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Kick off 15:00 (UK)

2-1
29 December 2019 Venue Home Park Attendance

Kick off 15:00 (UK)

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English Football League - League Two

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Match Previews

Scouting Report: Plymouth Argyle

28 December 2019

Ahead of Sunday’s away trip to Plymouth Argyle this weekend, we take a closer look at our opponents…

  • The Basics…

Located in Devon, South West of England, Plymouth Argyle returned to Sky Bet League Two after finishing level points with Wimbledon on 50 and were relegated on goal difference as three goals separated them and their nearest rivals.

It was a short stay for the Pilgrims in the league above after they gained promotion in 2017, on the wrong side of goal difference as Portsmouth were crowed League Two champions with both teams finishing on 87 points.

The club are no strangers to the Football League having not been relegated from England’s top four major leagues since being promoted in the 1920s. Since then, Argyle have won nine promotions throughout the leagues, but have never played in the top division with their highest finish coming in 2008 - under manager Paul Sturrock, the team finished 10th in the Championship.

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  • Latest Form…

The Pilgrims started the season as favourites to be crowed champions come the end of the season, with two opening wins against their promotion rivals Crewe Alexandra (3-0) and at home to Colchester (1-0). However, the team dropped crucial points in September – picking up just one win in five games and a month later, they were left humiliated in a 4-0 loss in the Devon Derby away at Exeter, and are now eleven points behind 1st place Swindon Town.

They do boast one of the best home records in the league with just one defeat in ten games played at Home Park, losing 2-0 to another promotion candidate Cheltenham Town. Plymouth did get revenge on The Robins on Boxing Day when Rangers loanee Zak Rudden scored the only goal of the game in the first-half.

  • Star Man…

Plymouth’s number 7, Antoni Sarcevic, has been an influential figure in central midfield with his attacking runs and eye for a goal, and is currently the club’s top goalscorer this season with five goals in the league. The 27-year-old is now into his fourth season at Home Park having signed from Shrewsbury in January 2017 and can draw on past experiences of gaining promotion from League Two with Fleetwood in 2014 – when they defeated Burton Albion 1-0 in the Play-Off Final as Sarcevic scored 13 goals in all competitions.

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Born in Manchester, the midfielder started his career at the blue side of the City and went onto to play for Crewe, Chester and Fleetwood.

  • The Gaffer…

Ryan Lowe was appointed Manager at the start of the season after Derek Adams was dismissed of his duties following relegation. Lowe, who was an ex-player as Gigg Lane, guided Bury to their tremendous promotion to League One after finishing 2nd in the league below last campaign; was named Manager of the Month on three occasions which caught the eye of many teams perusing his signature.

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The 41-year-old scored over 150 goals in his playing career which the former striker enjoyed various promotions with Sheffield Wednesday from League One in 2012, Bury from League Two in 2011 and 2015 along with Shrewsbury Town from the Conference National in 2004. Lowe has also played for Chester City, Crewe, MK Dons and Tranmere before finishing his career back at Gigg Lane.

Journalist view with Chris Errington, Chief Editor of Plymouth Live…

  • How do you assess Plymouth’s first half of their League Two season so far?

“Argyle won their first two league games of the season under new manager Ryan Lowe, which raised expectations of a promotion push. However, defensive mistakes and inconsistent performances saw them struggle in September and October.

The low point was a 4-0 Devon Derby hammering by Exeter City at St James Park on October 26.

Since then, there has been a significant upturn in results. Defensively they have tightened up considerably and they are on a run of four wins in their last five league games, up to and including their 1-0 victory at Cheltenham Town on Boxing Day.”

  • What is the expectation this season for Argyle?

“To secure an immediate return to League One after their relegation. Automatic promotion would obviously be preferable, so they need to continue with the sort of form they have shown over the past couple of months.”

  • Who is the star player this season?

“Danny Mayor and George Cooper, who is on loan from Peterborough United, are both talented attacking players but the real driving force for Argyle this season has been midfielder Antoni Sarcevic, whose strong running displays from central midfield have made him a threat to opposition defences. He is the Pilgrims' top scorer with six goals in all competitions - two of them from the penalty spot.”

  • Any team news going into the game?

“Left wing-back Callum McFadzean (knee) and central defender Will Aimson (pelvic problem) have been out of action recently and are not likely to feature against Stevenage. Ryan Lowe will almost certainly choose from the same squad as for the win at Cheltenham.”

  • Prediction and goalscorers?

“I am not one for making score predictions. League Two is so unpredictable it can make a fool out of anyone who tries to. My prediction is that Stevenage will work very hard to frustrate Argyle and try to catch them on the break and score from set pieces. Ben Kennedy is someone who I have always rated.”

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Match Reports

REPORT: Plymouth Argyle 2-1 Stevenage

29 December 2019

Good riddance 2019.

Stevenage ended the decade with a 2-1 defeat in Devon, after a heart-breaking 95th Plymouth equaliser.  

