A Round-up of Argyle News
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Argyle found it tough up north as a difficult afternoon in Yorkshire saw 9 man Argyle go down 2-1 to Bradford City. The hosts had already gone a goal up before Gary Sawyer was dismissed for serious foul play, his second such red card in 2020. They then doubled their lead and things went from bad to worse for Argyle after half-time as stand in captain Antoni Sarcevic also had an early bath after two yellows. Ryan Hardie got one back for the 9 man Pilgrims but it wasn't to be our day. Argyle: Palmer, Wootton, Canavan, Sawyer, Bakinson(Telford), Edwards(Hardie), Sarcevic, Mayor, McFadzean, B Moore, Jephcott(Taylor). Subs: M Cooper, C Grant, G Cooper, Randell.
Ryan Lowe is keen to use last Saturday's frustrating 0-0 draw with Cambridge United at Home Park as a learning curve rather than a source of concern, failing as Argyle did to break down a stubborn defensive side. He said: "It's a learning curve for us and me as a manager, to try and work out how to break it down next time. We've been looking at loads of games and teams from the Champions League and Premier League to see how they break teams down when others sit with two banks of four. There's solutions to it, you've just got to find a way and we've been working on it, so hopefully when that happens again we should have that little final piece of the jigsaw. I'm always pleased, obviously I'm more pleased when we've won a game of football because you get three points and not one but we couldn't underestimate Cambridge United. They were the in-form team, they came with a game-plan and executed it well."
On injuries, Lowe added: "Dom got a first full 90 minutes since returning from injury. He got a lot of sprints in there, which is nice. Joel backed himself up a little bit with 90 minutes just to keep his fitness levels up as he hasn't played for a while and the same with Conor because, when the time is right and when they're called upon, they've got to be ready. Ryan Taylor is in full training as well and Will Aimson will potentially be in full training on Monday, which is a big, big plus for us because he's grafted and worked his socks off to get where he's got to. We'll monitor him, two days on two days off. He's going to be a real asset for us going into the back end of the season. Josh Grant is at Chelsea, obviously with him still being their player, they'll look at him and the MRI scan was taking a little bit longer to do. I think he's due back with us on Monday to finish a back end of rehab and be available for the following Saturday, so it's not too bad. Chelsea have got him in, looked after him, done the right things and they'll send him back to us next week."
Vice-captain Joe Edwards looked forward to the next 12 games in the hope that Argyle's togetherness would see them over the line to promotion. He said: "It's 12 massive games, so it's still a long way in terms of that. It's exciting, it's the business end of the season and the bit everyone looks forward to. There are some big games coming up, but it's been a long season, plenty of games have gone, but whilst you're fighting for something, it's all worthwhile towards the end. There are a lot of good teams in this league this year, a lot of teams at the top are playing good football as well, so it's nice to see those sides coming out on top a lot of the time. There is good quality, it's going to be a real battle and they're all in the same position as well, so they're all looking over their shoulders at what we are doing as well."
"It's a great dressing room. We've got great lads here, a real good team. The chairman is absolutely spot on and we've got the staff to back it up, they keep us going and keep us on our toes all the time. The gaffer said before these last two weeks that he's going to keep us on our toes and make sure we're fully focussed, ready for the end of the season and the lads love it. Usually, a successful team is built on a successful changing room. You can see why a manager would do it. Some managers aren't able to do it because they just need to get players in, whereas the gaffer's probably got a few options of players wanting to come here, so we generally pick on the players' character as well as their ability. Everyone is here because they've got ability and the gaffer believes they can do well for the team but also because they're good lads and they get on with each other. We also know criticism isn't personal and that is something that will help everyone come together and get the goal that we want."
After a busy few weeks for Argyle on the road, Joe Edwards has said it is a relief for a week without another midweek game. He added: "The previous two weeks have been really intense with two really long away trips,. We have spent a lot of time together; I've spent more time with Danny Mayor in a room than my missus, I think. It's good to get a break but it has been a tough couple of weeks. A free week just allows you to regather everything, train well and work on stuff that we need to work on, get a bit of extra time on the training field, ready to go again. Regrouping mentally is probably more important at this stage of the season than physically. You're in a routine of playing games and you're fit, so that kind of comes naturally but sometimes you've got to refresh your mind and your mental state and that's what we have done this week. It wasn't for the lack of effort. We had plenty of efforts on goal, on another day we probably would've scored a couple of them. It's the time of the year when we need wins, so we do come away from the games thinking 'what if' but they stuck to their game plan, they did well with what they wanted to do, so it was a clean sheet which we haven't had recently - looking at the positives. It's a clean sheet we can build on and most games you fancy yourself to score, so if we can keep a clean sheet then we're off on a win. I enjoy playing. I'm lucky enough that the gaffer has selected me in most games and I've tried repaying his faith by performing in each position he's put me in. I've always said as long as I'm playing and doing well for the team, I'm happy playing everywhere. I've played a little more recently at right wing-back, which has been good and has allowed me to get in the box more. I'm really enjoying it, we are playing good football. It's a great time to be at this club and be part of the team."
