Friday, 31 August 2012

The Opposition: Northampton Town

Founded: 1897

Manager: Aidy Boothroyd (since November 2011)

Record transfer fee paid: Josh Low (£165,000, 2003)

Final league position (2011-12): 20th, Football League Two

Previous seasons:

2010-11: 16th, Football League Two

2009-10: 11th, Football League Two

2008-09: 21st, Football League One (relegated)

Top scorer (2011-12): Adebayo Akinfenwa (8)

Recent results: DWDWDL

Current league position: 9th

Last time out: Northampton Town 1, Wolverhampton Wanderers 3

Head-To-Head: Argyle won 17, lost 20, drawn 12

Most recent meeting: NorthamptonTown 0, Argyle 0, 25th March 2012

Tuesday, 28 August 2012

Burnley 1, Argyle 1 (3:2 on penalties)

Argyle exited the Capital One Cup at the second round stage, losing on penalty kicks to Burnley at Turf Moor. Charlie Austin headed the home side into the lead in the 37th minute but Argyle equalised late in the the second half, Robbie Williams converting an injury time penalty after Paris Cowan-Hall was fouled by Sam Vokes. There were no further goals in extra time and Brian 'The Beast' Jensen proved the difference in the shoot-out, saving kicks from Williams, Luke Young and Connor Hourihane to secure the Clarets' progress to the third round.

Monday, 27 August 2012

The Opposition: Burnley

Founded: 1882

Manager: Eddie Howe (since January 2011)

Record transfer fee paid: Steven Fletcher (£3m, 2009)

Final league position (2011-12): 13th, Football League Championship

Previous seasons:

2010-11: 8th, Football League Championship

2009-10: 18th, Premier League (relegated)

2008-09: - 5th, Football League Championship (promoted via play-offs)

Top scorer (2011-12): Charlie Austin (16)

Recent results: WLL

Current league position: 18th

Last time out: Huddersfield United 2, Burnley 0

Head-To-Head: Argyle won 15, lost 17, drawn 20

Most recent meeting: Burnley 2, Argyle 1, 21st March 2009

Sunday, 26 August 2012

League Two Round-Up - Game Three

Full results from this round of matches in Football League Two are available here on the BBC Sport website.

Gillingham kept pace with Oxford at the top of the table, winning 2-1 at Dagenham & Redbridge to maintain their 100% League Two record, whilst Shaun Harrad’s third goal of the season helped propel Cheltenham up to third as the Robins won away at Aldershot. Bradford climbed to fourth with a 5-1 thrashing of Wimbledon at Valley Parade, closely followed by Micky Adams’ Port Vale who picked up a 3-1 away win against Morecombe. Exeter and Accrington occupy the remaining play-off places, despite the Grecians hammering Stanley 3-0 at St James Park.

Rene Howe scored twice as Torquay registered their first win of the season at Plainmoor, beating Rochdale 4-2, whilst much-fancied Rotherham drew at 1-1 with Chesterfield at the New York Stadium. Fleetwood, meanwhile, picked up their first ever win as a Football League club with a 1-0 triumph over Burton at the Pirelli Stadium. Fellow League Two newboys York also had a good afternoon, winning 3-1 away at Barnet.

Bristol Rovers took a 3-0 first half lead away at Wycombe, only to see the match abandoned midway through the second period due to inclement weather with the score 3-1 in the Gas’ favour. Northampton Town, Argyle’s next league opponents, were denied by a late Ryan Cresswell goal as Southend struck at the death to secure a 3-3 draw at Sixfields.

Saturday, 25 August 2012

Oxford United 2, Argyle 1


Argyle lost 2-1 to early pace-setters Oxford United at the Kassam Stadium. The visitors made a lively start to the game but were undone by a quick one-two from the U's midway through the first half, conceding two Deane Smalley goals in three minutes. A 74th minute Robbie Williams free kick halved the Greens' deficit but Durrell Berry's injury time post-rattling effort was the closest they came to a late equaliser.

