Millers 1-1Plymouth Argyll
The job of the referee at any game is to ensure it`s played to the laws of the game, be impartial and not be influenced by the players. A few years ago, players and fans alike asked for consistency in games. A code was brought in for "professional" fouls having certain punishments. If only yesterday`s ref had done that, what was a fairly dour match may have improved as a spectacle. Andy Haines seemed to use his whistle to allow him to catch up with play as he lagged behind. His often cloudy decisions seemed to go with who shouted loudest, but the game…
Plymouth set up in an organised way with two tight banks of 4 in front of their area. They did leave 2 men up front. Could any lessons be learned here? When they won the ball, my how quickly they broke getting two wing backs flying up the field to make it 4-2-4 at times. The Milers saw weakness on Plymouth`s right and Williams, Mattock and Vaulks all made runs on that flank. In Williams` case he was clearly fouled as the ball came to him. We were awarded a free kick but no more. Puzzling! Towell put in a tackle which he appeared to have won. Mr Haines gave a free kick and booked him for what looked innocuous piece of play. Williams had a chance but over hit the ball. Ball also produced a sublime piece of skill to kill a lofted ball but couldn`t beat Roos. A cross in to the box was headed down and, from where I`m sat, looked to be fair for Wood to go for. He did and made contact with Roos. Foul! Cried the Plymouth players as they, not for the only time in the afternoon, surrounded Mr Haines. Wood found his name in the book. As the half wore on, it looked to me that Argyll would be delighted with a point. The 2 banks of 4 made it difficult to break down. When I played I was always told to pass the ball in front of your team mate to move on to. We seem to play straight in to feet and I felt good openings were wasted as we, frustratingly, couldn`t get the ball out from under feet to get a shot away. Jerry Yates had started the game up top but his inexperience and lack of physical presence allowed him to be bossed at times. Notwithstanding that, I also felt that the Plymouth CB`s were allowed to take more than a fair amount of licence with him without punishment.
Half Time Rotherham United 0 - 0 Plymouth Argyll<
BR>Argyll were out in the cold, waiting for the home team to show for the start of second half and their intent was clear from early on. Their two banks of 4 seemed to have pushed up by about 5 yards taking the game to the Millers. If the home side`s intent had been trying to keep warm at half time, Richard Wood wasn`t out in the cold for long. A ball in to him wasn`t controlled and as it broke, former Miller Ryan Taylor nipped in. Wood tried to retrieve it but, too slow. At real speed it appeared a nailed on booking. That didn`t stop the Argyll players surrounding Mr Haines, pointing out Wood was already booked. He`s got to go for such a heinous foul on Taylor. Look the man was clearly in need major medical attention. The red card was brandished, Wood trudged off and we saw the first Christmas miracle as Taylor got to his feet and ran away. The stage was set for Taylor to compound things and score, which he did. A period of sustained pressure from Argyll resulted in corner after corner. Taylor lost his marker and cut across the Millers defence to head past Marek. How could we concede this goal? It was identical to David Ball`s goal last week. Perhaps they should get him to practice that move with our defenders. I`ve got to say that I`m not happy when we`re defending corners when we have everyone back. We clear and we`re back under pressure. I know this game was different as we were down to 10 men but, Mr Warne we need an out ball! After that, I thought the next goal would only be an equaliser. The team showed spirit and fight that had been lacking in the first period. The goal came late in the game. A pin ball moment in the area found Semi Ajayi on the edge of the 6 yard box to fire home. A point, delighted fans and the only thing that remained was for Mr Haines to crown things off. A long clearance, a green arm is raised and knocks it in to the Millers player. Free kick to the Millers! I mean Plymouth, he`s given it that way now, home fans boo, as Argyll look to waste time. No! back to the original as it`s now our free kick. You can`t make it up.