"Come on Bali. Come on Bali, we need you."

Those were the words of Plymouth Argyle manager Steven Schumacher in the 54th minute, with his side 1-0 down at Burton Albion and in desperate need of a spark from somewhere.

Ipswich Town had won their lunchtime kick-off to pile the pressure on the League One leaders, and a lacklustre performance from the Pilgrims had ensured very little penetration against the third division's bottom side.

That Schumacher looked to Mumba to change this was a surprise to nobody in the Pirelli Stadium away end. Going into the game he'd registered 10 goal contributions from a variety of positions, winning September's young player of the month for his efforts.

It's safe to say that productivity hadn't been reproduced in the first half, despite the 21-year-old's endeavours. He'd constantly offered for the ball in a fairly unfamiliar left-wing role, but was frustrated when left-back Brendan Galloway chipped through the centre or the close attentions of Tom Hamer kept him facing his own goal.

Barring a smart turn away from the Burton defender in the 24th minute, that was how he played most of the game, linking more with Argyle's centre-backs rather than their under-served attackers.

The Pink Un: Mumba struggled with the close attention from Burton players early on.Mumba struggled with the close attention from Burton players early on. (Image: Focus Images Ltd)

Schumacher admitted as much post-match, saying: "I didn't think he was at his best today, if I'm dead honest. There were times when he lost the ball for us in poor areas, but we know we've got to keep him on because we know he's got that quality."

It's testament to the attitude so often praised by Mumba's bosses that he continued to offer for the ball thereafter, undeterred by stray passes or lost duels. It appeared he knew that moment of quality would come with time.

Of course, those of a dark green persuasion would have liked more consistent end product, but that lesson is one City assistant sporting director Neil Adams, watching from the stands in Staffordshire, will be pleased he learned.

One of those lessons was how to play in a different position, with Mumba deployed on the left wing in a 4-2-3-1, quite the departure from the right-back role he was used to when arriving in Devon.

The pitfalls of that choice from Schumacher were visible at times, with Mumba's central darts rendered ineffective by crosses that flew into the back post space he had vacated.

As Schumacher explained, "he was OK, he wasn't perfect. He had people closer to him, rather than a little bit more space when he's a wing-back. He's got the ability and the quality to understand it."

The Plymouth boss did look to rectify these issues early on, with Mumba listening attentively as his temporary manager gesticulated towards different areas on the grass.

That eagerness to learn comes from the passion for football that Mumba clearly has. The same characteristic was behind his 12th minute flurry of action, during which he lost the ball cheaply but worked hard to halt the resulting counter-attack before finding Adam Randell up the line.

Play was continually directed down that side, with Mumba's importance to his team undoubted. By half time, with Albion leading, there was a feeling that the former Sunderland man's performance could decide Argyle's points haul by 5pm.

The first signs of his acclimatisation to the new position reared their head in the 20th minute, when his run, the same run Schumacher confirmed he'd asked Mumba to make in training, around the back of the Burton defence from a wide position teased Argyle midfielder Randell.

The visitors' number 20 failed to find him on that occasion, but the same movement paid dividends in his big moment later on. That moment came after Schumacher's rallying cry, which appeared to galvanise Mumba as he became the focal point driving his side forward.

Even before he smashed the ball into the Burton net to complete the Plymouth turnaround there had been a perfectly-weighted clip through for Niall Ennis, a teasing low cross and an unfulfilled run in behind after his manager's 54th-minute demand. Throw in the away fans' chants of 'Mumba' to the tune of The Champs' 'Tequila' after the goal, and the tribulations of the first half had almost entirely faded away.

The Pink Un: Mumba was serenaded by Plymouth fans after his goal for the Pilgrims.Mumba was serenaded by Plymouth fans after his goal for the Pilgrims. (Image: Focus Images Ltd)

That was the reward Mumba deserved for his efforts, as Schumacher explained. "Any moment of inspiration that he brings can score us a goal," he said. "It was a great ball by Niall Ennis, brilliant through ball, and he showed his speed and quality to stick it in the top corner. I just wish it was the winner."

When he was replaced by Mickel Miller in the 83rd minute, the fairy tale was written for the perfect match decider. Unfortunately for Plymouth and City fans wishing to see Ipswich languish in League One, Adrian Mariappa's late equaliser put paid to that, but the story was never going to be one of easy success.

What Mumba got out of Saturday's game was the best of both worlds for Adams and co. Every player wants to prove their credentials, but the graft he went through in the early parts was exactly why he's been sent to the South West.