Despite those threats, Argyle were enjoying territorial superiority, with Hardie curling a 20-yarder into the arms of Mannion, followed by a lovely touch and turn by Cosgrove from a Whittaker pass but the final shot was well over. Mayor came to the party with a delicious drop of the shoulder and a curling effort that shaved the far post. The next chance came from a skidding Randell cross that found Whittaker but massive credit to Harrison Dunk for a goal-saving block. Ennis replaced Cosgrove with 20 minutes remaining but Cambridge then created a huge chance for Smith. Cooper raced from his line and produced another fabulous save for his scrapbook. Similar to the first half, Argyle began to dominate possession in the closing stages and a free-kick on the far right-hand side of the penalty area was delightfully clipped over the wall by Whittaker, who stared at the night sky in anguish as the ball rippled the side-netting.
Sam Cosgrove and Matt Butcher also came in for Niall Ennis and Nigel Lonwijk. Cambridge entered the game on a run of three defeats but they were first to muster a threat on a sunny but bitterly cold afternoon, James Brophy jinking past Butcher, who dragged back his man and received a yellow card inside two minutes. The U’s continued to press and a free-kick on the edge of the area was curled toward the corner by Harvey Knibbs, but Cooper read his intentions, diving full-length to his left to palm clear.
The Pilgrims took control in the latter part of the first period, conjuring one big chance with a scuttling free-kick from Morgan Whittaker. Macaulay Gillesphey controlled it on his chest but the final volley was blocked bravely by former Green Lloyd Jones. Danny Mayor replaced Miller at the interval and he joined his team-mates in applauding captain Edwards for an outstanding defensive block after the ball bounced loose from a Cambridge free-kick. Prior to that intervention, Knibbs had screwed a shot wide from a great position.
Cambridge United vs Plymouth ArgyleCambridge United 0 Argyle 0 Another big save from Mike Cooper and some near-misses was the story of a first blank stalemate of the season for Argyle. Cooper found a super stop to thwart Sam Smith deep in the second half, while the Greens were unable to find their normal radar to seriously trouble Cambridge goalkeeper Will Mannion. Argyle manager Steven Schumacher made three changes from the side that lost to Port Vale eight days ago, with a first start for Mickel Miller in place of Bali Mumba.
Argyle settled into the game with a spell in the Cambridge half, culminating in a Miller corner that saw Cosgrove bundled to the ground, prompting a polite penalty enquiry, ignored by referee Sunny Gill. A strong defensive header from James Wilson repelled the next Cambridge set-piece, as the game struggled to find a consistent pattern, with the ball spending a lot of time in the air. Miller changed the dynamic with a clipped cross from the left and the ball fell to Joe Edwards on the edge of the box for a shot deflected wide of Mannion’s near post. The corner was recycled by Adam Randell with a super cross from the right and Cosgrove’s looping header, cleverly executed while facing away from goal, bounced off the bar.