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Blackburn 1-1 Plymouth: Whittaker earns a point at 10-man Rovers
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PA Sport staff
Press Association
Plymouth Argyle’s Morgan Whittaker in action during the Sky Bet Championship match at Home Park, Plymouth. Picture date: Saturday March 2, 2024.
Plymouth Argyle’s Morgan Whittaker in action during the Sky Bet Championship match at Home Park, Plymouth. Picture date: Saturday March 2, 2024.

Morgan Whittaker’s 19th goal of the season gave Plymouth a valuable 1-1 draw at 10-man Blackburn in the Sky Bet Championship.

The struggling duo both went into this game knowing they could be in the bottom three by the end of the day and the early signs were good for Rovers, who led through Sammie Szmodics’ 27th goal of the season.

But the hosts elected to sit in and protect their lead, with that approach yielding chances to the impressive Pilgrims who created numerous opportunities in the first half, with Ryan Hardie and Bali Mumba both fluffing their lines with just the goalkeeper to beat.

Plymouth’s chances improved when Kyle McFadzean was sent off early in the second half and they rescued a point their performance deserved when Whittaker slammed home at the far post in the 74th minute.

Both sides are three points clear of danger but where they would be without two of the Championship’s leading marksmen is anyone’s guess.

The wait for a first win under John Eustace goes on for Blackburn who are winless in seven and although Argyle have won once in that time, there was plenty to be encouraged by at Ewood Park.

Blackburn settled quickest and clinically took the lead in the seventh minute when Yasin Ayari found Szmodics 20 yards out, who stepped inside and curled the ball superbly into the right corner.

But Plymouth settled and Hardie, having already stung Leo Wahlstedt’s palms, missed a gilt-edged chance when a long clearance fooled the Rovers defence but, with just the goalkeeper to beat, he slotted wide.

They should have immediately paid the price when Szmodics found Arnor Sigurdsson 12 yards out but he struck the outside of the post with the goal at his mercy.

Plymouth opened Blackburn up once again in the 32nd minute but Mumba’s touch was poor, allowing Wahlstedt to gather.

The chances continued and Lewis Gibson’s ball found Mickel Miller, who skidded a shot past the far post as the onslaught continued.

Blackburn’s vulnerability to the long ball was exploited when McFadzean was dismissed after hauling Hardie down when he was through on goal.

The visitors came close again just after the hour when Hardie evaded a tackle before rolling the ball wide.

Plymouth’s pressure finally paid off 16 minutes from time when Miller’s cross found substitute Alfie Devine, whose left-foot shot was brilliantly saved by Wahlstedt. Although Hardie’s rebound was blocked on the line, there was no denying Whittaker who slotted home at the far post.

To their credit, Blackburn pushed for a winner and only a save from sprawling goalkeeper Michael Cooper denied Harry Pickering just minutes later.

Whittaker almost won it with a piledriver that flew past the post but Plymouth had to settle for a point.


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