Precious win leaves Plymouth dreaming of survival

For the first time this season, Plymouth Argyle now have clear daylight between themselves and the relegation zone.

Dropping out of the football league is still a very real possibility for the Pilgrims, but the win yesterday could prove priceless come the end of the season.

Bradford have the worst away record of any team in League Two so our confidence was high going into this game, and so it proved as with just four minutes on the clock Argyle took the lead. A lovely curling free kick by Paul Wotton was met with ease by Juvhel Tsoumou at the back post, who headed home with aplomb to send the Green Army into seventh heaven.

It was the first of many long balls into the Bradford area that exposed the Bantams makeshift defence. After having two of their defenders sent off in midweek, and missing two more through injury, the visitors always looked weak at the back and had Argyle been more clinical they could easily have scored more than one.

Despite taking an early lead, Argyle did not take their foot off the gas at all. It was only three minutes later when a sweet Robbie Williams free kick hit the post and was unlucky not to go in as it rebounded off the sprawling Bradford keeper’s head and out for a corner.

Bradford did grow into the game as the half went on though, and Argyle were given warning signs when first Ravenhill and then Flynn both went close for the Bantams with efforts from just outside the area.  Syers was then denied for Bradford when Durrell Berry, who has improved greatly recently, cleared his well met header off of the Argyle line. The Greens needed to go into half time with their lead intact, and did just that, although the lead could have been greater had Nick Chadwick made a  better connection on an Ashley Hemmings cross

Argyle started the second half the brighter of the two sides with Chadwick and MacDonald both shooting narrowly wide before Simon Walton earned his wages with a heroic goal line clearance when it looked like Bradford had equalised.

Steven Fletcher making his debut for Argyle, came on with 20 minutes to go. Despite being 39, the veteran has never been out on loan until now. The reception he received from the Green Army as he warmed up suggests that his arrival to help fight the Argyle cause is appreciated by all associated with the Greens.

The big target man was obviously deployed to make the ball stick at the Bradford end of the field, as Argyle entered the territory where heartbreaking equalisers often come. And so, exactly as they did 2 weeks ago, Argyle led 1-0 at home with 10 minutes to go. The pressure on the Plymouth goal increased, but the defence did not crack. For a gut wrenching second with only two minutes left to play, it looked like Bradford had equalised. However, the linesman’s flag, so often the bane of a football fans life, came to Argyle’s rescue and rightly disallowed the late strike.

It was the last scare of the game for Argyle, as the final whistle came just seconds later. This was met with one of the loudest cheers I have ever heard at Home Park, the realisation a proper gap had opened up between us and the relegation zone was evident on every face, and the chants of ‘We are staying up’ went on for a good five minutes after full time.

The next step towards safety for Argyle?  The good Friday clash at Hereford, a team bottom of the league and fighting for their football league status. Another three points there and the table will look even better still as the dream slowly becomes reality.