Plymouth Argyle 2 Cardiff City 1. Match Report

Last updated : 01 December 2008 By Michael Morris
If they're the 6th and 7th best teams in the Championship and City stay in the play-off zone despite hardly ever impressing all season long, it's a good advert for watching something else instead.

Wind apart, we are far too regularly starting games too slowly. Nathan Blake on the radio was suggesting some on our players must have still been on the M5 on the bus 15 minutes into the game and how many more soft goals are we going to give away. Both today's were diabolical and the whole back four need to take blame (Johnson and Purse on the 1st, Kennedy, Purse and McNaughton for the 2nd), no alertness and completely dozy.

Rae being anonymous and McPhail playing too deep and ineffectively, the pair being invisible is now past a joke. We'll see the best of McPhail now we have Chopra some say, how long do we need to wait? I'd give Blake a chance Tuesday, probably at the expense of Rae who I wouldn't even know was on the pitch these days if it were not for his wayward shots.

At the back, it's time to give Gypes a chance. Purse and Johnson haven't looked a good unit for some time and neither are playing that well but Purse is always the more vulnerable of the two. His lack of pace and agility regularly catches him out and he's unable to atone for his errors as Johnson can/does. It's not clicking, make a change.

Not all gloom and doom though. Routledge is going to be a joy to watch and it's two in two for Chops but no matter how much they work on him, I'm more and more sure Eddie Johnson will fall short. It's getting absurd we bombed Thommo and brought in a lesser version of him on treble the money (or more). Nice flicks 35 yards from goal but no presence whatsoever in and around the box, he's nowhere near sharp enough to grab goals. It's crazy we've got a Premiership international player on silly money and have to work night and day just to get him towards bare minimum standard. He will score eventually but he'll never get enough.

Massive week ahead now, time for the boys to show they want it really badly. Too often second best today against an average side. The fact we're in the play-off with 28 points off 18 games (normally only good enough to be in the Top 10) tells you much about the dearth of quality even if it is exciting.

Report from FootyMad

Plymouth Argyle blew Cardiff City away with two goals in two sensational minutes and they were then able to hang on for the victory against a resurgent Bluebirds side.

The Pilgrims went into half-time with a comfortable lead after controlling the first 45 minutes and scoring through Emile Mpenza and Paul Gallagher.

However, the Welsh side showed renewed vigour after the interval and got themselves back into the game through Michael Chopra just after the hour.

They pressed hard for an equaliser but just came up short against determined defending from the home side.

Man of the match Mpenza, who had been the hero in the Pilgrims' previous encounter with Charlton when he scored a last-minute equaliser with his only touch of the game after coming on as substitute, had seen two shots saved by Cardiff goalkeeper Tom Heaton before getting third time lucky.

He anticipated Rory Fallon's knock-down header to get the wrong side of Cardiff skipper Darren Purse and lift the ball over Heaton.

Barely had the home side's celebrations subsided when Gallagher made it 2-0. The on-loan Blackburn striker reacted first when Chris Clark's attempted cross hit the crossbar and rebounded out with Heaton stranded.

After the break, Cardiff were an entirely different proposition and deservedly claimed a goal when Wayne Routledge, making his debut on loan from Aston Villa, slipped fellow loan player Chopra in behind the Argyle defence.

The Sunderland striker was borderline offside but kept his composure brilliantly to round goalkeeper Romain Larrieu, hold off the challenge of ex-Bluebird Chris Barker, and slot the ball home.

Despite losing Heaton after a collision with his own defender, Roger Johnson, Cardiff gamely chased the draw.

The closest they came was when Gavin Rae fired over Larrieu's goal. Roger Johnson might have saved it for Cardiff at the last but his weak shot was comfortably saved by Larrieu.

External reports
Cardiff City Official website