1-1 draw keeps Town's unbeaten run
Plymouth Argyle: Kyle Letheren, Gary Sawyer, Yann Songo’o, Ryan Edwards, Antoni Sarcevic (Jake Jervis 44), Graham Carey, Joel Grant (Nathan Blissett 85), Aaron Taylor-Sinclair, David Fox, Alex Fletcher, Toumani Diagouraga
Subs: Ruben Lameiras, Nathan Blissett, Jake Jervis, Sonny Bradley, Jakub Sokolik, Gregg Wylde, Michael Cooper
Town: Dean Henderson, Ben Godfrey (Alex Rodman 63), Mat Sadler, Shaun Whalley, Abu Ogogo, Arthur Gnahoua (Carlton Morris 63) , Junior Brown, James Bolton, Jon Nolan, Aristote Nsiala, Stefan Payne (Lenell John-Lewis 90)
Subs: Craig MacGillivray, Omar Beckles, Carlton Morris, Louis Dodds, Lenell John-Lewis, Bryn Morris, Alex Rodman
Assistants: Matt Eva and Simon Knapp
Fourth Official: Scott Jackson
Attendance: 8,280 (452)
Shrewsbury Town made it 13 games unbeaten in League One thanks to a 1-1 draw with Plymouth Argyle. Argyle took the lead through Graham Carey’s stunning strike on 58 minutes, but Shaun Whalley found an equaliser 12 minutes from time with a curling effort. Town pushed forward as they tried to find a winner late on, but they were met with a green wall as Plymouth put in a competitive display.
Paul Hurst makes three changes from the side which faced Walsall last weekend. Dean Henderson comes back in for Craig MacGillivray after returning from his week with England Under-21s. The other changes are in the wide areas with Arthur Gnahoua coming in for Louis Dodds, whilst Alex Rodman is replaced by Shaun Whalley. All three of the players that drop out make the bench and there is a return to the bench for Bryn Morris who hasn’t been involved in a league game since the first game of the season.
Argyle have enjoyed a very difficult start to season and therefore it was perhaps not surprising that they felt more comfortable putting 10-men behind the ball in the early stages. The result of that decision meant that Town were able to dominate the ball for long periods, but they struggled to create any chances from open play in the opening quarter of an hour, although they did force three corners in that period – all of which were easily cleared.
Despite Town dominating the early stages, it was actually the home side who created the first clear cut chance of the game. It came from a corner-kick, which was met in the air by Yann Sonogo’o, but he put his unchallenged header wide of Dean Henderson’s post.
In the opening half an hour, Town’s best work came down the left hand side, with Arthur Gnahoua producing a couple of decent runs, but he couldn’t find an orange shirt with the cross and Plymouth always had numbers in the box to clear away.
The first real save of the game came with just over five minutes of the first half remaining and it was Dean Henderson who was called into action. The game opened up for the first time when Ben Godfrey surged forward for Town, but Godfrey lost the ball and Plymouth were able to break quickly. Joel Grant found Graham Carey in space and Henderson was forced to parry Carey’s 20 yard strike around the post.
A minute later Plymouth had another good chance, which fell he way of former Town man Antoni Sarcevic. Town struggle to deal with a Carey cross and the ball bounces around in the Town area. Sarcevic swung his foot at it, but he can’t get over the ball and it went just over the bar. Sarcevic appeared to pull his hamstring whilst shooting and was replaced by Jake Jervis just before half-time.
The Pilgrims were growing in confidence and Dean Henderson was forced to make another save from a Graham Carey free-kick. Paul Hurst had mentioned Carey’s ability from set-pieces in this week’s pre-match press conference and his left-footed effort from 25 yards was heading for the bottom corner, but Henderson managed to bundle the ball away.
Graham Carey had been the key to Plymouth’s good end to the first-half and early in the second he almost scored a stunning strike when he unleashed a dipping shot from 35 yards, but Henderson was alert to the danger and palmed it away.
At the other end, Town produced their best chance of the game when Shaun Whalley and Arthur Gnahoua connected down the right hand side. Whalley fed Gnahoua, who cut inside onto his favoured left foot and delivered a decent looking cross. Whalley had continued his run into and connected with his head, but Argyle ‘keeper Letheren got down well to his right to tip it round the post.
With 58 minutes on the clock it was the hosts who took the lead. Town lost the ball on the edge of the Argyle box and the home side broke quickly through Joel Grant. Town managed to get back to Grant, but he found Graham Carey and the Town backline seemed to back off Carey, giving him far too much space, as he unleashed a wonderful curling strike from 25 yards, which clipped the inside of the post as it rocketed into the net.
With Town going behind Paul Hurst decided it was time to make a change and he made a double substitution, with Arthur Gnahoua being replaced by Carlton Morris and Alex Rodman coming on for Ben Godfrey. It meant there was a change in formation, with Town going into a 4-4-2 formation with Morris and Payne leading the line.
Plymouth on the other hand decided they were happy to try and hold onto their 1-0 lead and replaced striker Alex Fletcher with Centre-Half Sonny Bradley. The change meant they were now playing at the back and it resulted in Town being forced to shoot from distance with Alex Rodman testing Letheren’s handling with a pot shot from the edge of the box.
However, one of those shots from distance got through the Argyle defences and Town equalised with 12 minutes to go. Town had been pressing hard, but the goal seemed to come out of nothing as Shaun Whalley tried his luck from 25 yards and he bent it into the bottom corner, past the despairing dive of Letheren.
There was now only one side looking for the winner and that was the men in Orange. Letheren had to be alert to keep out James Bolton’s dipping shot and Carlton Morris then head a header cleared off the line from Shaun Whalley’s corner, but it wouldn’t have counted anyway as the referee blew for a foul.
Plymouth brought on Nathan Blissett upfront as they looked to regain the lead and they had a decent chance five minutes before the end when a long throw caused chaos in the Town area and Jake Jervis fired towards goal, but his shot went a couple of yards over Henderson’s goal.
At the other end, Shaun Whalley almost grabbed his second of the game when he met Alex Rodman’s cross with a glancing header, but he didn’t quite get enough contact and Letheren made a comfortable save.
As the game reached stoppage time, Lenell John-Lewis was brought on in place of Stefan Payne and he almost found a late winner when he connected with Junior Brown’s low cross, but the Plymouth defence put their bodies on the line and kept it out.