Plymouth Argyle 1 QPR 1
By Ben Kosky LAST week Jim Magilton s glass was half-full – but it must have felt half-empty after the Home Park curse struck his side yet again. Rangers have consistently shipped late and costly goals in this fixture, which they have now failed to win in
By Ben Kosky
LAST week Jim Magilton's glass was half-full - but it must have felt half-empty after the Home Park curse struck his side yet again.
Rangers have consistently shipped late and costly goals in this fixture, which they have now failed to win in their last seven attempts after Plymouth's scrappy 93rd-minute equaliser.
Depending on your point of view, that meant two league games unbeaten or two without a win - but, given that the Pilgrims rarely posed much threat until the dying minutes, it probably has to be seen as the latter.
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The Rs found it difficult to kill teams off under Luigi de Canio, but made strides on that front last season, so Magilton must hope Saturday was a one-off rather than the beginning of a habit.
After a fairly scrappy start, the visitors did work Argyle goalkeeper Romain Larrieu, who scrambled a free-kick from ex-Plymouth man Akos Buszaky around the post and then spread himself to foil Adel Taarabt.
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In between, Larrieu produced a superb stop to keep the scores level, getting down low after Buszaky's corner was half-cleared and Wayne Routledge arrowed a drive through the crowd.
But the keeper was helpless three minutes before the break as Taarabt took advantage of David McNamee's slip, cut inside and thumped a shot that deflected for Heidar Helguson to head home.
A second goal early in the second half would almost certainly have sunk the Pilgrims as Routledge set up Taarabt, whose finish beat Larrieu but ruffled the netting on the wrong side.
The introduction of new signing Cillian Sheridan meant Plymouth looked sharper than they had done in the first period and there was a close call as Buszaky cleared Sheridan's header off the line.
Magilton also had new blood in the bank and Rowan Vine, one of three changes to freshen the forward line, could have sealed the points when he outsprinted Krisztian Timar and headed for goal, but Larrieu poked out an arm to save.
That was the Rs' cue to shut up shop but, even though Fitz Hall's timely challenge denied Sheridan a shooting chance, they struggled to pull down the shutters.
The addition of five more minutes galvanised the Green Army and Hogan Ephraim and Gavin Mahon both blocked the ball on the line before Rory Fallon flicked on a long throw that drifted across the box and appeared to go in off Kaspars Gorkss.
Unlucky? Yes - and, far from luck balancing out over the course of the season, payback for Peter Ramage's fluke goal against Blackpool has been extremely prompt.
Plymouth Argyle: Larrieu; McNamee, Timar, Seip, Sawyer; Judge (Noone 83), Paterson (Duguid 86), Fletcher, Mackie; Fallon, Maclean (Sheridan 45).
QPR: Cerny; Ramage, Hall, Gorkss, Borrowdale; Routledge, Mahon, Leigertwood, Buszaky (Ephraim 72); Taarabt (Vine 76); Helguson (Agyemang 60).