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VIDEO: Northampton Town 0 Plymouth Argyle 2: Match report

By HeraldSport  |  Posted: February 08, 2014

By Chris Errington Chief Football Writer @ChrisErrington1

Northampton_v_Plymouth_Argyle_080214_ppauk03

Reuben Reid is congratulated on scoring Argyle's opening goal in their 2-0 win away to Northampton at Sixfields Stadium

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PLYMOUTH Argyle returned to winning ways as they beat bottom-of-the-table Northampton at a windswept Sixfields Stadium on Saturday.

It was their first victory in five League Two games, since the 2-0 home defeat of Torquay United on January 1.

The Pilgrims had the benefit of a very strong wind behind them in the first half and made the most of it.

Reuben Reid gave them the lead in only the fifth minute of the match with his 14th goal of the season.

Lewis Alessandra made it 2-0 in the 39th minute, taking his tally for the campaign to nine, and giving them a useful cushion to take into the second half.

As expected, Northampton did most of the attacking after the break but could not find a way back into the game as the determined Pilgrims defended with tremendous resilience.

Argyle's starting line-up showed two changes from the 1-1 draw with Mansfield Town at Home Park last Saturday.

Jake Cole was between the posts because of the season-ending finger injury to Luke McCormick.

There was also a recall for Rommy Boco, at the expense of Luke Young, as the Pilgrims went with a 4-4-2 formation.

It was Northampton's first match with Chris Wilder as their manager.

Four of their team were making their home debuts, including the strike pairing of Alan Connell and Emile Sinclair.

Boco led Argyle's attack with Reid, while Alessandra and Jason Banton provided the width in midfield.

The Pilgrims had a very strong wind behind them in the first half and took the lead in only the fifth minute.

Dominic Blizzard passed the ball out to Banton, who broke into the box and went past left-back Joe Widdowson.

Banton then set up Reid for a close range shot and the ball slipped under the body of 'keeper Matt Duke and trickled into the net.

The goal came after a clearance from Duke had been blown back towards the penalty area by the wind.

Argyle had further chances as Northampton struggled to come to terms with the difficult conditions.

Banton broke clear and although his shot was weakly-hit Duke could only fumble it behind for a corner.

Reid stabbed the ball narrowly wide of the far post with another attempt before centre-back Neal Trotman had an excellent opportunity in the 14th minute.

A free-kick from captain Conor Hourihane was flicked on by Boco and Trotman's shot was pushed over the bar by Duke.

Northampton had their first chance in the 21st minute after a good cross from Chris Hackett.

The ball reached Brennan Dickenson at the far post and he soared above right-back Maxime Blanchard and sent a header over the bar.

Boco broke into the box in the 22nd minute and had a one-on-one with Mathias Doumbe.

However, Boco had a poor touch of the ball and that allowed the former Argyle centre-back to make an important tackle.

Sinclair sent a shot over the bar, as Argyle defender Curtis Nelson challenged him, before the Pilgrims went 2-0 up in the 39th minute.

Alessandra swapped passes with Banton at a short corner and then curled the ball into the penalty area from a tight angle.

No-one could get a touch on it and the ball nestled in the far corner of the net for his ninth goal of the season.

That put the Pilgrims 2-0 up and it stayed that way until the interval.

Northampton had the benefit of the wind in the second half and Hackett sent a shot wide of the near post soon after restart.

Sinclair wastefully headed over the bar from an excellent Hackett cross before Connell had an opportunity.

The Town striker controlled the ball on his chest and then tried a shot which was comfortably held by Cole.

Northampton had nearly all the possession at the start of the second half as they tried to cut their two-goal deficit.

Cole punched clear a wind-assisted free-kick from Hackett which was fired into the goalmouth.

Striker Antonio German was sent on for centre-back Lee Collins in the 68th minute in an attacking tactical switch from Wilder.

Argyle responded with a substitution of their own as Tyler Harvey replaced Banton.

Connell's goalbound shot deflected off the head of Hourihane for a corner before Cole produced a superb save in the 75th minute.

Hackett's viciously inswinging corner seemed destined for the net but Cole somehow clawed the ball.

The hosts played with only three in defence and pushed forward in increasing numbers as the game entered the closing stages.

Argyle did not have any chances to add to their lead as they worked tremendously hard to keep Northampton out.

There was an opportunity for Harvey in the 83rd minute when he played a one-two with Boco and then crashed a 25-yard shot narrowly over the bar.

Reid should have put Argyle 3-0 up in the 89th minute but headed the ball too high following a corner from Alessandra.

That miss did not matter, though, as Argyle comfortably saw out the rest of the match.

The goals from Reid and Alessandra had earned them the first ever win at Sixfields Stadium and only their fourth on the road in League Two this season.  

NORTHAMPTON: Matt Duke; Leon McSweeney, Mathias Doumbe, Lee Collins (Antonio German 68 mins), Joe Widdowson; Chris Hackett, Ricky Ravenhill, Darren Carter, Brennan Dickenson; Alan Connell, Emile Sinclair.

Substitutes (not used): Ian Morris, Roy O'Donovan, Ben Tozer, Dean Snedker (gk), Gary Deegan, Gregor Robertson.

ARGYLE: Jake Cole; Maxime Blanchard, Neal Trotman, Curtis Nelson, Ben Purrington; Jason Banton (Tyler Harvey 71 mins), Dominic Blizzard, Conor Hourihane, Lewis Alessandra; Rommy Boco; Reuben Reid.

