I was thinking of going to today’s game but life got very hectic a while back and I missed out on applying for a ticket. All being well our fans won’t have to make the long trip there again for a good while but it’s going to be a tough game today. We’re really on a roll now so we can approach any match with hopes of a result but Plymouth are on a good run themselves, winning their last two matches, both away, 4-1 and 3-1. They’re still languishing in a relegation spot, though, and have already lost nine games so if we get off to a good start, I reckon we’ll take some stopping. I think Power should be available for selection today and he’d be a great addition as long as he can keep his head. It’ll have to be SAFSEE again for me and my match prediction is a 2-1 win for us.
I got the team-news around 2.30 and Maja was starting as was McGeady and it was great to see so many potential goalscorers in the team. Power was nowhere to be seen so I must’ve miscalculated the date of his return. I got the broadcast on and the first thing I heard pleased me i.e. we were playing in red and white. We won the first corner four minutes in but when it came back to Matthews, he blasted it wide. Maja went down injured but mercifully was soon back in the action. We had the better of the opening ten minutes and our fans were certainly coming over loud and clear. We had our first real chance when Maja turned and shot just wide of the post and shortly afterwards Maguire fired in one of his typical long-distance efforts and Macey dived to turn it away. Plymouth had their first serious attempt in the twentieth minute when Grant left Flanagan standing and hit a shot on target but McLaughlin had it covered. Flanagan soon made up for it with a great tackle on Ladapo who’d broken quickly and was bearing down on our goal. It remained goalless at the half-hour mark but it had been a lively game with the crowd sounding animated throughout. We won a second corner when a Gooch shot was deflected out and it was knocked out for another corner. We hadn’t made anything from the first two and we had a second stab at this third one but it was headed away. Commentator Gary Bennett said, not for the first time, that we were lacking tempo and a cutting-edge upfront. It was good to hear Honeyman and Maguire helping with timely tackles at the back. Just before the whistle McLaughlin was all at sea at a Plymouth free-kick but thankfully Sarcevic hit his effort wide. It was 0-0 at the break and the teams went off to loud applause. Elsewhere Portsmouth were 1-0 ahead and Peterborough were drawing 0-0 too.
Early in the second-half a Plymouth player, Fox I think, got the first yellow card of the day and we were awarded a free-kick in a dangerous spot but the kick was held by Macey. Eight minutes in we took the lead and it was McGeady, who justified his starting position by beating two defenders and shooting into the bottom right corner. Plymouth retaliated and from their first corner had a free header that was blocked on the line by McGeouch. Bennett said we were moving a lot faster now and we had another good chance as a Maja shot just curled outside the post. We had 1,500 fans there but they were making all the noise. McGeouch was booked on the hour for catching Ness late and Flanagan quickly joined him for a foul right on the edge of our box. McLaughlin made a great diving save to turn the resultant free-kick out for a corner which led to another corner. We were under the cosh but McLaughlin made another top class save to keep us ahead. Flanagan went down injured and I was glad of the respite from pressure. I’d heard earlier that one of the stands was being demolished so I was a bit surprised that the first rendering of ‘Garden Shed’ didn’t come over the ether till the sixty-seventh minute. The home fans were baying for a second yellow for McGeouch after he’d fouled Sarcevic but that didn’t happen, thank God. We were still very much on the back-foot as we entered the last twenty minutes. We hadn’t made any changes but in the seventy-second we swapped Maja for Sinclair and Plymouth took off Fox, who’d sounded handy so I was glad to see him go. We then replaced Maguire with O’Nien and there was much applause as the fans favourite went off. Sarcevic, who sounded their most dangerous player judging by the number of fouls we were making on him, went close with a low shot and my eye kept straying to the clock as I willed it to move faster. My nerves were soon calmed, though, when we were awarded a penalty and after some debate about who was going to take it, McGeady coolly slotted it home to put us 2-0 up. The game felt in the bag then and our fans continued to sing loudly. Plymouth appealed for a penalty with three minutes to go but the ref waved them away. Mumba was brought on for Gooch near the end but with a surprising six minutes of stoppage-time he had a longer run-out than I’d expected. It ended 2-0 to much cheering from our end.
This was another great battling win, our sixth in a row and the fourth without conceding, and with Peterborough losing we’ve moved ahead of them into second place. See you at Port Vale.