Over 14,000 fans were in attendance for yet another enjoyable Plymouth Argyle victory. Goals in either half from Niall Ennis and Ryan Hardie sealed the three points for the hosts as Bolton Wanderers return home empty-handed, but there was another star at the other end of the pitch as Michael Cooper secured another clean sheet for his beloved Argyle.
Michael Cooper Stars as Argyle Overcome Bolton Wanderers
Home Park Is a Fortress
Home Park was bathed in sunshine and the weather wasn’t the only thing making the Plymouth Argyle faithful grin from ear to ear. Games in Plymouth and clean sheets have gone hand-in-hand so far this season for Steven Schumacher with his side yet to concede in the league in Devon. From the first whistle to the last, the Green Army were in fine voice.
Conceding five at The Valley is something of a blemish on Argyle’s record, but Charlton’s success has led to a fiery reaction. Niall Ennis was on target last weekend against Forest Green Rovers and he found the back of the net here once again. The hard work and persistence from the former Wolverhampton Wanderers man paid dividends.
At 1-0, substitute Amadou Bakayoko looked set to level proceedings – Argyle shot-stopper Michael Cooper had other ideas though. The icing on the cake was applied by a pair of substitutes as Morgan Whittaker and Ryan Hardie linked up with aplomb. Whittaker, on loan from Swansea City received the ball from Hardie before returning it to the Scotsman who gladly fired beyond James Trafford.
Ignoring the Carabao Cup defeat to Peterborough United, Argyle have done nothing but win on home soil with the visitors failing to score. Finn Azaz scored the only goal of the game on opening day against Barnsley and he was on target again versus Peterborough in League One action.
— Plymouth Argyle FC (@Argyle) August 27, 2022
Michael Cooper, He’s One of Our Own
One of the chants ringing around Home Park following the conclusion of another league win was “Michael Cooper, he’s one of our own”. The 22-year-old, born in Exeter of all places, is close to the hearts of all in green and white.
His finest moment of this outing saw him deny former Coventry City man Bakayoko. The Sierra Leone international looked set to bag the equalizer but Michael Cooper had other ideas.
Michael Cooper will play for England by the next Euros.
— Sam Farley (@FarleyWrites) August 27, 2022
Cooper isn’t the only academy product to be reaping the rewards of the faith bestowed in them by Ryan Lowe, and now Schumacher. Adam Randell has been a regular in the middle of the park whether it be from the start of from the bench whilst Luke Jephcott was the man to lead the line for the last couple of years.
In the early stages of this clash with Bolton, the Argyle goalkeeper was tasked with playing long balls up to Ennis and co to no avail. His distribution out from the back is very good though and he proved this, regularly sending the ball out to fullbacks Joe Edwards and Bali Mumba with elite precision.
The Last Word
“Gritty” was the buzzword used in the post-match press conference and that sums up the outing from all in an Argyle shirt. From back to front, from Michael Cooper to the likes of Niall Ennis and Danny Mayor, their desire led to results.
“Both teams were stopping each other playing out so it was a fairly direct game all-in-all” was what Michael Cooper had to say. He then went on to talk about THAT save: “I just turned and kept it out somehow.” A more detailed analysis followed from Cooper. “Daz [goalkeeping coach] Darren Behcet identifies a few things that the other team does so [I] got familiar with a cut-back that they might have. I was half ready for it as soon as he squared it.”
A fair amount of modesty is on show here from the Argyle goalkeeper and it was a modest afternoon in general. The sign of a great side is being able to secure three points even when the performance is far from perfect. Next up for Argyle in the league is a trip to Derby County.