Argyle's away form has notably improved in the last few months after a shakier start and Ryan Lowe has hailed the impact of consistency with this rise. He said: "We kept asking for consistency. A while ago now, I said we needed to find a consistent balance and the league was inconsistent. I think now you can see it's starting to level out a little bit. In terms of the away form it's what we wanted - we wanted to make sure we got better. It's good. People always look for negatives in away form and that's a motivation, to prove people wrong. We're getting on the bus to anywhere now feeling confident, bubbly and playing the right way because we've got that confidence and consistent basis where we know, when we're on the road, we're going to places to try and pick points up. As for the home form, we wanted to make Home Park a bit of a fortress. We've only lost two games all season here, which, for me, tells a story in itself. We've just got to make sure we're consistent in everything we do behind the scenes: the coaching staff; the players in the recovery stuff and the games we play. We've found a little bit of a solution with that so long may that continue."
Argyle's stalemate against Cambridge could be described as just lacking a little bit of quality in the final third, as numerous chances weren't quite enough to put away the visitors. Lowe mused with frustration on the game: "For me, as the manager, I need to make sure that we find that last little bit, a bit more quality. Georgey's free kick, it is inches away, fine margins, but I want to see him hitting the target first and foremost because if you hit the target you make the keeper work. At this moment in time, we are just lacking that little bit of quality. Like the strikers when they are through, try the snapshots. We are just trying to find that little bit of finesse."
"It was a boring 0-0 if you like, but it was not for the lack of trying. Our lads have put everything into trying to get the three points and we certainly did that from the side-lines by putting players on to create more chances and more opportunities. Could we have been a little bit better in breaking them down earlier on? Yes, of course, but it is not for the lack of trying the lads put everything into that but just come away with a point. Our lads put their bodies on the line certainly, 100%, they were trying, trying and trying, they huffed and puffed along the way,. The lads have travelled miles and miles of late so they will have an extra day off on Monday but that will include some recovery stuff. Then I will look to freshen them up for next week because it is another important game at Bradford."
Lowe did however accept the result as at least a point in the right direction, adding: "It is a point in the right direction and a point from third position," said Ryan. "There are some good games coming up with the other teams, and there are teams in and around that, that have got to play each other too. Without being over delighted with a point, we are happy with a point. We would have been more delighted with three points but, as I said, if you cannot win, you certainly do not want to lose. A point in the right direction and a clean sheet. Straightaway, when we got the team sheet, we noticed the way they wanted to set up with a 4-4-1-1, so we knew our centre-halves would play out from either side against two banks of four. It shows us a lot of credit but that is down to the manager doing a bit of work saying he does not want to come here and lose. I am not being disrespectful towards them, but we knew what they were doing when we got the team sheet and what game they were going to try and play, but it was game-management because now they are unbeaten in February, so fair play to them."
"We work on stuff like that in training and I make sure that we do not get a sucker punch because it has happened to us before. We need to make sure that, when you are on attack you are weakened in the defence, because one ball over the top could lead to a one against one, or two against two and maybe a slice of luck or a piece of magic from them. We needed to make sure that would not happen, but our lads put a lot into it to try and come out with the three points. It is a clean sheet, one that we are pleased with because clean sheets count but if we had got a couple of goals, it would have been a bit more pleasing.It was not to be, a point in the right direction and we move on to the next one."
Niall Canavan came closest to scoring and shared his manager's philosophical stance on the game. He added: "Yeah it was frustrating, that was definitely the overriding feeling after that game today, a game which we dominated and just couldn't find the goal – it just didn't drop for us today. That's how teams are likely to come and play here now. They know that we're a good footballing team and we can get it moving. They hoped that they could stick players behind the ball and stop us from being able to break them down. Sometimes you need it to drop for you, get a bit of luck maybe and today we just didn't really get that. There were no real clear-cut chances, I know we had one off the line but just a real frustrating result for us really. I knew I'd beaten the 'keeper with my header. The guy on the line did his job today and saved them. Fair play to him."
