As is frustratingly becoming the norm, such is the rotten luck with injuries thus far, Newport boss Justin Edinburgh was forced to shuffle his back line once more. Defender Harry Worley being the latest casualty that saw Robbie Willmott come in at left-wing-back, with Billy Jones shifting across to complete the trio of centre-backs. The game got off to an inauspicious start that would sadly set the tone for the entire evening; neither side able to create a worthwhile opening of note during a turgid opening half-hour.
The first threat from the visitors took some 29 minutes in arriving; the impressive Ryan Jackson surging forward before striking a deflected, 20-yard effort into the side netting. From the resulting corner, Ismail Yakubu powered a header wide of Luke McCormick’s goal when handily placed. Shortly afterwards, the roving Jackson created another half-chance for former Argyle forward Chris Zebroski; whilst at the other end, Lenny Pidgeley was called into serious action for the first time when he saved well from Lewis Alessandra.
The interval appearance of guest of honour, the legendary forward Tommy Tynan, naturally went down a treat with both sets of supporters; however we were quickly back as we were once the real business had restarted. Conor Washington tried in vain to inject a little excitement, as his rasping, long-range effort flew over the Plymouth crossbar on 49 minutes, before Yakubu tested McCormick with another header that was unfortunately straight at the stopper.
Pidgeley was alert and ready to clear any danger on 62 minutes; punching away a Luke Young free-kick, before an unforeseen delay occurred on 76 minutes when a section of the Home Park floodlighting went out. Despite humoured supporters trying valiantly to rectify the mishap by shining their plethora of mobile phones at the pitch, a ten-minute delay was to occur before normal service was resumed. Sadly, there was still precious little to get excited about; Young blasting over for Argyle, whilst at the other end, Maxime Blanchard superbly thwarted Washington’s fine run and shot.
“I think we’re delighted with a point on the road,” explained boss Justin Edinburgh post-match; “It was a solid performance rather than a spectacular one, but we’ve gone to a big club – one we look up to – and I thought we were certainly worthy of the point. But we didn’t do enough to win the game; we huffed and puffed, but it was just that final ball that let us down. Coming to a place like Plymouth, a club who not long ago were in the Championship, is a big occasion for this football club and we can hold our heads up high.”