Graham Westley made just the one change in his second game in charge since being reappointed Stevenage Manger a fortnight ago. Craig Mackail-Smith came in to the starting eleven in place of Charlie Carter, who missed out through injury. Arthur Iontton was called up to the substitutes bench to complete the eighteen.

Stevenage got off to a good start in Devon, with Jason Cowley leading the line and Craig Mackail-Smith and Elliott List on either wing. A goalmouth scramble almost got Graham Westley’s side off to a flyer, when the ball fell to the ferocious Jason Cowley, but could only fire his effort straight at Alex Palmer in the Plymouth goal.

A minute later, and Plymouth went close themselves. Star man Antoni Sarcevic tried his luck from 20 yards at Paul Farman’s goal, only for his effort to be deflected just wide of the post.

Ten minutes later, and Stevenage had their best chance of the half. A long goal kick upfield from Paul Farman was won well by the head of Jason Cowley, who knocked it down for Elliott List. The pace and dribbling ability of list would continue to cause problems for the Plymouth backline, and in this instance almost gave Stevenage the lead. List beat his man before firing a goal with his left foot, but could not beat Palmer at his near post.

There were then chances for Paul Digby and Danny Mayor at either end of the pitch, but is was a touch of fortune that gave the hosts the lead.

A sweeping cross field ball from Niall Canavan found Byron Moore in space driving forward from right back, who Tyler Denton seemed to be equal with the whole way. But, Moore’s cross took a mean deflection off the Stevenage left back, and the ball looped over Paul Farman and into the net. Stevenage were behind in such an undeserved manner.

After the opener, the remainder of the first half was mostly Plymouth. George Cooper’s free-kick was saved well by Paul Farman, before Scott Cuthbert’s block almost resulted in a second own goal of the game.

There were minor appeals for a penalty after Elliott List went down in the Plymouth box, but the referee disagreed as the half came to an end.

The second half started much how the first ended. Joe Edwards was found on the edge of the Plymouth box, and came just inches from doubling the hosts’ advantage as the ball rolled wide of Farman’s goal.

But, a slice Ben Kennedy magic almost gave Stevenage the all important equaliser. Boro’s number ten slipped into the gap of Plymouth’s defence and midfield, and curled a left-footed strike towards goal. The away contingent were almost already celebrating, as the ball fell agonisingly wide of the far post.

Stevenage did not, however, have to wait much longer for that leveller. Ben Nugent decided to do his best Andrea Pirlo impression, with an inch perfect cross field ping towards the feet of Elliott List. The forward took the ball down impeccably, before taking on his defender and driving towards goal. List’s right footed strike found the net at the back post, before the Stevenage players went over to celebrate with the goal scorer and provider. Graham Westley’s side were deservedly level.

After the goal, Plymouth expectedly pressed to regain their advantage immediately. Substitute Dominic Telford’s effort took a deflection towards Paul Farman’s goal, but this time the Boro stopper to collect the ball easily.

As the game entered the final ten minutes, there were half-chances for either side. Tyler Denton tried his luck from the corner of the box with a low drilled effort, but could only drag his effort wide. Antoni had the chance for a volley inside the Stevenage box, but could only fire his effort over Paul Farman’s crossbar.

Michael Timlin and Emmanuel Sonupe were introduced as Graham Westley felt the need for some fresh legs as the game headed towards its end.

Dean Parrett almost played in Emmanuel Sonupe with five minutes to play with a cheeky chip over the Plymouth defence, but Alex Palmer did well to come off his line early and collect.

It was almost the perfect ending to a perfect performance for Stevenage, as Michael Timlin’s effort took a wicked deflection and ended up in the Plymouth net. It would have been perfect, but for the referee to have blown his whistle in the build up.

But, as was the case last season, Plymouth do not give up in their search for a winner. Conor Grant’s cross was flicked on by Joel Grant, to find Niall Canavan at the back post who put the ball in. Heartbreak for Stevenage.

A fantastic team performance which was nowhere near justifiable of the score line, bring on 2020.

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Ticket News

Tickets & Travel: Plymouth Argyle

27 December 2019

Stevenage travel to Plymouth Argyle on Sunday 29th December for a 3pm kick-off in Sky Bet League Two...

Advance tickets are available from borotickets.co.uk or the Stevenage FC Club Shop until 4pm on Monday 23rd December 2019 at the following prices:

  • Adults: £23
  • Concessions: £18
  • Under 18s: £9
  • Under 12s: £6
  • Under 8s: £3

Wheelchair Adult tickets cost £18, Wheelchair Concession tickets cost £14 and Wheelchair U18 tickets cost £3. Concessions are Over 65s and Under 23s. ID is required upon entry to Home Park.

Tickets are also available from the ground on the day of the game at the same price.

Travel…

The Stevenage FC Supporters Association coach will be departing The Lamex Stadium at 8am on the day of the game, so please arrive with time to spare in order to confirm a scheduled departure. Tickets cost £25 for SA members and £30 for non-members.

To book a seat, please call John Carroll on 01438 814285 after 6pm or visit www.sfcsa.co.uk/home/travel and book online.

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