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Plymouth Argyle 0-0 Ipswich Town - Half-Time
Saturday, 2nd Mar 2024 15:58

Town and Plymouth Argyle remain locked at 0-0 at half-time at Home Park.

Boss Kieran McKenna was forced into three changes from the team which beat Birmingham 3-0 last week with Massimo Luongo joining Nathan Broadhead and Wes Burns in missing out.

Luongo was ill, while Broadhead (thigh) and Burns (calf) suffered knocks against the Midlanders.

Lewis Travis replaced the Australian international in central midfield with Omari Hutchinson and Jeremy Sarmiento coming in on the right and left respectively. Conor Chaplin was OK to start despite suffering a gash to his leg last week.

Elsewhere, Axel Tuanzebe kept his place at right-back with Harry Clarke, celebrating his 23rd birthday, on the bench, alongside Jack Taylor, back after his quad injury. Plymouth were unchanged from their 2-0 victory at Middlesbrough last weekend.

In very wet conditions with rain continuing to fall heavily and buoyed by news of Leeds having drawn 1-1 at Huddersfield in the lunchtime kick-off, Town started on the front foot and threatened to create an opportunity in the second minute when Tuanzebe won the ball on the right and fed Chaplin, who turned away from his man in the area and briefly looked to be in space before he was dispossessed.

However, it was the Pilgrims who forced the first save of the game in the fifth minute, Vaclav Hladky doing well to push out Morgan Whittaker’s dangerous, curling cross-shot from the right which was on target.

The loose ball ran to Darko Gyabi, who struck a shot from the edge of the area which flew only just wide.

Argyle continued to press and Hladky came out of his goal to the Town left and initially looked in some trouble having been beaten to the ball by Ryan Hardie before eventually dispossessing the striker with the assistance of Tuanzebe. Moments later, the Czech keeper conceded a corner when he passed straight out of play, much to the delight of the home support.

After the home side’s threatening spell, the Blues began to take more control - although with the heavy and cut up pitch and Plymouth’s determined pressing deep into the Town area not making passing out from the back easy - and in the 15th minute went close for the first time.

Kieffer Moore flicked a header from Hutchinson’s right-wing cross and home keeper Conor Hazard did well to bundle the wet ball behind down to his right.

The game swung back towards Plymouth but without any further penalty area concerns for the Blues, then just before the half-hour Sarmiento sent Hutchinson away with a cross-field pass but the on-loan Chelsea man’s shot from an angle inside the area was blocked.

Two minutes later, Moore appeared to have played Hutchinson in on the right again but the linesman on the far side waved for a harsh foul against the Town wideman with defender Brendan Galloway having gone to ground very easily with the Jamaica international otherwise away on goal.

On 36, Hardie curled a shot over the bar from just outside the area after an initial strike following a corner had been blocked.

Town had Luke Woolfenden to thank for not being behind a minute later. Whittaker floated a ball across from the right to the left of the box and Mickel Miller shot across Hladky, however, Woolfenden had read the situation and blocked.

In the 39th minute, after some neater passing in the build-up, Moore couldn’t find a way past the final two defenders and the ball ricocheted off his shins to Hazard.

Soon after, Hutchinson was again harshly penalised when chasing a ball along with Galloway before Sarmiento overhit a pass for the Chelsea loanee to run onto with a ball into space for the Town number 20 the Blues’ biggest threat.

Plymouth were, however, presenting more of a danger at the other end, continuing to force errors from the Blues in the final third with their persistent pressing.

Town ended the half in the Pilgrims’ final third with Tuanzebe winning a corner but which came to nothing.

Overall, it had been a scruffy half with Plymouth having looked the more dangerous, having had the better chances and would have been in front but for Woolfenden’s vital interception.

Town had had spells in control but the Pilgrims - and the conditions - had made it hard work for them to play out from the back, while too many passes had gone astray.

Nevertheless, Hutchinson had looked a threat all half when played in on the right and Moore went close with his header.

Plymouth Argyle: Hazard, Houghton (c), Pleguezeulo, Haride, Whittaker, Miller, Gibson, Gyabi, Randell, Galloway, Sorinola. Subs: Cooper, Mumba, Sousa, Edwards, Bundu, Devine, Waine, Phillips, Forshaw.

Town: Hladky, Tuanzebe, Woolfenden, Burgess, Davis, Morsy (c), Travis, Hutchinson, Chaplin, Sarmiento, Moore. Subs: Walton, Clarke, Edmundson, Ball, Taylor, Humphreys, Harness, Al-Hamadi, Jackson. Referee: Josh Smith (Lincolnshire).

Photo: Matchday Images

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