VIDEO: Plymouth Argyle...2 Port Vale...3: FA Cup replay report
ARGYLE could not hold onto a half-time lead as they were beaten in an action-packed FA Cup third round replay at Home Park.
League One outfit Port Vale trailed 2-1 at the break but stormed back in the second period.
It was only Argyle’s third defeat in 18 competitive matches and came after they put in an excellent performance before the interval.
Andres Gurrieri opened the scoring after 90 seconds with a close range header before Port Vale striker Jordan Hugill equalised in the 29th minute.
Captain Conor Hourihane put Argyle 2-1 up six minutes later with a superb solo goal, but the visitors took a firm grip on the game after the interval.
Substitute Ben Williamson equalised in the 63rd minute and Jennison Myrie-Williams made it 3-2.
There was late drama, though, when the Pilgrims were awarded a penalty for a foul on Hourihane by Chris Lines.
The Port Vale midfielder was sent-off, but striker Reuben Reid’s 80th minute penalty was saved.
Argyle had some good late chances to force extra-time but time ran out on them and Port Vale could celebrate victory.
They will be away to Championship club Brighton and Hove Albion in the fourth round later this month.
There was a surprise in Argyle’s starting line-up on Tuesday night with 20-year-old Isaac Vassell making his first start for the club.
Vassell had made nine previous appearances as a substitute, but only one of them had been this season.
That was in the Capital One Cup first round tie away to Birmingham City in August, when Argyle lost 3-2 after extra-time.
Vassell got his chance against Port Vale because Jason Banton was cup-tied.
Banton had played on loan for MK Dons when they won 1-0 at home to Dover Athletic in the second round in December.
Vassell for Banton was one of three changes from the 1-1 draw against Southend United in League Two on Saturday.
Argyle’s ‘cup keeper’ Jake Cole took over from Luke McCormick and Durrell Berry replaced Maxime Blanchard at right-back.
Port Vale only found out shortly before kick-off that defender Joe Davis was ineligible for the tie.
That was because he had been on loan at Luton Town when Port Vale and Argyle played the first game on January 5.
Carl Dickinson slotted into the centre of defence, with midfielder Doug Loft moving to left-back.
It took Argyle only 90 seconds to open the scoring when Gurrieri grabbed his second goal of the season.
Lewis Alessandra whipped in a left-wing cross, which cleared Reid in the centre of the goalmouth.
However, Gurrieri was behind him and unmarked, and he headed the bouncing ball into the net from close range as ‘keeper Chris Neal hesitated.
Gurrieri’s previous goal this term came in the 3-1 FA Cup second round win at home to Welling United in December.
Hugill volleyed over the bar from 18 yards as the visitors tried to come up with an immediate reply.
Gurrieri almost made it 2-0 in the 16th minute when he had a goalbound shot blocked by Chris Robertson after an excellent cut-back from Vassell.
Tenacious play from Alessandra led to another chance for Argyle in the 22nd minute, this time for Reid.
Alessandra did well to not only keep the ball in play but get in a cross, which Neal fumbled.
The ball broke to Reid, who worked it onto his left foot but his shot was partially blocked and took all the pace of it as it rolled through to Neal.
Reid had a long range drive deflected behind for a corner before Port Vale wasted a tremendous opportunity to equalise.
It came in the 28th minute when overlapping right-back Adam Yates crossed into the penalty area and Myrie-Williams fired wide.
Port Vale did draw level moments later, though, with a fine finish from Hugill.
The striker played a slick one-two with midfielder Louis Dodds and then beat Cole with an 18-yard shot into the bottom corner of the net.
It did not take Argyle long to restore their lead, however, after a superb solo goal from Hourihane.
The captain strode forward purposefully as the Port Vale defence backed off and he then drilled a low 25-yard shot past Neal.
The last chance of the first half fell to the visitors, but striker Tom Pope miscontrolled the ball after it was driven into the box by Louis Dodds.
Had his first touch been better, the Port Vale hit-man would have had the goal at his mercy.
Argyle made a substitution at the start of the second half with Maxime Blanchard replacing Berry.
Port Vale had a lot of the possession when play resumed and they forced the Pilgrims onto the defensive.
Lines had a low long-range shot saved by Cole before Argyle centre-back Curtis Nelson came up with a crucial clearance.
Pope was ready to get in a header when Nelson stepped in and dealt with the danger.
Left-back Ben Purrington then conceded a corner when the ball was crossed into the penalty area, with Myrie-Williams lurking behind him.
Had 17-year-old Purrington not read the situation, the Port Vale player would have been almost certain to score.
Port Vale made a double switch in the 61st minute with Hugill and Anthony Griffith being replaced by Williamson and Chris Shuker respectively.
And it was Williamson who equalised a couple of minutes later with his first touch of the ball.
Myrie-Williams cut inside and curled in a left-foot cross, and Williamson beat Cole with a near post header.
The Pilgrims were defending far too deep and Port Vale dominated the action.
Argyle did have a chance in the 73rd minute, though, when Neal pushed a curling free-kick from Hourihane away for a corner.
Argyle made their second substitution soon afterwards as Vassell made way for Nathan Thomas.
Port Vale then went ahead for the first time in the 75th minute through Myrie-Williams.
Pope headed the ball into the path of the Port Vale attacker and he drilled a powerful shot into the bottom left corner of the net.
There was drama in the 79th minute when Hourihane broke into the Port Vale box and he tumbled over, under a challenge from Lines.
Referee Graham Scott pointed the spot, and sent-off Lines for denying a goalscoring opportunity.
The penalty was taken by Reid but Neal dived low to his right and managed to send the ball onto the top of the net.
Blanchard had a close range header deflected away for a corner and Gurrieri’s curling 25-yard shot was pushed away by Neal as Argyle applied late pressure.
There was one late chance for the Pilgrims to send the tie into extra-time but Alessandra sliced the ball wide from eight yards.