Friday, 24 August 2012

The Opposition - Oxford United

Founded: 1893

Manager: Chris Wilder (since December 2008)

Record transfer fee paid: Dean Windass (£470,000, 1998)

Final league position (2011-12): 9th, Football League Two

Previous seasons:

2010-11: 12th, Football League Two

2009-10: 3rd Blue Square Premier

2008-09 - 7th, Blue Square Premier

Top scorer (2011-12): James Constable (11)

Recent results: DWW

Current league position: 1st
Last time out: Oxford United 2, Southend United 0
Head-To-Head: Argyle won 11, lost 14, drawn 11

Most recent meeting: Argyle 1, Oxford United 1, 21st April 2012

Wednesday, 22 August 2012

League Two Round-Up - Game Two

Full results from this round of matches in Football League Two are available here on the BBC Sport website.

Oxford United, who meet Argyle at the Kassam Stadium on Saturday, sit atop League Two after picking up a 2-0 victory over a Southend side who played for more than an hour with ten men after Michael Timlin picked up two bookings in the opening 27 minutes. Gillingham, who beat Wycombe 1-0, and Accrington Stanley, who maintained their fine early season form with a 2-0 win over Port Vale, are the only other teams to have a 100% record after two matches. Paul Sturrock’s Shrimpers, meanwhile, find themselves bottom of the pile and are the only side yet to pick up a point.

Big spenders and pre-season favourites Rotherham and Fleetwood had a difficult evening; the Millers lost 2-1 to Northampton while last season’s Blue Square Premier champions suffered a 1-0 reverse at Valley Parade. Martin Ling’s Torquay drew their second game on the trot, 2-2 at home against Cheltenham, whilst Exeter bounced back from their opening day disappointment with a 2-1 victory away at Aldershot.

The game of the evening took place at the Pirelli Stadium, where Burton scored four goals in the opening 20 minutes of a 6-2 victory over Wimbledon. York City twice came from behind to claim a point in their 2-2 draw at Morecambe, while Barnet and Bristol Rovers and Chesterfield and Rochdale played out 1-1 draws.   

Tuesday, 21 August 2012

Dagenham & Redbridge 0, Argyle 0


Argyle picked up their first point of the season at Victoria Road this evening, playing out a goalless draw with Dagenham & Redbridge. Jake Cole, who made two fine saves during the opening period, was the star of the show for a Pilgrims side who only really threatened during stoppage time in both halves; Matt Lecointe shot wide on the stroke of half time, while a Paul Wotton free kick stung the palms of Daggers 'keeper Chris Lewington in the dying seconds of the match.  Otherwise it was pretty much one way traffic, with the home side squandering two or three gilt-edged opportunities during the second half.

BBC Match Report

The Opposition - Dagenham & Redbridge

Founded: 1992

Manager: John Still (since April 2004)

Record transfer fee paid:  Damien McCrory (undisclosed from Argyle, 2010)

Final league position (2011-12):  19th, Football League Two

Previous seasons:

2010-11: 21st, Football League One

2009-10: 7th, Football League Two

2008-09: 8th, Football League Two

Top scorer (2011-12): Brian Woodall (13)

Pre-season results:

31st July: Braintree 1, Dagenham & Redbridge 1

17th July: Maidstone United 1, Dagenham & Redbridge 0

Last time out: Cheltenham Town 2, Dagenham & Redbridge 0

Head-To-Head: Argyle won 3, lost 1, drawn 2

Most recent meeting: Argyle 0, Dagenham & Redbridge 0, 25th February 2012

Monday, 20 August 2012

League Two Round-Up - Game One

Full results from this round of matches in Football League Two are available here on the BBC Sport website.

Big-spending Rotherham made an impressive start to life at the New York Stadium, brushing Burton Albion aside to record a 3-0 victory. Port Vale and Morecambe matched the Millers scoreline, as the Valiants cruised past Barnet at Vale Park and the Shrimps humbled Exeter at St James Park.  Cheltenham and Oxford, who will both have promotion ambitions, began the new term in positive fashion, recording 2-0 wins over Dagenham & Redbridge and Bristol Rovers respectively.

Newly promoted York City had a tough start to the season, losing 1-3 at home to Wycombe, whilst much-fancied Fleetwood took a point from their first ever Football League match, playing out a goalless draw with Torquay at Highbury (the other one).  Rochdale and Northampton also drew a blank, whilst Accrington Stanley got off to a flyer with a 1-0 victory away at Southend.

Elsewhere, a Jack Midson goal secured three points for Wimbledon against Chesterfield, and Martin Allen’s Gillingham beat Bradford 3-1 at Priestfield.

