Plymouth Argyle 4-3 Lincoln City
Joe Edwards scored a 91st-minute winner at Home Park as Plymouth Argyle came from behind to beat Lincoln in a seven-goal thriller.
Argyle had scored two goals in the first 12 minutes as Kelland Watts tapped in a free-kick and Danny Mayor fired a long-range effort into the bottom corner.
Lincoln were not phased by this and responded in the 22nd minute when Conor McGrandles finessed a shot into the bottom corner from outside the area.
Lincoln started the second half the better of the two sides and took the lead when Jorge Grant scored two penalties within two minutes.
The first was given for a blatant foul by Watts on Brennan Johnson. The second was for a foul on Grant by Mayor.
Lincoln were in the ascendancy but the Pilgrims’ determination brought them back into the game when they equalised in the 76th minute. Joe Edwards diverted home a long shot from Conor Grant.
With the game heading into extra time captain Edwards led by example to seal the win for the hosts. He received a pass from Panutche Camara before hammering the ball from outside the area into the bottom left corner past former Argyle loanee Alex Palmer.
As a result, Argyle close the gap to the playoff to just four points as Lincoln slip further away from the top spot.
Argyle were looking to bounce back from a disappointing 3-0 loss in midweek and opened the scoring within three minutes. A free-kick was floated in the area and looked to the ricochet of a hand of a Lincoln player. Nonetheless, the ball fell kindly to Watts who stabbed the ball into the bottom corner to give Argyle the lead that their bright start deserved.
The Pilgrims were oozing with confidence and doubled their lead in the 12th minute. Tyrese Fornah did exceptionally well to intercept the ball in midfield and he fed the ball to Mayor. The tricky midfielder danced his way through a number of challenges before firing a powerful low shot into the bottom right corner past Palmer. Only his second goal of the season, but a memorable one for the mercurial number 10.
THE LORD MAYOR!#pafc
— Plymouth Argyle FC (@Only1Argyle) February 27, 2021
Lincoln responded in a fashion that you’d expect from a side fighting at the top of the table and deservedly found a way back into the match when Conor Mcgrandles scored in the 22nd minute. The Scottish midfielder dummied past Fornah not once but twice before cooly finding the bottom corner from the edge of the area to reduce the deficit.
The remainder of the half saw Lincoln have the majority of the possession but the Imps failed to break down a vigilant Argyle backline. Fornah was influential in denying the away side a way through but collected a yellow card for a foul on fellow Nottingham Forest loanee Brennan Johnson.
At halftime Argyle made one change bringing on Camara for Fornah in order to protect the defensive midfielder from collecting a second yellow card. With Grant moved into the holding midfield role.
Lincoln utilised Argyle’s forced substitution by flooding the midfield with attacking players and created a number of opportunities to equalise. Johnson as ever was a threat, in the 47th minute he found a way past Grant and scuffed a shot goalwards which had to be parried wide by Cooper.
The constant pressure from the away side delivered in the 58th minute when Johnson won a penalty following a rash challenge from Watts. The midfielder’s slightly heavy touch invited the defender to make the tackle. But Watts, on loan from Newcastle, made contact with the man and not the ball for a stonewall penalty.
Jorge Grant stepped up and slotted a penalty down the middle to level the scoreline. Despite Michael Cooper diving left he managed to get a leg on the ball but it was not enough to keep it out.
Just two minutes later the game had been turned on its head as Lincoln were awarded another penalty. Grant tricked his way into the area and past Mayor before going down. Replays showed any contact that might have been made was minimal, but enough for Kevin Johnson the referee to point to the spot.
Grant, more convincingly this time buried the penalty into the bottom left corner to give the away side the lead.
Argyle were forced into another change as their woes looked to continue when Jerome Opoku, a stalwart since signing on loan from Fulham picked up an injury that looked similar to the one that forced him off in midweek against Peterborough. Crystal Palace loanee Sam Woods was brought on in his place.
The changing moment in the second half was a half-chance for Ryan Hardie that really turned the tide for the home side.
In the 72nd minute the forward, who signed permanently from Blackpool in January, drove towards the area, took the ball around the goalkeeper, but saw his effort cleared off the line. The rebound fell to Edwards who saw his fierce shot saved by Palmer.
But just four minutes later Argyle got the equaliser that came in somewhat bizarre fashion. Adam Lewis did well to chip a cross into the area which missed Edwards who looked to be pushed in the area.
The ball was collected by Camara who calmly laid the ball back to Grant, who in expert fashion side-footed a shot goalwards. The ball looked to be goalbound but Lincoln had thrown men on the line to block the shot. But Edwards flicked the ball away from them and into the top corner.
The game became stretched as both sides went in search of a winner. Johnson had the best chance for the away side in the 86th minute when he found himself one on one with Cooper but he saw his effort diverted away from goal by the trailing leg of the young goalkeeper.
Momentum was with the home side, who certainly will have missed the Green Army to roar them on in situations like this, and in the 91st minute, they got the goal their late pressure deserved.
They worked the ball down the right side where Camara picked up possession. He fed the ball into Edwards who’s touch caused the ball to pop into the air. A perfect setup for a half volley. The right wing-back struck the shot hard and true beyond Palmer and into the bottom left corner to seal a momentous victory for Plymouth Argyle.
— Plymouth Argyle FC (@Only1Argyle) February 27, 2021
Carnage on the pitch, there would have been carnage in the stands had fans been allowed to see this spectacle. But there will be many happy Pilgrims fans watching from home.
Just four points off the playoffs, Argyle and the Green Army can begin to dream again. They’ve got a great opportunity to turn those dreams into reality when they take on lowly Northampton in their next game.