Substitutes (not used): Luke Young, Paul Wotton, Nathan Thomas, Jamie Richards, Isaac Vassell, Cameron Dawson (gk).

REFEREE: Nigel Miller (County Durham)

ATTENDANCE: 4,845 (766 away)

GOALS – Argyle: Reid 5 mins, Alessandra 39 mins

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17 comments

  • trots  |  February 09 2014, 6:14PM

    Bobbybiscuit, can't always agree about things on this forum but good to see you do one this occasion. I'll take it as a compliment....... Like you, MikeSpilligan, Plymgeorge, Dave from Lancs and a couple others, I post things how I see it and not just to please others. If people don't agree with my views then so be it......... We all have one thing on common PAFC

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  • bobbybiscuit  |  February 09 2014, 5:55PM

    @trots - well this is one occasion I agree with you ( stand by for the storms). I agree with your comments 100%. I forecast at the beginning of the season that we would end up in 10th place and I must admit after the dire football being played earlier in the season I thought it was going to be a relegation battle mind it still could be but I am hopeful of a 10th position finish.

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  • DavidofLancas  |  February 09 2014, 5:47PM

    Wilf, with regard to Banton, I'm sure you're right. This isn't about losing class or ability, this is purely about attitude to match that class and ability, and that's what is lacking. You can always forgive an honest tryer for having an off day, it happens, but when more gifted players don't appear to be working as hard as they could or should for the cause then fans' frustration is easy to understand. The truth is I think he believes he is better than he is and feels like he doesn't really have to try at our level, especially as he has an 18-month contract under his belt. Anyway, enough of him, this was still a good three points. I can also see both sides of the argument about Northampton. Their record this season is shocking, especially as they made the play-offs last season, and on the face of it you would have to expect to win there, but a new Manager and five new players usually does change things for the better and that pitch yesterday was a true leveller, so grinding out that win, (and that's what we did), shows there is a great deal more character in the side than last season, even without Branston and Wotton who have those traits in bucket-loads. The play-offs are no more than an unrealistic dream this season, unless we go on an amazing winning run, but I no longer fear relegation and we do need to test the fringe players, (particularly the youngsters), to see what we have/need for next season. Top ten would be decent progress from the last few seasons and shows we are slowly working our way back, but incremental progress is usually sustainable progress so that will do me. It is no secret I'd like a different manager but that's not going to happen so let's hope the lads produce the goods inspite of rather than because of him, and I can just dream about what might have been.

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  • Concerned-one  |  February 09 2014, 3:02PM

    imapilgram, I am entitled to make an opinion that what this is all about isn't it? Besides you say Northampton have some decent new players, judging by the score, they haven't. Just saying !!!!!!!.

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  • Concerned-one  |  February 09 2014, 3:01PM

    imapilgram, I am entitled to make an opinion that what this is all about isn't it? Besides you say Northampton have some decent new players, judging by the score, they haven't. Just saying !!!!!!!.

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  • WILFWASTHEMAN  |  February 09 2014, 2:17PM

    Re Banton- I saw him twice last year against AFC and Aldershot. He was tremendous on both occasions - yes perhaps he needs a spell on the bench to wake him up but I am convinced he will come good again. He has the class at this level and I cant believe all his ability disappeared in the short time he was away from us.

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  • trots  |  February 09 2014, 12:37PM

    Imapilgrim Agreed, playing a club rooted to the bottom of the football league fighting for league survival, with a new manager and loads of new players is never easy........ I'd rather be playing a side in mid table then Northampton any day for those reasons. Win and people moan lose and people moan

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  • imapilgrim  |  February 09 2014, 12:11PM

    to be fair @concerned one only a total lack of knowledge of football would think the bottom team with a new manager and several new decent players was going to be an obvious win , ALL matches are tough matches and yesterday was a good result from a good hardworking performance , for once it would be nice to see the negative **** stay off these pages !!!

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  • Concerned-one  |  February 09 2014, 10:38AM

    To be fair I wouldn't expect any other than a win at the bottom club in the league. If we can get good results at Fleetwood & Dagenham then fair play and the best of luck but these are going to be tough matches

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  • trots  |  February 09 2014, 9:35AM

    Look, I don't want to take the gloss away after yesterday's victory by this now becoming anti Banton page. Yesterday was a professional performance against a team of unknown ability due to the new players they brought in. Had we lost yesterday this post would have been full of the usual moans and groans about JS, Banton, RR, relegation, etc etc. We didn't and it has been pointed out we are now 10th!!!!!! 1 defeat in 9 games is pretty good in my eyes, albeit we've drawn a few of them but nevertheless still pretty good stats. As for Banton, well I stick with what I said yesterday, drop him to the bench and give Tyler Harvey a chance, I been swayed over the last few weeks by others on here that he's worth a try, I hope JS has been as well. This time last year we had just beaten Aldershot 1-2 and moved two points about the relegation places. Two goals scored by ........... Banton. A year later we are 10th, 10 points clear of relegation, have a player who has scored 14 goals for the season, although clearly not loved by everyone, so in my eyes considerable improvement in that year. Sadly Banton hasn't improved and what's made it worse is that when he signed we were all cook-a-hoop but sadly at the moment he's letting people down, especially himself. Maybe just maybe a couple of goals would help but a spell keeping the bench warm but also act as the kick up the backside he needs. Sent from my iPad

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