Saturday, June 06, 2009

Reserves v Bristol City 17/03/09

Argyle (4-4-2): 27 Lloyd Saxton; 2 David McNamee, 4 Simon Walton, 5 Krisztián Timár, 3 Damien McCrory; 7 Chris Clark, 6 Jim Paterson, 8 Luke Summerfield (capt), 11 Craig Noone; 9 Jermaine Easter, 10 Steve MacLean (14 George Donnelly 75)

Substitutes (not used): 12 Ryan Brett, 13 Dan Smith, 15 Yoann Folly, 23 Ollie Chenoweth.

Bristol City (4-4-2): 1 Stephen Henderson; 2 Jordan Walker (15 Daryn Hennessy 6), 5 Izzy Iriekpen (14 Robert Stambolsiev 76), 6 Joe Edwards, 3 James Wilson; 8 Frankie Artus, 7 Tristan Plumber, 4 Ashley Kingston, 11 Jennison Myrie-Williams; 9 Peter Styvar (12 Marlon Jackson 66), 10 Lee Trundle.

Substitutes (not used): 13 Tom Bradley.

Referee: Adam Hopkins

It's difficult to read much into a reserve game but Argyle utterly dominated the match in terms of possession and chances created. I don't know how strong the Turnip team was but it only included 2 names that I have ever heard (Trundle and Iriekpen ~ and I'm not sure it was the same one of those). The Turnips weren't helped when Jordan Walker went down and stayed down early on after an innocuous tussle with McCrory and had to be stretchered away.

Anyway the first chance fell to Argyle when we attacked the BPE goal. Patterson set Noone free with a lovely little left-footed pass, Noonie got foward and crossed perfectly for Easter to stroll in at the back post and head wide. He really should have scored. It was begging. Not long after more good work from Noone saw a mishit Clark shot fall to MaClean. Maclean had a defender up his exhaust pipe and laid the simplest of balls back to Easter who really couldn't, and didn't, miss. 1-0.

It was all Green ball really. McNamee fed Clarky down the other wing who put in a great cross that the Turnips did well to scramble clear.
The Turnips then managed a rare threat on goal and Ashley Kingston turned well in the box and fired hard and low at the right hand post. It was sneaking in but Saxton got down well and got a strong right hand to it and parried away for a corner. It was a good save and could easily have gone in.

We then had a free kick on the right edge of the box. Summers floated it across, Paterson headed across goal and MacLean at the back post misread it and got underneath the ball. He really should have done better but MacLean was getting involved well. Soon after there was good work by MacLean again in the box. It was almost a re-run of the goal and he laid back a perfect pass to Paterson. The loyal 150 or so were about to acclaim a goal but Paterson's sweet connection fired wide. He should have scored it really was begging. Again.

There was another wobble when a Walton, playing at CB, back pass bobbled as Saxton went to kick. He sliced it horribly and it went for a corner which the young goalie came and caught well. He wasn't busy but he really did look quite assured with all that he did.
There was still time for a couple more chances and Summerfield, who was tidy and moved the ball on quickly and unfussily throughout, overhit a free kick from a promising position luckily the ref played an advantage as MacLean got clattered and Noone's shot on the follow up was deflected away.

1-0 at half time.

McCrory got forward far more in the second half and linking well with Noone and McCrory won an early corner with a good over-lapping run but Summerfield overhit it, which to be honest was something of a theme, but he was to make amends later.

MacLean figured strongly throughout but his performance was an odd one. He did not seem overly bothered about the game at all. His body language isn't great at all and at one point he loudly and profanely expressed discontent after a dodgy ball to him from McCrory but on the plus side he set up Easter's goal and time and again turned beautifully to thread a ball to over-lapping wide players. Easter, by comparison despite his goal, was far less effective and had a frustrating time of it as the referee gave him nothing against his marker, the strapping Joe Edwards, and then penalised him for the softest of infringements.

One of those MacLean balls set Noone away and he crossed but crossed poorly which probably only increased Easter's frustration as he lurked hopefully in anticipation. Maclean and Easter then combined to set Noone up. Noone shot but shot weakly and the goalie saved easily low and to his left. The ball went for a corner which Noone this time cocked up. We used to be so good at taking corners...

