VIDEO: Plymouth Argyle 0 Accrington Stanley 0: Match report
ARGYLE struggled to a goal-less draw against bottom-of-the-table Accrington Stanley at Home Park on Saturday.
The Pilgrims had some excellent early chances against their clearly short on confidence opponents but, crucially, they failed to take any of them.
Argyle were much the better side before half-time but completely lost their way after the break.
They could only come up with a couple of scoring chances as their play lacked any cohesion or conviction.
Accrington, who had lost their previous eight games in all competitions, had more of the possession in the second period but rarely threatened to get a goal themselves.
Argyle's starting line-up showed two changes from the 1-0 defeat at Scunthorpe United last Saturday.
There were recalls for Curtis Nelson at right-back and Paul Wotton in central defence.
Nelson replaced Durrell Berry, who was ill, while Wotton took over from Neal Trotman, who was named among the substitutes.
Despite his recent goals for the reserves, there was no place for 18-year-old striker Tyler Harvey.
Nelson and Conor Hourihane, who was in the centre of midfield, both made their 100th appearances for Argyle.
Striker Marvin Morgan had a tremendous chance to put the Pilgrims into an early lead.
He and Accrington centre-back Tom Aldred tussled for possession, with Morgan coming out on top despite being pulled back.
Morgan had a one-on-one with goalkeeper Marcus Bettinelli and tried to chip the ball over him.
However, the 21-year-old Fulham loan signing made a good save as he pushed it away for a corner.
Referee Fred Graham booked Aldred for fouling Morgan before the set piece was taken.
Argyle had another opportunity in the fifth minute when former Accrington midfielder Rommy Boco went close to scoring.
He strode forward purposefully and his low angled shot clipped off the outside of the far post.
Striker Reuben Reid fired wide and midfielder Hamza Bencherif headed over the crossbar as Argyle dominated.
Reid then stabbed the ball past the outside of a post in the 19th minute after he was played in by midfielder Lewis Alessandra.
The striker had looked offside, but no flag was raised, and it was an excellent chance for him to open the scoring.
Boco provided a dangerous cross into the six-yard area in the 31st minute but Morgan could not quite get on the end of it as he slid in.
Moments later, Accrington had their first chance of the contest when striker Shay McCartan drilled the ball only inches wide.
Reid had another good opportunity in the 38th minute after a nod down from Bencherif inside the penalty area but his weak shot was easily saved by Bencherif.
Argyle had dominated the first half, and created some clearcut chances, but it was still goal-less at the interval.
Less than a minute after the restart, Reid shot wide after a cut-back from Morgan.
Otherwise, it was a very subdued start to the second half, with the Pilgrims lacking the invention to trouble the Accrington defence.
The visitors even began to apply some pressure of their own, forcing a series of corners.
Accrington midfielder Will Hatfield thought he was fouled by Nelson inside the Argyle penalty area in the 59th minute but Graham waved away his appeals.
Hatfield continued his protests at the next break in play and was booked by the referee.
Midfielder Luke Young was sent on as a substitute for Bencherif but the Pilgrims could still not stir themselves.
Harvey replaced Reid in the 70th minute and took over as the strike partner to Morgan.
The fans in the Devonport End had been calling for the introduction of Harvey as Argyle continued to struggle.
Young fired over the bar from 20 yards in the 77th minute before Argyle's Luke McCormick saved a 20-yard drive from Accrington captain Luke Joyce.
It was the visitors who looked more like scoring than Argyle as the game entered the closing stages.
Hourihane had a 25-yard shot deflected wide for a corner by Aldred as it remained 0-0 until full-time.
There were boos from the Green Army at the final whistle and you could understand their frustration after such a poor second half performance from their side.
ARGYLE: Luke McCormick; Curtis Nelson, Paul Wotton, Guy Branston, Jamie Reckord; Lewis Alessandra (Andres Gurrieri 84 mins), Hamza Bencherif (Luke Young 60 mins), Conor Hourihane, Rommy Boco; Reuben Reid (Tyler Harvey 70 mins), Marvin Morgan.
Substitutes (not used): Jake Cole, Andre Blackman, Maxime Blanchard, Neal Trotman.
ACCRINGTON: Marcus Bettinelli; Nicky Hunt, Tom Aldred, Rob Atkinson, Lee Naylor; Peter Murphy, George Miller, Luke Joyce, Will Hatfield; Shay McCartan (James Gray 70 mins), Kayode Odejayi.
Substitutes (not used): Michael Richardson, Kai Naismith, Luke Clark, Piero Mingoia, Josh Windass, Connor Mahoney.
REFEREE: Fred Graham (Essex)
ATTENDANCE: 6,180 (39 away)