MATCH REPORT: PLYMOUTH 4, STEVENAGE 2
Stevenage were made to rue their missed chances at Home Park on Saturday as despite a spirited showing from Darren Sarll’s men, Argyle came out on top 4-2 winners.
Matt Godden opened the scoring a couple of minutes in but the home side came back strong to take the lead midway through the first half.
Steve Schumacher’s free-kick levelled things up just before the break but despite having the better of the game for much of the second half, it was the Pilgrims that made their opportunities count.
The manager made two changes to last weekend’s win at home to Newport, bringing Luke Wilkinson in for Jack King whilst Rowan Liburd replaced recalled striker Tyler Walker.
It took only two minutes for Boro to get off to the perfect start. Schumacher’s free-kick towards the back post was headed back across goal by Wilkinson and Matt Godden was ready to pounce for his 11th league goal of the campaign.
Argyle then took the game to Stevenage and began moving the ball about with speed and intent.
The constantly dangerous Graham Carey forced Jones into a superb low stop after 15 minutes and Boro were made to defend wave after wave of attack throughout the majority of the first half.
Just as half-time was beginning to appear on the horizon, Plymouth equalised and then took the lead. Jordan Slew bundled the ball home from a corner before a fine finish from Jake Jervis punished a hesitant defence once again.
The response to seeing their lead relinquish was impressive. Pett forced McCormick into action from long range before Liburd with his head and Godden with his feet, came close to getting the telling touch from inside the six yard box.
Tom Pett began to drive the play forward and was rewarded with a free-kick after driving towards goal in the final moments of the half. Schumacher made no mistake from 30 yard, sending the ball past McCormick with a dipping strike that caught the keeper out.
Stevenage came out all guns blazing in the second half but were once again caught cold at the back.
Schumacher and Kennedy both had early efforts at goal but when a loose ball came out to Carey on the edge of the Stevenage box, he drove it towards goal, taking a deflection off Garita leaving Jones no chance.
Boro pushed forward for the remainder of the half, leaving themselves vulnerable to the counter attack but creating great opportunities to level the match.
The best of them came on 69 minutes as the newly introduced Ryan Loft was played through on goal after a clever dummy by Pett. He saw his shot well saved before the ball fell back to Pett who couldn’t hit the target on the follow up.
Slew could have wrapped the game up for the hosts from inside the six yard box but Boro kept on coming. Godden showed terrific instincts to volley on the turn with his back to goal, but his strike was straight into the hands of McCormick.
With only five minutes left in the game the best chance was yet to come. Pett rattled the crossbar from 18 yards before Matty Godden was spectacularly denied by McCormick on the rebound.
A goal the other way was always a possibility with so many men on the attack and so it happened deep into injury time. Stevenage will be wondering what might have been after creating so many opportunities in the second half.
Plymouth: McCormick,Threlkeld, Songo’o, Bradley, Purrington, Smith, Fox, Jervis (Tanner 76), Carey, Slew (Blissett 89), Garita (Goodwillie 72)
Subs not used: Sawyer, Bulvitis, Dorel, Sokolik
Stevenage: Jones, Henry, Franks, Wilkinson, Ntlhe (Tonge 63), Pett, Schumacher, Gorman, Kennedy (Lee 87), Liburd (Loft 63), Godden
Subs not used: Day, McAnuff, McKee, Cowans
Referee: John Busby