Argyle beaten as they surrender early lead
PLYMOUTH ARGYLE 1 PORT VALE 3
PLYMOUTH Argyle could not hold onto a half-time lead as they crashed to defeat at Home Park this afternoon, writes Chris Errington.
A superb 30-yard strike from left-back Robbie Williams put the Pilgrims in the ascendancy in the 18th minute.
Argyle deserved their 1-0 lead at the break after playing some excellent passing football.
But Port Vale were much improved in the second period and, after midfielder Paul Wotton limped out of the action, they really got on top.
The Valiants netted three times in only 12 minutes to take complete control of the game.
Jennison Myrie-Williams equalised from the penalty spot, before Ashley Vincent and substitute Ben Williamson added to their tally.
After such a promising start to the match, the Pilgrims would have been bitterly disappointed with the final outcome.
Argyle were still without the injured trio of Nick Chadwick, Paris Cowan-Hall and Rhys Griffiths for the visit of Vale.
Their starting line-up showed one change from the goal-less draw at Torquay United last Saturday.
Onismor Bhasera replaced Joe Lennox on the left-side of midfield, after missing the trip to Plainmoor because he was on international duty with Zimbabwe.
Warren Feeney was again Argyle's lone striker in a 4-1-4-1 formation, with Bhasera and Alex MacDonald providing the attacking width.
Port Vale arrived at Home Park in third position in the League Two table and were the division's top scorers with 13 goals in their previous five games,
Manager Micky Adams had the luxury of selecting an unchanged side for the seventh consecutive match.
Argyle made a confident start to the match, passing the ball with purpose, and they were rewarded when they took the lead in the 18th minute.
Williams drilled a low 30-yard shot past Vale 'keeper Chris Neal and into the bottom left corner of the net.
It was the first time the Pilgrims had taken the lead in a league game this season, coming at the sixth attempt.
Argyle continued to play some fluent football and Neal was forced into a fine save in the 25th minute to keep out a rasping 25-yard drive from Bhasera.
It remained 1-0 until the interval, with the Pilgrims producing easily their best first half performance of the season.
Port Vale did have a couple of chances, though, with Myrie-Williams having a close range shot parried away by Jake Cole.
The Argyle 'keeper also came to the rescue for the Pilgrims early in the second half.
Vale's top scorer Tom Pope unleashed a fierce shot and Cole, showing sharp reflexes, pushed the ball away.
A follow-up attempt by Vincent was badly miscued and Argyle retained their narrow lead.
The home side then went close to scoring a second goal when Wotton whipped a free-kick into the visitors' six-yard area.
Argyle captain Darren Purse and MacDonald could not quite get a finishing touch and, in the end, Neal did well to keep the ball out of the net.
Matt Lecointe was sent on as a 56th minute substitute for the injured Wotton as Argyle started to come under pressure from the visitors.
Lecointe slotted into the centre of midfield, with Luke Young taking on the holding role.
Young was then involved in a key moment in the match, when he conceded a penalty for a foul on Vincent.
Myrie-Williams slotted home the 66th minute spot kick to put the Valiants on level terms.
Neal then made a good save at his near post to push away a powerful shot from MacDonald as Argyle tried to respond to conceding the equaliser.
Vale then took a 2-1 lead in the 74th minute when a flowing move was rounded off by an excellent finish from Vincent.
The rampant visitors grabbed a third goal soon afterwards as Williamson slotted home at the near post.
It could have ended up an even heavier defeat for Argyle but substitute Robert Taylor fired over from a good position in the 83rd minute.
ARGYLE: Jake Cole; Durrell Berry, Darren Purse, Maxime Blanchard, Robbie Williams; Paul Wotton (Matt Lecointe 56 mins); Alex MacDonald, Luke Young (Guy Madjo 75 mins), Conor Hourihane, Onismor Bhasera; Warren Feeney.
Substitutes (not used): Ollie Chenoweth, Curtis Nelson, Joe Lennox, Andres Gurrieri, Johnny Gorman.
PORT VALE: Chris Neal; Richard Duffy, John McCombe, Clayton MacDonald, Doug Loft; Jennison Myrie-Williams, Chris Shuker (Ryan Burge 62 mins), Sam Morsy, Ashley Vincent (Robert Taylor 80 mins); Louis Dodds (Ben Williamson 62 mins); Tom Pope.
Substitutes (not used): Adam Yates, Gareth Owen, Sam Johnson (gk), Ryan Lloyd.
REFEREE: Darren Sheldrake (Surrey)
ATTENDANCE: 6,080 (203 away)
GOALS – Argyle: Williams 18 mins; Port Vale: Myrie-Williams (pen) 66 mins, Vincent 74 mins, Williamson 78 mins