Argyle 0, Aldershot Town 2


Argyle lost the opening game of their 2012-13 League Two campaign, falling to a 2-0 defeat at the hands of Aldershot Town at Home Park.  The Shots took an early lead, Troy Brown heading home from a free kick, before Josh Payne doubled the visitors advantage from the penalty spot in the 54th minute.  Paul Wotton went closest for the Pilgrims, crashing a first half free kick against the post.

Friday, 17 August 2012

The Opposition: Aldershot Town

Founded: 1992

 Dean Holdsworth (since January 2011) 

Record transfer fee paid:
 Undisclosed (Marvin Morgan, 2008) 

Final league position (2011-12):  11th, Football League Two

Previous seasons:

2010-11: 14th, Football League Two

2009-10: 6th, Football League Two

2008-09: 15th, Football League Two

Top scorer (2011-12):
 Danny Hylton (16 goals)

Pre-season results:

4th August: Woking 2, Aldershot Town 1

1st August: Aldershot Town 0, Portsmouth 1

Last time out:
 Wolverhampton Wanderers 1, Aldershot Town 1 (Wolves win 7-6 on penalties)

 Argyle won 9, lost 4, drawn 4 

Most recent meeting:
 Argyle 1, Aldershot Town 0, 9th April 2012

Wednesday, 15 August 2012

Capital One Cup Fever!

Argyle's reward for their 3-0 victory over Portsmouth is a somewhat less than mouthwatering second round tie away at Burnley, which will be played during the week commencing 27th August.  As a result, Carl Fletcher's men face a 200 mile trip to Oxford for the away game on Saturday 25th, followed by the midweek cup tie at Turf Moor, a mere 311 miles from Home Park, before taking on Northampton at the Theatre of Greens on September 1st.

Considering the seeding system, it's hard to see how the Pilgrims could have got a worse draw.

The New Guys - Jamie Lowry

Who is he?

A versatile midfielder, who can also fill in at right full-back.

Where’s he come from?

Chesterfield, for whom he made 125 appearances between 2006 and 2012, scoring 11 goals.  Newquay-born Jamie also made 10 appearances on loan at Crewe Alexandra last season, the eventual League Two play-off winners.

Hmmm.  Sounds good.  What’s the catch?

Lowry did his cruciate in a match against for Chesterfield against Hereford in October 2009.  The injury sidelined him for the best part of 18 months and he’s only made 13 league appearances since his return in March 2011.

Ah.  I see...

It’s not necessarily as bad as it sounds – both Paul Wotton and Simon Walton recovered from similar injuries and they managed to rack up 90 appearances between them last season.  Plus Lowry is still relatively young (25) for a central midfielder, despite having played more than 100 Football League matches.

Did Crewe not want him back?

They were very keen to offer a permanent deal after Jamie was released by Chesterfield at the end of last season, before getting cold feet after their medical team had a look at his knee.  Let’s hope they were being overly cautious.

Yes, let’s.  How’s that going so far?

Well...he twisted an ankle in the pre-season game at Truro and is out until November. Which could happen to anyone and is in no way connected to his knee.  So there.

Tuesday, 14 August 2012

Elsewhere in League Two

Results for the other League Two clubs from the first round of the Capital One Cup:

Birmingham 5, Barnet 1
Ipswich 3, Bristol Rovers 1
Sheffield United 2, Burton Albion 2 (Burton win 5-4 on penalties)
Cheltenham 1, MK Dons 1 (MK Dons win 5-3 on penalties)
Chesterfield 1, Tranmere 2
Dagenham and Redbridge 0, Coventry City 1
Exeter City 1, Crystal Palace 2
Bristol City 1, Gillingham 2
Northampton Town 2, Cardiff City 1
Oxford 0, Bournemouth 0 (Oxford win 5-3 on penalties)
Port Vale 1, Burnley 3
Rochdale 3, Barnsley 4
Peterborough 4, Southend United 0
Torquay United 0, Leicester City 4
Stevenage 3, AFC Wimbledon 1
Watford 1, Wycombe Wanderers 0
Doncaster 1, York City 1 (Doncaster win 4-2 on penalties)
Carlisle 1, Accrington Stanley 0
Aldershot Town 1, Wolverhampton Wanderers 1 (Wolves win 7-6 on penalties)
Notts County 0, Bradford City 1 (AET)
Fleetwood Town 0, Nottingham Forest 1
Blackpool 1, Morecambe 2
Hull City 1, Rotherham 1 (Hull win 7-6 on penalties)

Argyle 3, Portsmouth 0


Argyle progressed to the second round of the League Cup (a rare event indeed), beating beleaguered Portsmouth 3-0 at Home Park.  Johnny Gorman opened the scoring on the stroke of half-time to give the home side a deserved lead, before late strikes from Paris Cowan-Hall and Nick Chadwick helped paper over the cracks of a sometimes nervy second half performance.  Pompey, who were reduced to putting out a virtual youth team, battled gamely throughout but rarely threatened, a couple of long range efforts aside.

