Hats off to nine-man Argyle on bizarre day

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Oldham were frustrated in their home match against Plymouth before a 4-2 win finally saw them take the three points.

Two minutes into stoppage time and Argyle’s supporters thought their 600-mile round-trip would see them earn a point.

Two minutes into stoppage time and Argyle’s supporters thought their 600-mile round-trip would see them earn a point. The point will have been well earned too.

Down to ten men in the first five minutes and reduced to nine almost immediately before the break, Peter Reid’s side doggedly tried to keep their lead, but finally succumbed after Oldham struck in the third and fourth minutes of stoppage time.

Bondz N’Gala was the first man to be dismissed inside five minutes. The former West Ham trainee was the last man when he felled Ousmare Tounkara to give Oldham a spot-kick. Dale Stephens put the penalty away to seemingly consign Plymouth to a fruitless afternoon.

Plymouth manager Reid would never lie down and settle for a defeat as a player and his side were just as defiant. Craig Noone slipped in between two Oldham defenders to find the corner of the net from just outside the area, equalising for the away side inside two minutes.

There was no ‘schoolboy defending’ this week from the Latics, though Dickov will have been less impressed with the attendance as his plea to Manchester City fans fell on deaf ears.

The once seemingly routine afternoon for Oldham and their supporters would not return. Despite having Kari Arnason dismissed for a clumsy challenge at the end of the first half, Bradley Wright-Phillips put the Pilgrims into a shock lead. Wright-Phillips picked up a long ball from goalkeeper David Button and wrong-footed the home defence as he came inside and curled an unstoppable shot past Dean Brill.

Plymouth now had a lead to defend and desperate defending would be the ‘name of the game’ for the rest of the half.

It took Oldham 20 minutes to strike back. Sunderland loanee Oumare Tounkara was on hand to dispatch a powerful header beyond Button after a short corner caught the Plymouth defence unawares.

The pressure continued and it told as the fatigued defence folded in the closing stages. Another Sunderland loanee Jean-Yves M’Voto nodded in Stephens’ floated ball to give Oldham the lead for the first time since the opening seven minutes.

The win was secured a minute after as Dean Kelly was found by Kieran Lee’s cross as he waited at the back post. The striker timed his header beautifully to give Oldham a much-needed boost ahead of the derby clash with Rochdale. 

With only two points separating the two rival teams, Tuesday’s first league meeting at Spotland since 1974 promises to be an electric occasion.

Disclaimer: The views in this article are that of the writer and may not replicate those of the Professional Footballers' Association.

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