Plymouth star forced off following horror clash of heads… and replacement carried off on stretcher after first touch | The Sun

PLYMOUTH ARGYLE lost striker Ryan Hardie to injury after a horror clash of heads with Rotherham defender Daniel Ayala.

His replacement Mustapha Bundu then had to be wheeled off on a stretcher moments later after being crunched by Hakeem Odoffin following his first touch.

The struggling Millers made the long trip down to Devon hoping to close the gap to their opponents in the Championship table down to seven points.

Leam Richardson's side got off to a good start and took the lead via Jamie Lindsay on 16 minutes.

Argyle's afternoon then went from bad to worse when they lost top scorer Hardie after a nasty accidental clash of heads with Ayala.

Both players received lengthy treatment, with the forward coming out the worse for wear.



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Ayala, 33, was able to continue.

But Hardie, 26, had to be very carefully helped off the field by medical staff on 36 minutes.

Argyle boss Steven Schumacher turned to back-up striker Mustapha Bundu, bringing on the Sierra Leone ace for Hardie.

His outing was cruelly cut short barely after it had gotten going, when he was scythed down by Odoffin immediately after his first touch.

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Odoffin, 25, was yellow carded for the challenge, while Bundu had to be treated by busy medical staff.

Eventually the forward was wheeled straight down the tunnel on a stretcher, with New Zealand international Ben Waine brought on for him.

Thirteen minutes of stoppage time were added on at the end of the first half.

Finn Azaz made no mistake, levelling from the penalty spot.

And Argyle, who boast a formidable home record during the last 18 months, were gifted an opportunity to equalise three minutes into additional time when Lewis Gibson was hauled down at a set piece.

And the Aston Villa loanee nearly completed the comeback 12 minutes into stoppage time, when his curling effort struck the post.

Moments before the interval, 15 minutes into added time, third-choice forward Waine, 22, stung Viktor Johansson's palms with a low effort.

Seven minutes into the second half Argyle went ahead, and it was that man Azaz once again.

The attacking midfielder swept home Morgan Whittaker's inviting cross from close range to send Home Park wild.

Ayala then received his marching orders in the 55th minute, receiving a second yellow card for deliberately handballing Whittaker's long ball forward.

It was Ayala's return from suspension having also been sent off against Swansea last weekend, missing the mid-week defeat to West Brom.

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Ten-man Rotherham found an equaliser on 77 minutes when substitute Tom Eaves headed Plymouth-born Sean Morrison's knock down to send the travelling fans wild.

There would be one final twist, however, with player of the match Azaz brilliantly teeing up Morgan Whittaker to score a 96th minute, sending the Argyle faithful into dreamland.

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