Baggo Report

BBC Report

Sunday, 12 August 2012

The New Guys - Rene Gilmartin

Who is he?

A 25-year-old goalkeeper, capped at U-19 and U-21 level by the Republic of Ireland.

Where’s he come from?

Gilmartin arrives at Home Park after being released by Watford at the end of last season. The 6ft 5in Dubliner made seven league and cup appearances in his two years at Vicarage Road.

And before that?

Rene signed for Walsall in 2005 and made his debut as a 17-year-old, eventually racking up 38 appearances for the Saddlers.  He rejected the offer of a new contract to make the switch to the Hornets in 2010.

Watford, eh?  Isn’t that Scott Loach fairly handy?

Indeed he is.  With the England U-21 ‘keeper firmly established as the first choice between the sticks, Gilmartin found his opportunities at Vicarage Road to be few and far between. A handful of cup appearances for Watford during 2010-11 were followed by two loan spells last season, at Yeovil and Crawley.

And now he’s joined Argyle?

Yep.  Fletch and Ro had already had Gilmartin scouted, with the writing on the wall for the big Irishman at Watford.  After receiving a glowing reference from former Yeovil teammate Paul Wotton, they snapped him up at the start of July.

Tuesday, 7 August 2012

The New Guys - Paris Cowan-Hall

Who is he?

A sprightly forward, who can play up front or wide on the right.

Where’s he come from? 

Woking, where he scored 11 goals in 27 appearances during a title winning campaign that saw the Cards promoted to the Blue Square Premier.

And before that?

Cowan-Hall started his senior career at Portsmouth, where he made a solitary appearance in a pre-season friendly. A couple of loan spells at Grimsby were blighted by illness and injury, before Pompey got rid after their relegation from the Premier League in 2010.  Trials at several Championship and League One clubs followed, before a short-term deal with Scunthorpe resulted in a substitute appearance in a Championship fixture against Watford.   The Iron then sent our man out on loan at Rushden and Diamonds, his boyhood club, where he scored one goal in three appearances. With no new deal forthcoming from Glanford Park, Paris opted to drop down the leagues and sign a one-year contract with Woking, then of the Conference South.

Any fee involved?

No transfer fee, although compensation is owed to Woking due to his age (21).

What’s he like?

Quick, but also good in the air for a player of his size (5ft 8).  At Woking Cowan-Hall played predominantly as a centre-forward, but Carl Fletcher is likely to deploy him on either side of a front three.

Saturday, 12 May 2012

Weekend Update

It's been a quiet week at Home Park, with the players off on their holidays, although the club has apparently been doing a healthy trade in memberships (season tickets).  James Brent, for one, is in an optimistic mood as thoughts turn to next season.

Negotiations are ongoing between Carl Fletcher, Romain Larrieu and James Brent regarding the current management team's future at the club.  All of the signs appear to be positive despite a BBC Sport article, published on Monday, which had a go at creating a load of drama around one standard non-commital Fletch response (the stat about Le Keeper being fourth in the all time appearances list is also wrong; he's actually 21st).

On a not-completely unrelated topic: Paul Groves has been appointed as Bournemouth's permanent manager on a two-year deal.

Here are a few interesting bits and bobs from the local press:

  • The side that faced Santos at Home Park back in 1973 are planning a reunion (Friday).
  • Carl Fletcher almost passed on signing Maxime Blanchard (Friday).
  • An interview with Young Player of the Season, Luke Young (Thursday).
Nominations are now open for the Plymouth Argyle Supporters Board (PASB).  A leaflet, with all of the details, is available on the club site, while have a piece on the subject.

Finally, there's a fascinating, three part 50 minute interview with Carl Fletcher, Romain Larrieu and Kevin Nancekivell on Argyle World, looking back at the whole of the 2011-12 season.  It's just the sort of thing that the club should do more of, and well worth the £4 monthly Argyle Player subscription.

