Blackpool 2 Argyle 2: Match report
ARGYLE suffered late heartache for the second time in three away games as Blackpool snatched an injury-time equalizer to undermine a towering – there, I said it – defensive display by the Pilgrims.
A quite remarkable goal from Graham Carey – even by his standards – in time added on to the end of the first half, after Ruben Lameiras had opened the scoring six minutes earlier, put the Pilgrims in control of affairs.
They were pegged back straight after the interval, when Colin Daniel fired the home side back into contention and held on to their slim lead all the way to the final minute of time added on, when substitute Viv Solomon-Otabor scored.
With the Pilgrims boasting two wins either side of Christmas Day going into their last match of a memorable year, Argyle manager Derek Adams saw no reason to change his outfield ten for a third game in eight day
There was one old/new name on the team sheet, however, and it was nominally, having last appeared for the Pilgrims in a 1-0 defeat at Portsmouth a month earlier that was painful for him in more ways than one.
He blotted a rather impressive copybook that had seen him keep four clean sheets in six previous games, four of which were won and another drawn, with a keeper blooper that led to Pompey’s only goal of the game. Later in the game, he was munched in a brave challenge with scorer Kal Naismith. Such was the coming together that Naismith still has not recovered.
Blackpool, like Pompey, another of the teams promoted with Argyle in 2017, came into the match without a win in their previous six Sky Bet League One matches and not having won at an always poorly attended Bloomfield Road since mid October.
Former Pilgrim Kelvin Mellor, who has scored 11 goals since departing Home Park in the summer of 2016, was included in their line-up which showed two changes to the starting side that had lost 3-2 at home to Scunthorpe United on Boxing Day; Andy Taylor and Jay Spearing came in for Jimmy Ryan and Nathan Delfouneso as the Seasiders switched to a 4-5-1, with Armand Gnanduillet the lone target man.
Matthews was eased back into the ranks, with Blackpool failing to test him until the first 15 minutes of an interesting, but uneventful, match had passed. Even then, Sean Longstaff’s long-range attempt was easy meat to the man from mustard country.
Blackpool had to rearrange midway through the first half when Taylor limped off. His replacement, Birmingham City loan player Solomon-Otabor immediately announced his return to the side after being left out of the Boxing Day squad for disciplinary reasons by firing a shot just wide of Matthews’ far post.
The home side’s game was built on a high press, designed to deny Argyle’s potentially influential midfielders time on the ball and it was not without a measure of success, if success can be measured by the paucity of shots with which home goalkeeper Ben Williams had to deal.
However, the Pilgrims have recently discovered a way of ‘getting there’ when faced with various situations, and they found their way past six minute before the interval.
Read the full match report here.