Plymouth Argyle 1 Wolves 1: 'Monster' Murray impresses Holloway

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The Independent Online

Try as Plymouth Argyle might, before and after a goal credited to summer signing Barry Hayles, the luck of the Irish prevailed at Home Park.

Wolverhampton Wanderers didn't draw a single save from Luke McCormick but a hugely deflected shot from the debutant Dubliner Kevin O'Connor earned them a point that must have felt like all three.

At least the former Republic manager Mick McCarthy was happy with the outcome of this contest, which included seven bookings, although he will know only Matt Murray stood between his side and a beating.

The goalkeeper, ravaged by injury last season, made six fine saves and demonstrated assured, clean handling that had the new Argyle manager, Ian Holloway, exclaiming: "He's a monster! Where did they find him?

"I'm proud of our performance and, on another day, we would have won. There were some good signs for us. Wolves can be a bit fancy Dan at times and I was hoping to catch them on the hop. But Mick has done well there already and made them resilient."

While O'Connor, an Academy product, was one of six newcomers on show for Wolves, Plymouth were highly recognisable from last season.

Paul Wotton, from a deep free-kick, and Lilian Nalis, with a close-range header from Tony Capaldi's resulting corner, brought the first of Murray's heroics mid-way through the first half. But the deserved breakthrough came in the 36th minute when Hayles' half-saved shot from a near-post Capaldi centre looped behind the keeper and seemed to cross the line before Nick Chadwick headed in.

Wolves might have fallen further behind when Hayles turned Gary Breen, only for Murray to block at the expense of a corner. Breen was withdrawn at the break with an ankle problem, and it was only through a large slice of luck that Wolves equalised two minutes into the new half.

Jamie Clapham played the decisive final ball in a precise, patient build-up and O'Connor turned near the edge of the area for a right-foot shot that took a massive deflection off Mathias Doumbe and spun in over McCormick's head.

Even then, only Murray's agility and confidence kept his side level, particularly when David Norris cut in for a shot that was turned behind.

Clapham was then inches away from snatching a last-minute winner for a Wolves team who had only rarely threatened but McCarthy said: "I'm pleased with a point and with how hard the players worked.

"There was some resilient defending and some half-decent stuff played at times. I was pleased with the new signings and Matt Murray was terrific.

"You would expect some gloom, doom and apathy about the club after losing 12 players but I think a bit of it has been lifted by my appointment and a bit more by this performance.''

Plymouth's Nalis (ankle) and Wolves' Breen are both doubtful for midweek.

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