Plymouth (H) LFL Blog

Our tails are up now after a mixed start to the year and when you stop and reflect, we're doing fine. At the very least we're sure of a play-off place and have every chance of getting second spot while we're one game away from Wembley and a great match against one of our main promotion rivals. I wasn't really aware of the Checkatrade Cup till this season but any day at Wembley isn't to be sniffed at. We're also unbeaten in 2019 and are the only side to score in every league game this season. Ross out? You've got to be joking. Still, we have to hold our nerve during the run-in and it's not going to be easy. Luton and Portsmouth are both at home today and look likely to win while Barnsley are away to Southend and Doncaster take on Charlton so a draw there would be best for us. I think we'll win today and I just hope our two stuttering strikers manage a goal or two between them. After his instant impact last Saturday it'd be nice to see Morgan given a good stretch as with all those great crosses he was putting in somebody will get on the end of one of them sooner or later. The Catts and Leadbitter combination has been successful and I think this will give us the solidity to get promotion this season. When I saw Leadbitter at the Oxford match recently he looked a cut above everyone else. I heard that Plymouth are bringing seventeen hundred fans up, which is impressive, so there'll be a lively atmosphere for sure. It's going to be a battle but I think we'll win it and my match prediction is a 2-1 win for us.

I got the team-news just after 2.00 and was pleased to see that Morgan was starting as I'd hoped. With Gooch, Power and Watmore on the bench we had strong back-up and Wyke was a sub too. Barnsley had a good 3-0 away win in the early kick-off which gave us even more of an incentive to get three points ourselves. I got the game on SAFSEE and our fans were singing their heads off.

We won the first corner and were doing all the early pressing but Plymouth fought back and Ladapo had the first serious goal-attempt of the game in the ninth minute when his shot went just wide. Morgan was putting in some decent crosses but nobody was there to take advantage of them while Grigg seemed to be being well marshalled by the Plymouth defence. In the eighteenth minute there was very loud applause and chanting in memory of Connor Brown. By the midway point of the first half there'd been very little to say about the match and we hadn't had a serious goal chance. Gary Bennett said our build-up play had been good but the final balls had been poor. Anyway, Portsmouth had just taken the lead against Bradford so even more pressure was on us. We promptly had a couple of efforts on target through Dunne and McGeady and then O'Nien had a shot that hit the side-netting so things were looking up. We kept up the pressure and finally after great work by Morgan the ball came to goal-machine Cattermole around the eighteen-yard mark and he smashed it into the top right corner to put us ahead. How soon things can change in football – before the season Catts' name was shite among our fans and he was being cited as the essence of what had been wrong with the team. With around five minutes to the break O'Nien put in a great cross but it rolled through their box without anyone getting a boot on it. Porstmouth got a second and another goal for us before half-time would surely have sealed the win. We nearly did it when an exquisite (commentator Nick Barnes's word) Morgan pass found McGeady but his first touch let him down. Grigg had a great opportunity too but shot straight at Letheren in goal and it went for a corner. We'd really dominated the half but needed to tighten up on our final passes and finishing, then we could really win comfortably.

Neither side had made a change as we kicked off again and the crowd - 32,360 - was announced. Plymouth had a penalty shout for handball just before the hour but referee Graham Salisbury gave them a corner instead, their first of the game. As Plymouth upped their game that one-nil lead was sounding a bit fragile and a Smith-Brown effort that went narrowly wide didn't help my nerves. Gary Bennett said Morgan was looking a bit leggy and a substitution was on the cards. Portsmouth went 3-0 up and that game was clearly in the bag so maybe the introduction of Watmore could give us the oomph we needed to get that second goal. Watmore replaced Morgan in the sixty-seventh minute and it sounded like he'd gone upfront alongside Grigg but Plymouth made a change too and did likewise so both sides were going for it. There was still a long way to go and I had to start pacing around the room. Grigg had a header that went just wide of the post in the seventy-fifth minute. Plymouth had to replace goalie Letheren with Macey due to injury and we still had two possible changes to make as we entered the final ten minutes. Our fans were still sounding happy enough at any rate. With three minutes left Honeyman put us all out of our misery when he scored our second after great build-up work by McGeady, who's often capable of producing some magic. Wyke came on for Grigg in stoppage-time as the stadium still bubbled with euphoria. I hoped Wyke would get infected by it and get a goal to settle himself down. Gooch replaced McGeady at the same time. It ended 2-0.

This was a nervy second-half but we kept at it and ended up deserved winners. See you at Wycombe.