Plymouth Argyle beat Barnsley in first clash of 2022-23 season


Plymouth Argyle kicked-off their campaign in style by beating Barnsley 1-0 on home turf thanks to a goal by debutant Finn Azaz.

Over 14,000 fans would flock to Home Park for the Pilgrims’ clash with Barnsley in round one of the 2022-23 League One season.

The game opened up with little to show for both sides, after several attempts from both teams yielded zero goals for most of the first half. Ryan Hardie would be the first to create a strong attacking opportunity, hitting the crossbar after nine minutes before settling back into the game for an uneventful first half.

With 34 minutes gone, the away side would nearly break ahead of Plymouth following a well-timed cross by Nicky Cadden. At the end of this was Jack Aitchison, who bounced the ball against the crossbar, narrowly defying them the lead.

However, as the clock ticked down on the opening 45, Plymouth debutant Azaz collected a cross from Bali Mumba before firing the ball into Barnsley’s goal, handing the Pilgrims the lead before the whistle blew following two added minutes.

With eight minutes gone in the second half, Barnsley seemed on course to equalise as Aitchison moved in on goal, taking a shot before Plymouth keeper Mike Cooper deflected the ball with his leg.

With the pressure on, and less than half an hour to move, Barnsley manager Michael Duff opted to make a double substitution, sending Luke Thomas and James Norwood on to the Home Park pitch.

15 minutes later, it was Steven Schumacher’s turn to switch his side around, bringing off goal-scorer Azaz for Morgan Whittaker while 2021-22 top-scorer Ryan Hardie would also move to the bench, replaced by Niall Ennis.

However, despite best attempts for both sides, no more goals would be scored and Plymouth would end the game on top, finding themselves seventh following the first round of their 2022-23 campaign.

Speaking after the match, Schumacher said he believes there could have been more for Argyle in the match. He said:

“I thought we deserved our lead, there probably could have been maybe another goal. On reflection, they had one good opportunity from a cross that they hit the bar with and we rode our luck on that one.

“But I thought the first half performance was really good. We just didn’t manage to put the chances away and Finn’s pulled a ‘worldie’ out.

So, glad to go in ahead at half time and in the second half, they had a spell to come into the game like I knew they would but even then we still created good chances. I just wish we’d have scored one just so I could relax a bit more.”

Meanwhile, Barnsley will be focused on understanding what went wrong in their first game. Despite holding decent possession of the ball, they were unable to match Plymouth’s attack, taking just one shot on target while Plymouth left the match with five.

The squad are next set to take on Cheltenham Town at home, while Plymouth prepare to travel to Fleetwood in hopes to repeat their home success in away territory.

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