Reds rescued a point thanks to Ollie Palmer’s late penalty against Plymouth at The People’s Pension Stadium to move into the League 2 play-off places.
The second-half sub calmly scored from the spot in the 85th minute after Reece Grego-Cox had been fouled just when it looked as if Argyle were going back to the south-west with all three points after Joe Edwards netted twice in the second half.
It was a fair outcome in the end. Plymouth impressed with their fluid movement, but Reds always threatened when they got the ball in the attacking third while Glenn Morris made three excellent saves the day after signing a new contract. He was a deserved man of the match.
Gabriele Cioffi’s line-up showed one change from Saturday’s 1-0 victory over Mansfield. Palmer, who came off with a knock in that game, was replaced up front by Mason Bloomfield.
Reds got the boost of a goal after just ten minutes from their first attack of note. Bloomfield fed Bez Lubala on the left and his low cross was met by Grego-Cox six yards out and his right-foot shot beat Alex Palmer.
It sparked a strong response from the visitors, who would have equalised ten minutes later had Glenn Morris not been at his best. The keeper first spread himself to block Byron Moore’s shot when it seemed certain the former Crewe man would score. From the corner the ball was worked to Will Aimson, whose low drive was blocked by The Cat.
The visitors had lots of possession in the first half and got into some promising positions. But the hosts defended diligently and gave Morris solid protection while Reds continued to threaten when they broke. Bloomfield held the ball up well, there was always a threat from either wing and Nathan Ferguson saw a typically powerful drive deflected for a corner. Then in stoppage-time Panutche Camara wasn’t far away with a daisy-cutter from 20 yards.
George Francomb replaced Dannie Bulman at the break and after a bright start Reds were indebted to Morris on 51 minutes when he clawed away Aimson’s volley – to the disbelief of the Argyle player.
Palmer replaced Ferguson on the hour and by now Reds were happy to sit in and try and catch Plymouth on the counter. One such opportunity saw Reds have a 3 v 2 advantage only for Camara to give the ball away.
With 16 minutes to go Plymouth levelled. Callum McFadzean stood up a lovely cross from the left to the far post and Edwards was unmarked as he headed home the equaliser. On the balance of play no more than Argyle deserved.
Now the momentum was very much with the visitors. Josh Doherty picked up a yellow card for a foul on Danny Mayor and with 11 minutes to go Plymouth were in front. Reds coughed up possession on the left and Anton Sarcevic’s pass found Edwards in space on the right for a drive into the top corner that gave Morris no chance.
But there was another twist. With five minutes to go Grego-Cox left McFadzean in his wake on the right-hand side of the box and the Argyle man’s clumsy challenge left referee David Rock with no option. Penalty it was and Palmer comfortably beat (Alex) Palmer with a confident strike down the middle.
Reds finished strongly and Palmer was forced to save from Bloomfield in stoppage time but a point apiece it was after a terrific night’s entertainment with Reds now up to seven and five unbeaten in the league.
Reds: Morris; Sesay, Tunnicliffe, Sendles-White, Doherty; Bulman (Francomb 45), Camara; Grego-Cox, Ferguson (Palmer 60), Lubala; Bloomfield.
Pictured: Reece Grego-Cox celebrates his first goal of the season. Photo by James Boardman