Professional Pilgrims secure safe passage into third round

Plymouth Argyle are in the hat for the third round of the FA Cup after defeating Lincoln City 2-0 at Home Park

In these uncertain times, it appears nothing is certain except for death, taxes and Luke Jephcott scoring for Plymouth Argyle.

So it was that the Wales under-21 international maintained his incredible record in the Pilgrims’ 2-0 FA Cup second round win at home to Lincoln City yesterday. The 20-year-old, a relative unknown
this time last year, plundered his 15th goal in 36 Argyle appearances to set Ryan Lowe’s charges on their way to a spot in the prestigious third round against Michael Appleton’s visiting Imps.

The away side edged the stats, except for the one that really matters, as summer signing Ben Reeves volleyed a superb effort past former Argyle custodian, Alex Palmer, on loan from West Bromwich Albion, to seal a welcome win following three games without one.

Frank Nouble, Ben Reeves and Niall Canavan came into the starting line-up, with Ryan Hardie and Jerome Opoku dropping to the bench and Danny Mayor missing out entirely as Lowe looked for a response to Tuesday’s narrow 1-0 loss at Peterborough United, which came on the back of last weekend’s 5-1 humbling at Fleetwood Town.

Jorge Grant and Brennan Johnson registered secondhalf strikes as Lincoln defeated Argyle 2-0 in October’s League One clash at Sincil Bank, with the Imps four points off leaders Hull City going into their cup foray to Home Park, where they met 11th placed Plymouth.

A much-changed Lincoln side were stunned inside just five minutes when, after Palmer punched Kell Watts’ header out of play. George Cooper stood over the resulting corner kick with his ball in met by Jephcott who swept home his eighth of the season.

Michael Cooper, Palmer’s understudy last season, was called upon to prevent captain Harry Anderson netting a quickfire Lincoln equaliser while also bravely claiming Max Melbourne’s cross to the disappointment of some lurking Imps at the back post.

Cooper’s next trick, following treatment from physio Dave Galley, was to get down well to deny Anderson yet again, before batting Robbie Gotts’ effort into the path of Anthony Scully. However, the 21-year-old was able to pounce upon the ball just as Scully’s eyes lit up, with the son of former Exeter City winger Tony denied an equaliser.

As the second-half began, Nouble brought a rare save out of Palmer but could do nothing about Argyle’s next effort on goal. Reeves, from more than 20 yards, struck Nouble’s cross with such venom that it flew past a shell shocked Palmer. The momentum swung back in favour of Appleton’s Lincoln, with Cooper on his toes to cut out Grant’s defected cross and once again keeping out the pesky Anderson. Nouble and Hardie spurned opportunities to make the game safe in the dying embers but ultimately it mattered little as a professional Pilgrims’ performance saw their name into the hat for Monday’s third round draw.

Plymouth Argyle: M Cooper, Wootton, Canavan, Watts, Edwards, Grant (Camara 72), Fornah, Reeves, G Cooper (Opoku, 81), Nouble, Jephcott (Hardie, 86)
Subs not used: Aimson, Telford, Moore, Mc-Cormick.

Lincoln City: Palmer, Anderson, Eyoma, Walsh (Grant, 61), Melbourne, Gotts, Archibald (Jones, 68), Edun, Scully, Johnson, McGrandles.
Subs not used: Montsma, Jackson, Hopper, Roughan, Long.