Match report: Lads held at Plymouth

Plymouth Argyle 0-0 Sunderland AFC

Sunderland were held to a goalless draw at Plymouth Argyle on Easter Monday.

Plymouth entered the game on the back of a six-game winning streak at Home Park, during which they hadn’t conceded a goal, so it was little surprise that the opening 45 ended level.

However, the scoreline didn’t tell the full story and both sides had ample opportunity to edge in front, with Ryan Hardie going closest in the latter stages of the half.  

The Lads asserted their dominance following the restart and enjoyed the bulk of the possession, but their clearest sight at goal was thwarted by goalkeeper Michael Cooper.  

A point gained saw the Black Cats move back into the top six, two points behind Argyle with a game in hand over Steven Schumacher.

Alex Neil made one change for the Home Park encounter, as captain Corry Evans returned to the starting XI in place of Lynden Gooch.

Argyle were handed a boost as 19-goal top scorer Hardie made his comeback, but Alex Pritchard continued to miss out for the Lads.

Seeking his tenth goal in as many games, Nathan Broadhead led the first Sunderland attack, but the striker was dispossessed by Panutche Camara before he could find Ross Stewart.

The on-loan Everton man continued to provide the spark for the Black Cats, with Steven Sessegnon – brother of Tottenham Hotspur’s Ryan – the primary threat in green.

Electric wing play from the Fulham loanee led to the first save, as Anthony Patterson did well to drop down and deny Niall Ennis.

Macauley Gillesphey tried his luck from range and Stewart failed to capitalise on a pinpoint Elliot Embleton pass soon after, although the best chance of the opening period fell to Hardie.

Danny Mayor and Conor Grant exchanged passes on the left to fashion the opportunity, but the striker headed wide from eight yards after winning an aerial duel with Dennis Cirkin.

Cooper was forced into action with 50 minutes played to deny Broadhead, who fired a low strike at goal after latching on to an incisive through ball from Evans following the restart.

Cirkin collected a yellow card for ending an Argyle counter attack by clipping the heels of Ennis, with an important block ensuring Grant’s effort deflected wide after a driving run from Mayor.

Neil shuffled his pack with 16 minutes remaining and introduced Lynden Gooch, with Patrick Roberts following the American into the fray moments later.

Dan Neil was introduced with 10 minutes on the clock and Plymouth also introduced fresh legs, but there was nothing to separate the sides at the full-time whistle.

Plymouth Argyle: Cooper, Gillesphey, Houghton, Wilson, Scarr, Hardie, Mayor, Ennis (Jephcott 76), Grant, Sessegnon, Camara (Randell 64).
Subs not used:
Burton, Broom, Garrick, Law, Crichlow.

Sunderland AFC: Patterson, Wright, Winchester, Cirkin, Evans, Matete (Neil 80), O’Nien (Gooch 74), Clarke, Embleton (Roberts 76), Broadhead, Stewart.
Subs not used: Burge, Batth, Xhemajli, Hume.


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