Plymouth Argyle


Watford were held to a goalless draw at home to Plymouth Argyle in the league for the first time ever, with the Hornets ultimately unable to break the deadlock despite dominating the majority of their second Sky Bet Championship clash of the season.

Vakoun Bayo and Matheus Martins were at the forefront of the best of several home opportunities during a lively opening 45 minutes, while Wesley Hoedt was also heavily involved in kickstarting attacks from deep.

Plymouth did enjoy chances of their own - and Ryan Hardie and Morgan Whittaker were among their biggest threats - but a quadruple Hornets substitution opened the door for Yáser Asprilla to ramp up the pressure in the game’s latter stages.

The away defence proved a tough nut to crack and in the end both teams had to settle for a share of the spoils, extending the Golden Boys’ unbeaten league start to 2023/24 ahead of a trip to Stoke City next weekend (Saturday August 19, 3pm KO).

Head Coach Valérien Ismaël made two changes to the XI that started the Carabao Cup defeat at Stevenage in midweek, with skipper Daniel Bachmann returning in goal and Ryan Andrews replacing the injured Jeremy Ngakia at right-back.

Martins looked lively from the off, and after latching onto a long Hoedt ball and delivering a dangerous cross in the opening moments, the Brazilian set up a chance for Bayo in the eighth minute that the Ivorian flashed narrowly wide.

Hoedt was the architect of another home opportunity three minutes later, initiating a smart move involving Ken Sema and Andrews that saw the latter win a corner from a tight angle, and then Imrân Louza went close to doubling his tally for the season with a 30-yard shot that deflected out off the post.

Despite largely being on the backfoot during the first quarter-of-an-hour, Plymouth served a reminder of their quality when Whittaker skipped past a couple of defenders and drilled a deflected effort at goal, and then Hardie similarly won a set-piece after causing problems in the Hornets’ box.

Ryan Porteous came to Watford’s rescue when a miscued pass from Bachmann almost let Whittaker and Hardie in on goal, but the hosts - and Martins in particular - were quickly back on the attack with a string of good crosses that required the Pilgrims’ backline to be on red alert.

Visiting stopper Conor Hazard was grateful to see a Martins attempt blaze over the bar as the clock ticked past the 30-minute mark, and then a Sema fizzer diverted wide off the leg of defender Lewis Gibson.

Hazard’s opposite number Bachmann was called into action to comfortably deny Hardie five minutes before half-time, seconds before Tom Dele-Bashiru let fly with an almost-identical shot at the other end.

Andrews - still searching for his first goal in yellow - was put through at the end of a slick move but couldn’t find the target before a Plymouth defender got in the way, and then Sema fired off target as more chances for the Golden Boys went begging close to the break.

Ismaël’s charges burst out of the blocks after the restart, gaining territory down the flanks and swinging in several teasing crosses, and Bayo just couldn’t quite connect with the ball at close range after it bounced in his direction off a Greens’ player.

A looping Louza ball narrowly evaded the head of Sema and the boot of Bayo on 52 minutes, but Plymouth duly responded through an Adam Randell effort that forced Bachmann into a strong save, before captain Joe Edwards went close with the follow-up.

Asprilla, Ismaël Koné, Giorgi Chakvetadze and Jake Livermore were all introduced to the action in the 56th minute - in place of Martins, Dele-Bashiru, Sema and Francisco Sierralta - and the former was immediately involved, starting a passage of play that drew a last-ditch Dan Scarr challenge to stop Bayo scoring.

Colombia international Asprilla was easy on the eye once again just past the hour, linking up with Andrews who found the side netting, and then having a go himself from near the centre circle and nearly catching Hazard out.

With full-time looming Bayo couldn’t find the target after finding himself through on goal, while away substitute Luke Cundle gave the Vicarage Road faithful a scare when he curled a shot at Bachmann just seconds before the end of the normal 90.

Watford remained on top throughout four minutes of added time, without causing any real further danger to Hazard’s clean sheet, and ref Geoff Eltringham’s whistle soon confirmed the 0-0 full-time scoreline.


Team Stats

Player Stats

Next Game

There are currently no games for this team. Please check back later.