Cardiff held by Plymouth as Whittaker scores twice

26 December 2023 0 By Total Football News

Plymouth once again came from behind to salvage a point as they remained unbeaten under caretaker boss Neil Dewsnip as they drew 2-2 at Cardiff City Stadium.

Having twice battled back from two goals down to sneak a 3-3 draw against Birmingham in the first game since the departure to Stoke of former boss Steve Schumacher, the Pilgrims hit back from 2-1 down in the second half to share the spoils.

Morgan Whittaker bagged both goals for the visitors and almost conjured up a winner. Argyle also scored at the wrong end of the pitch, gifting Cardiff their opening goal with a misdirected back pass.

It was the first league meeting between the two clubs since Boxing Day 2009, when a goal for Argyle by Gary Sawyer earned them a 1-0 draw. Fourteen years on they took the lead after only 17 minutes when Whittaker struck.

Karlan Grant celebrates after scoring for Cardiff against Plymouth

Image: Karlan Grant celebrates after scoring for Cardiff against Plymouth

A free-flowing move down the left flank allowed Ben Waine to send a low cross along the six-yard box to allow Whittaker to tap home his 11th goal of the season.

Almost immediately visiting skipper Lewis Gibson had to move smartly to check Kion Etete at the other end, but Cardiff’s threat up front failed to materials until they had been gifted an equaliser in the 31st minute. A back pass from Matt Butcher to goalkeeper Conor Hazard missed its mark and rolled past Hazard and just over the line despite a despairing lunge from the keeper.

That goal settled down the home side, playing in front of their owner, Vincent Tan, for the first time in 13 months, and they eventually took the lead two minutes into the second half.

A short-corner move led to a low cross from the right by Rubin Colwill that hit a defender and fell straight into the path of the advancing Karlan Grant on the edge of the area.

He hit it sweetly first time with his left foot and the ball thundered into the roof of the net to earn his side the lead.

Argyle made three substitutions just past the hour mark and then Cardiff emptied their bench.

The game opened up and in the 66th minute Whittaker cut in from the right edge of the box, shot once to force a save out of Jak Alnwick in the home goal and then followed up to rifle home the rebound.

It was end-to-end stuff from there on as both teams tried to force the winner in front of a crowd of 23,983 that certainly got their money’s worth.

The managers

Cardiff’s Erol Bulut:

“We managed the first half better than the second half. We made small mistakes in the build-up, and the confidence was the same as in the first half.

“In the end, we could have won the game when Callum Robbo passed to Karlan Grant. It was a game that was 50-50 from both sides, with chances nearly the same.

“They pushed a lot in the second half and created a few chances. In the end, it is one-point and we have to live with that.”

Plymouth’s caretaker boss Neil Dewsnip:

“The players were devastated in the dressing room. We had more than enough chances to win the game and it was an opportunity missed.

“We had to work really hard for our two goals, so to gift them a goal Was unfortunate. Morgan is in a rich vein of form and scored twice.

“But Bali Mumba hit the crossbar late on and he knows he let himself and his team-mates down. He should have scored from there.

“We haven’t won yet since Stephen (Schumacher) left and I’m desperate to win. The players are galvanised and they have moved on from Stephen’s departure.

“He did a great job for Argyle and we wish him well at Stoke City. But the players are now waiting for a new manager.

“We’ve had more than 100 applications so far and the important thing is for us to get the appointment right, not to rush it.”

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