REPORT | BURTON ALBION 2 ARGYLE 2
Burton Albion 2
Hardie pen 64
Argyle were denied all three points at Burton Albion by a last-minute header from Adrian Mariappa after what had been a superb second-half recovery from the Greens.
Burton edged a scrappy first period with a Bobby Kamwa strike on 41 minutes but the introduction of Niall Ennis and Ryan Hardie pumped some extra energy into the Greens after the break.
Hardie levelled the scores with a penalty after a foul on Ennis and the game was seemingly won by a super strike at top speed from Bali Mumba, finding the top corner on 73 minutes. Victory was seconds away when Mariappa rose highest to earn his side a dramatic draw.
Argyle manager Steven Schumacher made three changes from the 1-1 draw at Lincoln last weekend. Sam Cosgrove, Macaulay Gillesphey and Matt Butcher came in for Ennis, Hardie and James Wilson. Mickel Miller was named on the bench for the first time since his injury in pre-season.
The opening quarter was a scrappy affair, with both sides toiling hard to assert a semblance of control in midfield. A deep cross from Morgan Whittaker almost picked out Cosgrove in Argyle’s best move of the opening exchanges.
Burton won a spate of corners, all defended well by the Pilgrims, before a decent strike from Joe Dodoo whistled over Mike Cooper’s crossbar. The Argyle custodian then safely gobbled up a header from Mariappa.
While the Greens were unable to sustain a genuine pattern in attacking areas, the home side were growing in confidence and a super strike from Victor Adeboyejo forced the best from Cooper, diving low to his lead.
The Brewers grabbed the lead five minutes from half time. A long throw by Tom Hamer caused some mayhem in the Argyle box, Cooper saved the initial effort from Kamwa but his rebound was lashed into the roof of the net.
Argyle emerged from the break with more zest and tempo in their play, Whittaker and Galloway both came close to finding their range from decent crossing positions. Schumacher turned to his bench, withdrawing Butcher and Cosgrove for Hardie and Ennis.
The Pilgrims were penning Burton in their own half, with Ennis immediately firing off two attempts charged down by the home defence. The Brewers released the pressure with a fizzing low drive from Tyler Onyango that was directed wide of the near post.
The action soon returned to the other end, Whittaker threading a delightful reverse pass into the channel for Hardie, who then cut it back for the run of Ennis and he was tripped by Hamer as he attempted to turn in the box.
It was a definite penalty and Hardie calmly sent Ben Garratt the wrong way to maintain Argyle’s amazing record of scoring in every league game this season.
The Green Army were now in full voice and the movement of Ennis and Hardie was pulling the Burton defence into uncomfortable positions, although they were still a threat on the break, Dodoo’s floated cross forcing Cooper into a palmed clearance while backpedalling.
Argyle were turning the screw, with captain Joe Edwards picking up on a loose clearance for a rising drive held by Garratt. An acrobatic clearance from Sam Hughes prevented Hardie from reaching another clever ball over the top from Whittaker.
Dodoo, however, remained a problem, spearing a low drive into the side-netting but the Greens were soon celebrating again. Ennis slipped a lovely pass inside the left channel and Mumba took the ball in his stride before guiding a lovely left-foot finish into the top corner.
The Brewers made a triple change in an attempt to change the momentum of the game and a decent cross from Cameron Borthwick-Jackson was expertly defended at the far post by Galloway.
Miller was introduced for his debut in place of Mumba for the final ten minutes and great to see him finally get a chance after a rotten run of injury frustration over the past few months.
Argyle defended stoutly through six minutes of stoppage time but one final ball into the box was recycled for Mariappa to nod past Cooper and pinch a point for Burton.
Burton: 1 Ben Garratt; 3 Cameron Borthwick-Jackson, 4 Deji Oshilaja (capt), 5 Sam Hughes, 8 Adrian Mariappa, 12 Tyler Onyango (21 Mustapha Carayol 77), 14 Victor Adeboyejo, 23 Terry Taylor. 37 Tom Hamer, 39 Bobby Kamwa (9 Sam Winnall 77), (7 Joe Powell 77). Substitutes (not used): 24 Vujami Sinisalo (gk), 7 Joe Powell, 11 Jonny Smith, 25 Ciaran Gilligan, 38 Michael Mancienne.
Booked: Oshilaja 17, Onyango 62, Hamer 63, Winnall 85
Argyle: 1 Mike Cooper; 3 Macaulay Gillesphey, 4 Jordan Houghton, 7 Matt Butcher (11 Niall Ennis 55), 8 Joe Edwards (capt), 16 Sam Cosgrove (9 Ryan Hardie 55), 17 Bali Mumba (14 Mickel Miller 84), 19 Morgan Whittaker (36 Finley Craske 90), 20 Adam Randell, 21 Nigel Lonwijk, 22 Brendan Galloway. Substitutes (not used): 25 Callum Burton (gk), 37 Brandon Pursall, 44 Will Jenkins Davies.
Booked: Lonwijk 25
Attendance: 3,986 (1,700 away)
Referee: Martin Woods