, steering a low finish past an exposed Mike Cooper.
Argyle recovered quickly to resume control of the territorial battle without genuinely troubling Stockdale and Wednesday threatened with a Josh Windass free-kick shaving the crossbar. A quick throw from Barry Bannan then released Windass for a near-post half-volley, brilliantly tipped on to the post by Cooper.
The Owls were enjoying a decent spell, Dan Scarr nicely judging an awkward clearance from a Palmer cross before Bannan expertly crafted room for Vaulks to meet a shot on the edge of the area, but he thankfully fired wide.
The growing influence of Azaz helped wrestle back some Pilgrim momentum and it was his shot from 20 yards that deflected into the path of Hardie for a shot charged down by Michael Ihiekwe.
A Morgan Whittaker special from distance brought out the best of Stockdale at full stretch before a shot on the turn sliced wide by Hardie closed the book on a frantic first half.
After a bright restart from Argyle, Michael Smith pounced on a loose ball but swept a low straight down the middle for Cooper to safely gather, quickly followed by a terrific covering tackle by James Wilson on Windass.
The same Owl then picked up a chance on right edge of the area and fizzed a super low strike that rebounded off the inside of the post. The ball ricocheted off Cooper but he reacted instantly, shovelling the ball away from a lurking Bannan.
Schumacher opted for a couple of changes to restore calm, Houghton and Galloway replacing Matt Butcher and Nigel Lonwijk.
Marvin Johnson found some space down the left for a rising drive palmed over by Cooper, as the Greens turned to their bench once again, Cosgrove and Niall Ennis coming on for Hardie and Azaz.
Ennis swiftly got involved, guiding a clever reverse pass to Bali Mumba, who used his low centre of gravity to twist past Dominic Iorfa and a rifle a low shot that was fielded confidently at the near post by Stockdale.
The Owls responded with a scuttling low cross from Johnson and Smith stabbed the ball toward the far corner but Cooper, once again, dealt with the problem superbly to turn it wide.
Argyle immediately broke up the other end, Ennis bursting down the left, swapping passes with Mumba, and then swivelling for a fierce drive saved by the legs of Stockdale. Whittaker then flashed a decent effort narrowly wide.
Conor Grant replaced Mumba for the closing stages, as Argyle set up camp in the Wednesday half. Grant floated a deep cross with three minutes remaining, Cosgrove nodded down and beyond Stockdale’s right hand but Ihiekwe scooped the ball clear with every Pilgrim in attendance insistent the ball had crossed the line.
Referee Andy Davies attracted further home consternation when he waved away penalty appeals after a tug on Cosgrove.
The frustration turned to overwhelming delight in the first minute of stoppage time. Ennis stood up a cross from the left byline and Cosgrove flexed his neck muscles in generating sufficient power to plant his downward header inside the near post.
Argyle stay top of the pile.
Argyle: 1 Mike Cooper; 5 James Wilson, 6 Dan Scarr, 21 Nigel Lonwijk (22 Brendan Galloway 58); 8 Joe Edwards (capt), 20 Adam Randell, 7 Matt Butcher (4 Jordan Houghton 58), 17 Bali Mumba (15 Conor Grant 84); 18 Finn Azaz (11 Niall Ennis 66), 9 Ryan Hardie (16 Sam Cosgrove 66), 19 Morgan Whittaker. Substitutes (not used): 25 Callum Burton (gk), 44 Will Jenkins Davies.
Booked: Edwards 41, Lonwijk 50
Sheffield Wednesday: 31 David Stockdale; 2 Liam Palmer, 4 Will Vaulks, 5 Ben Heneghan, 10 Barry Bannan (capt) (17 Fiyaso Dele-Bashiru, 74), 11 Josh Windass (13 Callum Paterson 74), 18 Marvin Johnson, 19 Tyreeq Bakinson (9 Lee Gregory 90), 20 Michael Ihiekwe, 24 Michael Smith, 33 Reece James (6 Dominic Iorfa H-T). Substitutes (not used): 25 Cameron Dawson (gk), 32 Jack Hunt, 45 Alex Mighten.
Attendance: 16,381 (1,481 away)
Referee: Andy Davies