Rare win for Gre­cians at Home Park af­ter Har­ley grabs dou­ble

The Football League Paper - - LEAGUE TWO -

Plymouth, miss­ing the spine of their team due to in­juries to five key play­ers, started ner­vously in front of their big­gest crowd since Fe­bru­ary 2002.

Jamie Reid, making his first start since Septem­ber 2013, lashed a shot wide be­fore Chris­tian Wal­ton, who was signed on loan from Brighton as a re­place­ment for the in­jured Luke McCormick, suf­fered some mo­ments of un­cer­tainty.

Plymouth found some rhythm and Cur­tis Nel­son made a lung-bust­ing surge up field be­fore sweep­ing past Troy Brown and bring­ing a smart stop out of Bobby Ole­jnik.

The Ex­eter keeper came to the res­cue again when he gath­ered a glanc­ing header from Jake Jervis.

Craig Tan­ner robbed Ol­lie Watkins on the edge of the box and then hit a sting­ing shot that was pushed away by Ole­jnik.

The visi­tors weath­ered the storm and took the lead on the half hour mark when David Wheeler charged down Kelvin Mel­lor’s clear­ance be­fore the Pil­grims de­fender took a wild swipe and brought down the Ex­eter winger. Har­ley fired the spot kick into the bot­tom cor­ner.

Ex­eter dou­bled their lead on 39 min­utes thanks to a mo­ment of magic from Har­ley when the play­maker tricked his way past two Ar­gyle play­ers be­fore steer­ing a de­light­ful shot into the far cor­ner.

Pil­grims boss Derek Adams brought on striker Ryan Brunt at the break and matched Ex­eter by de­ploy­ing a 4-4-2 for­ma­tion. But the hosts con­tin­ued to strug­gle to cre­ate chances, al­though Mel­lor wasted a glo­ri­ous chance to pull a goal back when he headed wide.

Ar­gyle were thrown a life­line af­ter Gary Sawyer’s was not dealt with by the Ex­eter de­fence and the ball fell to Threkeld who bun­dled the ball in.

The visi­tors could have sewn it up af­ter Watkins played in Har­ley but his shot flashed inches past the post.

Ryan Brunt drew a smart save out of Ole­jnik be­fore Carey al­most pro­duced an ex­plo­sive equaliser.

Tan­ner picked out the mid­fielder at the back post and Carey hit a blis­ter­ing first-time shot that flew inches past the junc­tion of post and bar.

Plymouth’s hopes of res­cu­ing a late point were left in tat­ters when Carey’s free-kick flashed nar­rowly over the bar. Pil­grims boss Derek Adams said: “I think we de­served more. Given the chances we cre­ated and the amount of the ball we had in and around the area, we should have taken some­thing.

“We gave away a poor penalty and we didn’t shut down on the edge of the box quick enough for their sec­ond goal.

“They had to de­fend res­o­lutely and they got bod­ies be­hind the ball. It wasn’t a pretty game, they were not slick and they went very direct.

“I am not go­ing to use the in­juries as an ex­cuse be­cause I can only play with the cards I am dealt.”

SCRAM­BLE: Panic in the Plymouth goal­mouth as Ex­eter pile on the pres­sure and, right, David No­ble and Os­car Threlkeld bat­tle it out STAR MAN RYAN HAR­LEY


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