Paterson who had sat centarally knitting things together nicely started to come forward now and showed no little verve and purpose on several occasions. McCrory and Paterson set Noone away and he put a great cross across the face of the goal. All it needed was a touch but everybody missed it.

Paterson followed that with another good, direct run which was crudely ended by their #15 (he was meant to be a goalie according to the team sheet so I don't know who he was) which resulted in the captain being called over and a stern warning, but no card, given. The free kick was in a great position slightly to the left and maybe 5 yards outside the box. MacLean got in the wall and peeled around the back as Summerfield shot low and hard with a hint of curl into the gap he left. The 'keeper Henderson stood no chance. Great goal. 2-0.

The foul on Paterson was the first iffy one in the match but Timar soon followed when he went through the back of one of theirs in a senseless and poor fashion. He could easily have been dismissed for it on another day and should have been booked. Another telling off from the ref but, again, no card. Timar was very, very lucky. At this point it's worth noting that Walton lasted the entire match as his partner looking calm and assured throughout and did nothing to suggest that his temper was not in control. In fact Trundle really didn't figure at all so you have to say Walton did well although I barely noticed him to be honest.

McCrory made another good run from left back and passed to Paterson who tried to set MacLean away but MacLean had wandered offside. Argyle's best move of the match came next. Loads of passes from defence through the midfield to Easter who fed Maclean. Maclean once again turned and set Clark away who crossed dangerously. Somehow it was scrambled away for a corner which Summers played short and then crossed to Timar at the back stick who really should have done better than he did.

It's not often you hear a player scream but the sparse reserve crowd were treated to a mighty holler from McCrory as Frankie Artus arrived late and a bit two-footed for a 60/40 ball and seemed to rake his studs up McCrory's back. McCrory was clearly unhappy and this could easily have been a red card too. I think the ref left his cards behind today but it was never a dirty game.

There was more good work from MacLean who crossed to Timar, who inexplicably was in the centre forward position, but Timar again headed poorly. At this stage Argyle were rampant, really, and doing much as they pleased ~ as far as that is possible in a game played at about 3/4 pace by everybody on both sides.

McNamee was quiet really but as the game wore on he got forward dangerously on several occasions too, then an excellent dummy by MacLean allowed Clark to cross but it was cleared.

With 15 minutes to go Donnelly came on for MacLean. MacLean again did himself no favours by heading off straight down the tunnel and despite being involved in nearly everything we did that threatened his attitude must be in question. I don't think there was even the customary handshake as he came off but I wouldn't swear to it as I may have been making a note at the time. Make no mistake his passing and contribution over all were excellent but he just, at times, looks like he doesn't give a toss. Maybe I'm being unfair but he really is a riddle wrapped in an enigma. I think there's a great player in there if we or he can get his head right.

Donnelly came on and looked like a dedicated chaser of lost causes. He looked direct, pacy and committed. Then again the game wasn't full-on pace-wise and given the circumstances his attitude was to be expected. In fact when Donnelly made his first touch he was crunched by Ashley Kingston. Welcome to the pros, George.

That was about it apart from a late turn by Trundle who fired at Saxton who saved, fumbled and recovered easily and for Noone to set Paterson away with a back hell, Paterson then crossed to Easter who missed yet again.

Everybody did well today really with Easter looking like the weakest link. The goal apart he really contributed very little. The youngsters McCrory and Saxton on a rare chance to play with the big boys did not look out of place at all. The pairings of Noone/McCrory, Clark/McNamee, Walton/Timar, Summerfield/Paterson all looked good in their slots.
MacLean and Easter? The scoreline says it all really. It was all Argyle and ended up only 2-0. It might have been 10.

How good were the Turnips? Poor, if truth be told. Totally out-classed.

Any hoof? I can't remember a single hoof up the field in all of the match.

MotM? Could be any of Noone, McCrory, MacLean or Paterson. I'll opt for Paterson who was excellent throughout and despite being so incredibly one footed that it's embarrassing used the ball well, showed great judgement and was a genuine attacking threat when he came forward.


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