Evans 54, Friio 90, Stonebridge 90.

Saturday 20th October - Kick-off 3pm

Nationwide League Division 3

Attendance:  4,621

Mansfield Town lost their unbeaten home league record here at Field Mill this afternoon as Plymouth Argyle ran out 3-0 winners. After an uneventful first half, Mickey Evans put Argyle ahead on 54 minutes, but the game turned on a Lee Williamson shot that hit the inside of the post and came out again on 84 minutes. Then Plymouth knocked in two injury time goals, including one that was 5 yards offside, to give the result an unrealistic feel.  Stags were unchanged from the win at Darlington, with last week’s hero Tankard still on the bench, and Shayne Bradley on the bench for the first time this season.

Argyle started in very lively fashion and should have taken the lead on 90 seconds when from a corner, a free header from 2 yards went over the bar. Stags never really got going and their usual fast flowing football was not in evidence at all during the first half. I had the impression that the pitch was very bobbly, perhaps following overnight rain, and this seemed to hamper the side. Reddington was lucky to only be booked after hauling back Evans when it seemed Reddington was the last defender. Greenacre had 2 chances in the space of 2 minutes midway through the half. The second chance was the best as he controlled the ball well before firing over the bar. Meanwhile a Williamson cleared a header off the line at the other end.

Half time 0-0

On 54 minutes, Plymouth finally broke the deadlock. Reddington missed a clearance and Evans got in front of him to run through on goal. Reddington, mindful of his first half booking, dare not make a challenge, and Evans coolly slotted the ball underneath Pilkington, to send the 600 Plymouth fans wild with delight. Stags then slowly got into the game and started to create a number of chances, especially after Bradley replaced a limping Jason White. Wayne Corden had the Stags best chance as he danced his way into the box but fired his shot just wide. Williamson had a decent long range shot and Lawrence had a great chance but shot wildly over the bar. But on 84 minutes Stags were so unlucky not to equalise. Williamson cut inside from the left wing and floated a beautiful right-foot shot past the keeper who simply turned and watched the shot hit the inside of the post and come back out again. It was desperate luck.

Within a minute Plymouth nearly made it 2-0 as Kevin Wills took advantage of more poor defending and dribbled the ball round Pilkington, only to shoot wide of an empty net from 2 yards. The miss of the season, easily. But as time ticked on, and the game moved into 3 minutes of injury time, Plymouth took advantage of Stags cavalier defending. Friio simply couldn’t miss from 3 yards after Pilkington saved from David Worrell following a breakaway. Then within a couple of minutes, Plymouth broke away again, and the pass through to Stonebridge found the Plymouth substitute 5 yards offside. But no flag went up and Stonebridge beat Pilkington from the edge of the box.

A very disappointing result. But there is no doubt that Plymouth look a quality side. Plymouth probably just about deserved their victory, though it could have all been so different if Williamson’s shot had gone in on 84 minutes.  Stags need to bounce straight back and 3 points at home to Torquay United on Tuesday is vital.

Pilkington 6 - Didn't command his box, though made a couple of good punches in the 1st half.
7 - Had a decent game at right back.
6 - Looked hesitant at times.
5 - Often caught out of position. Gave away the first goal.
6 - Had a few good forward runs but crossing lacked incisiveness.
6 - Did very little.
7 - The pick of a disappointing midfield. Fought for every ball.
6 - Looked out of sorts. Didn't make his usual forward runs and was often very deep.
6 - A couple of decent efforts. Would benefit from a more forward role which would be possible if Tankard was recalled.
6 - Very quiet. Two good first half efforts but didn't see enough of the ball.
5 - Generally showed a poor first touch and looked unlikely to create danger.
Bradley (for J.White, 62 mins)
7 - Promising start for Bradley, as he looked dangerous.
Harris (for Hassell, 86 mins)
6 - No time to make a difference.
Subs Not Used: Bingham, Tankard, Asher
Your Choice Man of the Match Williamson 31% Hassell 22% Pemberton 20%

Report by Martin Shaw