FA CUP Plymouth Argyle 1-0 Stevenage: Late Ruben Lameiras strike breaks battling Boro hearts
PUBLISHED: 17:16 10 November 2018
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Stevenage travelled to Home Park to play Plymouth Argyle in the first round of the FA Cup. Read on for LAYTH YOUSIF's match report.
A battling performance from Dino Maamria’s Stevenage full of character and courage looked to secure a goalless draw against a lively Plymouth Arygle side in the first round of the FA Cup on Saturday – until a late winner by substitute Ruben Lameiras broke Boro’s hearts.
The substitute’s 95th minute low strike beat Seny Dieng - who had performed admirably throughout – to send the Broadhall Way outfit spinning out of the cup.
It was cruel on Stevenage who had worked so hard to repel the home side after making the long trip to Home Park in deepest Devon to take on Derek Adams Green Army determined not to exit two knock-out tournaments in four days.
Their performance was one of utter commitment and concentration worthy of respect which would have pleased the charismatic Tunisian boss no end – even if the end result was hugely disappointing.
The match kicked-off moments after a perfectly observed minutes silence to honour the fallen in front of 5,719 fans including 130 from North Herts who made the six hour drive.
With the armistice due to be marked on Sunday one hundred years to the day since the guns fell silent on the Western Front, fans behind the goal held up banners remembering the heroes.
One such tribute was for Sergeant WJ Baker MM - ‘Billy’ - a Pilgrim of more than 200 games for Argyle – who was killed in action during the Battle of the Somme during attempts to drive the German forces from Serre, in France.
The fact that a game of football was about to start seemed insignificant given the tremendous sacrifices so many millions made during the War to End All Wars – until one understood it was exactly these everyday freedoms that The Fallen fought and died for.
The impeccably observed tribute was followed by a roar from the Green Army and the travelling fans to indicate football would resume.
Maamria’s men had exited the unloved Checkatrade Trophy following a 4-0 defeat at the Cherry Red Stadium on Tuesday evening – with that loss fuelling their resolve to stay in the world’s oldest football tournament.
Dieng was preferred to Paul Farman from midweek with the former Lincoln netminder being eased back to first team duties gradually after a hand injury.
There were two changes from last Saturday’s game with Ben Kennedy and Luke Wilkinson starting the clash ahead of Jamal Campbell-Ryce and Ben Nugent.
With Maamria telling CometSport this week just how much he wanted to lead the club to a cup run this term the visitors looked solid against an early onslaught.
The Pilgrims No10 Graham Carey started impressively, firing narrowly wide early on. Moments latter Freddie Ladapo drove at the heart of the defence only for Scott Cuthbert to execute a perfectly-timed tackle.
The lively Carey then fired over a free-kick after Ladapo was fouled by Wilkinson, prompting referee Alan Young to hand out a deserved yellow card.
As the first half wore on Plymouth strove to break down a solid Boro backline but to no success, fortified as they were by continual drills and hard work at Bragbury End.
The second half started in the same vein with Carey firing wide in the 58th minute as Stevenage struggled to escape their own half.
Joel Grant then had a shot saved by Dieng before substitute Ruben Lameiras – on for Jamie Ness – fired an effort wide.
Steve Seddon was injured after a clash of heading with Yann Songo’o. In the week when Arsenal’s Danny Welbeck suffered a season-ending injury it was worrying to see the young Birmingham City U23 left-back lay motionless on the pitch for a long spell before being stretchered off to a sympathetic round of applause from the home support.
As the clock ticked down – which included 10 additional minutes following Seddon’s injury – Lameiras grabbed his goal to ensure this match would not be remembered fondly by anyone from North Herts.