Plymouth Argyle 0-3 Peterborough United
Plymouth Argyle’s nine-match unbeaten run came to a shuddering conclusion as they lost to title-chasing Peterborough at Home Park.
The first half was uneventful but the second was anything but as the visitors scored their first of the game just 18 seconds into the half when Sammi Szmodics converted at close range.
Peterborough sealed the win with two more well-taken goals from Jonson Clarke-Harris and Jack Taylor.
The result means that Argyle fall to 12th in the table whereas Peterborough go the top of the league due to Lincoln drawing with relegation-threatened Swindon.
Both sides started the game well and committed to playing out from the back. Szmodics went closest for Peterborough with a turn and shot from outside the area which narrowly missed the target.
Niall Ennis has looked an exciting signing since he arrived from Wolves in January and the youngster was at it again in the 22nd minute.
He skilfully nutmegged the experienced Mark Beevers and drove toward the area before being hacked to the ground by the experienced centre back a challenge that earned him a yellow card. The resulting free-kick was cannoned into the wall by Conor Grant.
The away side’s best chance of the first half fell to Szmodics in the 33rd minute. Clarke-Harris nicked the ball off Jerome Opoku and skilfully chopped back into the area to lay of Szmodics.
But despite being unmarked and with time on his side the midfielder ballooned his effort high above the bar and into the Devonport Stand.
Argyle had one final opportunity to break the deadlock before halftime when Panutche Camara skilfully dummied his way through the Peterborough defence but saw a well-hit strike palmed away by Christy Pym.
Peterborough started the second half in emphatic fashion scoring within the first minute.
From the kick-off, they found Joe Ward with a long ball. Ward had the vision to fire a low cross which evaded the Argyle defence and allowed for a simple tap in for Szmodics to score his 10th of the season.
Peterborough doubled their lead with a flowing counter-attack. Having won back possession from Argyle they drove forward.
Szmodics played a delightfully weighted pass to Ward who earned his second assist of the game when he picked out the unmarked Jonson Clarke Harris who couldn’t miss from 6 yards out.
Argyle responded to the goal well and had their best goal-scoring opportunity of the game. The Pilgrims worked the ball well to Conor Grant who’s delicious ball found Camara in the area. The midfielder diverted the ball goalwards but saw his effort somehow kept out by Pym.
Argyle made all five of their substitutions in an attempt to get back into the game and two of them combined to create an opportunity.
Adam Lewis and Ryan Hardie worked tirelessly down the left side, Lewis fizzed a cross into the area which defender Beevers narrowly deflected past his own goal.
As Argyle pushed for a way back into the game it was always likely they could leave spaces at the back and in the 84th minute Posh took advantage of that with the goal of the game.
Tricky winger Siriki Dembele went on another of his darting runs before laying the ball off to Jack Taylor, and the midfielder belted the ball which curled away from Michael Cooper and straight into the top corner.
— Peterborough United (@theposhofficial) February 23, 2021
Argyle have another tough challenge in their next fixture as they host Lincoln on Saturday.