Here are a few choice quotes:

Carl Fletcher on pre-season worries:

I think we doubted [that the club would start the season] once we got back for pre-season, and nothing had changed.  I think we kind of expected to go away, come back and at least see some kind of movement.  Literally nothing had changed at all...that was the worst time.

On the players' strike threat in the run-up to the Burton game:

We were the only ones left who could have actually done something...if it was the staff or anyone the administrator would have been “great, go on, you go on strike and we’ll just sack you, we don’t have to pay you again.”... Miraculously, they were able to find some more money for us.  Makes you wonder why they didn’t do it in the first place.

On Guilfoyle and Ridsdale: 

There was no relationship between the players and the administrator.  The only one who would ever tell us anything was Ridsdale.  To be fair to him, he did come down on a fairly regular basis and say [what was happening]...whether true or not, at least he was telling us something.

On the takeover:

I think everyone thought we’d get taken over, spend loads of money, gets loads of players in and that would be it, done.  We were very realistic, the club wasn’t run like a football club before and you need to take time to get the wheels turning again.  It’ll still take time now.

On the style of play:

Where we were, there was no way we were suddenly going to come out [and play attractive football]. It would have been great if we’d gone “yeah, we’ll pass the ball around, brilliant, we’ll look really pretty and everything like that.”  We’d lose every game; that was no good for us...on our worst days we were fit, we were solid and we were hard to beat.

On the recruitment policy:

We try and bring the right characters in, that’s the main thing.  If you get people who are idiots – we don’t want them.  It just disrupts everything; if someone’s an idiot he might drag a couple with him, then you get splits in the group...we’re very lucky that we got some real good characters.

On the doubters:

There’s nothing nicer than sticking two fingers up at people who doubted you... it takes strong people to stick [to their guns] like James Brent – he stuck behind us and has put his faith in us with his football club, and we know the people who have stuck by us through thick and thin......we appreciate the ones who stuck with us when things aren’t going right.  We stayed up, and we’re all getting twenty, thirty messages on our phone; we didn’t get that when we lost at Rotherham.

Romain, on the same topic:

I remember coming back Monday morning and watching the Football League Show and one of the pundits said “now they’ve got an owner, they just need a manager.”  I remember that very well, and I thought “yeah, you’ll be eating your words in a minute”.  He was probably looking for a job.

As I said, there's much, much more (another 49 minutes worth, in fact) on a varied selection of topics - Shrewsbury, Stourbridge, Bristol Rovers, Rotherham, Oxford, Nance's playing career, Romain's clean sheets, receiving their backpay over five years - it's all in there.

If you want to reall all the Argyle news without clicking on a load of links, why not head over to Greens On Screens' Daily Diary?

Sunday, 6 May 2012

Merci, Romain

Yesterday marked the end of an era for Plymouth Argyle.  Much has happened during the past eleven and a half years at Home Park; three sides of the ground redeveloped, two championships, two relegations, seven months in administration, seven different full time managers, numerous players and directors in and out of the door. And through it all one goalkeeper - Romain Larrieu - has been at the club, an ever-present in constantly changing times.

There are few one club men in football, especially in the modern era; it’s quite possible that there will never be another Argyle player who spends more than eleven seasons with the club.  Of course, the chances are that ‘Le Keeper’ will remain at Home Park next season as Carl Fletcher’s number two but, for many, it’ll be an odd feeling to see an Argyle teamsheet without the name ‘Romain Larrieu’ listed amongst the starters or the substitutes.

There’s a nice tribute piece by Rick Cowdery on the official site, along with some pictures from Ro’s time at the club.  And the image that accompanies this article about yesterday's match is oddly touching.

Romain Larrieu In Numbers
  • 4,169 days between first appearance (vs Bristol City in the LDV Vans Trophy, 5th December 2000) and last appearance (vs Cheltenham Town in Football League Two, 5th May 2012) 
  • One month - the length of Romain's initial trial contract
  • 314 starts and four substitute appearances
  • 86 clean sheets
  • Two championship medals (Division 3 champions 2001-02, Division 2 champions 2003-04)
  • Two loan spells away from the club, at Yeovil Town (2006-07) and Gillingham (2007-08)
  • 161 different Argyle teammates
  • One Player of the Season award (2008-09)

Romain Larrieu at the Greens on Screen database

Le Testimonial