ARGYLE GET THE RUB OF THE GREEN AGAINST MK DONS:
Schumacher’s high-flying greens go seven points clear at the top of league one on New Year’s Day after a ground out but comfortable victory against MK dons thanks to 3 goals from defender James Wilson and one a piece from the attackers Niall Ennis and Jordan Whittaker.
Mk dons last visit to Home Park saw them win 5-0 on the final day of last season which meant that Argyle slipped out of the play-offs to last week’s opposition Wycombe and saw the visitors miss out on Automatic promotion despite amassing 89 points. Dons started the day in the relegation places and looked set to press Argyle well in the early stages. However, a soft freekick given away by Bradley Johnson in the middle of the park lead to an early chance for the greens to test the MK defences steel, Argyle who aren’t exactly famed for scoring set piece goals took Dons by surprise when defender Wilson poked home a Whittaker (Pictured right) free kick in the 4th minute to put the home side ahead. Wilson having never scored for Argyle in 62 games previously poked home his first goal for the club, in an interview afterwards he said, “I’ve certainly felt like it was coming, other lads might not have felt the same, but I’ve definitely felt like it was coming”. A handful of half chances and a few clear-cut efforts amounted to nothing. After both teams taking spells of possession but not really posing a threat the Argyle wing-back Bali Mumba got caught in possession in midfield Dons midfielder Henry Lawrence escaped with the ball and unleashed a shot that was blocked well at close range from Argyle defender Dan Scarr. The deflection fell extremely kindly for the Milton Keynes winger Nathan Holland who neatly tucked it into the far side netting to equalise for his side vastly against the run of play. (Pictured left) With Argyle regaining much control of the game, a deep ball from Jordan Houghton lofted into deep Mk territory saw Whittaker involved again as his stretched leg plucked the ball down before he beat his man and threaded through Ennis who first time rolled it across the keeper and into the far bottom corner to give argyle their second of the game and his eighths of the season to give the greens a slender but much deserved lead at the interval.
The second half started slowly but again the home side never seemed to phased by whatever the away sides could muster and in the opening 10 minutes of the second half Whittaker who set up both the first 2 goals became the scorer as a ball over the top from Adam Randall released Ryan Hardie and with a burst of pace he broke free, twisting back inside he found Whittaker on the edge of the box who teed himself up neatly with a solid first touch before firing back across goal and off the upright to all but confirm the 3 points for the home side who comfortably saw out the remaining 35 minutes or so with very little to report on have now taken 36 points out of 39 available at home this season. Argyle formidable home form alone would leave them 8th in the league and only 4 points of play-offs and with them having the third best away record as well they look very much like a team ready for promotion, with the loss this week of Whittaker back to parent club Swansea, Argyle have stuck their hands in their pockets and have signed 4 players within the first week of the window being open stamping down some serious intentions of a promotion chasing club. Jay Matete has signed on loan from Championship side Sunderland for the rest of the 2022/23 campaign. Whilst the other 3 have been for fees that are rumoured to be between £75,000 and £350,000. Now to a lot of football fans these costs don’t make the eyes water like some premier league transfers might but less than 15 years ago Argyle were having to rely on manager at the time Peter Reid selling his FA Cup winners medal to pay for basic water and Gas bills, it is fair to say even the most emerald green tinted Janner wouldn’t have envisioned the future they would go on to have. The pick of the quartet that will excite the Janner fans is Callum Wright (Wright pictured above whilst on loan at Cheltenham last year against Argyle) signed from Blackpool for what is an undisclosed fee but believed to be around £350,000. Adding depth to the squad and with talent in a couple of positions also adding versatility to suit the different roles Argyle will ask of him. “Callum is someone that we wanted to add to the squad who has a huge potential to develop and improve our team,” Argyle boss Steven Schumacher told the club website after Wright signed the 3 and a half year deal in Devon.