"To have this congested period at this time of the season is quite a big ask psychically but I think the boys have dealt with it well. We'll use this next few couple of days to have a breather and recharge, refreshed to go into the Bradford game. Sometimes it might not be the physical rest you need but a mental one, so time away from the football side of things is good. I'm going home for the weekend to spend time with my kid, just to recharge and take my mind off things for a little bit and then I can come back in and be ready to go and push on once more. I think even when you're away you're still switched on to what your ultimate goal is, but it's just nice to just relax for 24 hours or more if you can – do the things that perhaps you can't always do that often. Most of the boys have had enough seasons to know what works for them and the young boys generally don't always feel like they need a rest – they're just spring chickens. Everyone will have time off to do whatever they feel is necessary."
"There was nothing really clear-cut in terms of chances. The scruffy ones just didn't bounce our way, didn't bobble our way and that's how it goes sometimes. We take the point and we move forward and we keep pushing this run forward. I think we've said it before this season, when the result hasn't quite gone for us, it's a positive thing that we are so frustrated and gutted as a group. That shows that our ambitions are high and that we want to do well this season. We've got to take the positives into next week against Bradford."
"The way they lined up didn't really surprise me. I know they've been on a good run. I think teams respect us when they come here and know that we can really open teams up. I don't think teams really want to go toe-to-toe with us here in a footballing sense. They get in, they're organised – they're resolute and they look to spring on the break and nick something from us. We're the home team, we should be the ones looking to unlock the opposition defence. You can kind of sense that frustration from the fans when we can't break it down, but we have to stay patient and trust our football. Nine times out of 10 we open teams up, but Saturday unfortunately, wasn't to be."
Argyle's dominance wasn't enough to secure a win against a strong Cambridge side whose sturdiness in defence prevented the greens from breaking through. The game ended 0-0, Argyle's first of the season. Argyle: Palmer, Wootton, Canavan, Sawyer, Bakinson, Edwards(Hardie), Sarcevic, Mayor, McFadzean(G Cooper), B Moore, Jephcott(Telford). Subs: M Cooper, Randell, C Grant, JV Grant.
Versatile academy graduate Tom Purrington has joined Taunton Town on a youth loan deal as they seek promotion to the National League South, after the expiration of his loan with Dorchester.
Ryan Lowe emphasised that Saturday's game at home to Cambridge would not be easy, after four wins in a row for caretaker manager Mark Bonner, but that preparation can see his Argyle side home. He explained: "We needed a little bit more at Macclesfield on Tuesday, we asked for that at half-time – and they did it and put bodies on the line, so fair play to them. I think, coming away from Macclesfield, when you reflect on it, we were happy with the point. We know we can't put too much into their legs at this stage of the season. Part of their bodies are still recovering from Tuesday, so we'll minimise any risk by not putting too much into them. We have to make sure that you're ready for Saturday afternoon. At this stage of the season, there isn't much you can do with them, it's just the basic, tactical stuff, such as awareness. The lads are fit, they've been fit from pre-season right the way to now. It's just about ticking them over now."
"Mark Bonner has done a fantastic job since he has gone in there as Caretaker manager, fair play to him. He's got them playing the right way, they're the most in-form team – winning four in a row. They're coming here as a winning side. They beat us at their place, where we weren't quite at our best on that day, they'll take positives from that, just like we take positives from our wins. We wish him all the best after Saturday because he's another young manager learning his trade. As a young manager myself, I think he should be given the opportunity to take the club going forward because of how well he has done."
Gary Sawyer spoke about his first ever straight red card in professional football and his return to the side after that three game suspension. He said: "It was the first time I've been shown a straight red card, so to miss three games for that reason is obviously frustrating for myself, but I was lucky with how it fell. With it being a Saturday, Tuesday, Saturday and having a game on the following Tuesday, so it was only like missing a week and you miss that sometimes through illness. I felt good in myself with my legs, obviously at my age, you need to get yourself back round quickly, so it was good."
"It's Home Park, a massive place and you know if you get your home form right, you've got a great chance, and if we get it right until the end of the season with however many games, we've got remaining it's going to be massive for us in the running. You need to know where we're sitting. We're against our rivals at the minute, so we have to look where they are but we have to do our job first. Unfortunately, we couldn't get the full three points we wanted the other day, but we're not going to win every game and, if we can limit the losses between now and the end of the season, that will be massive for us."
Ryan Lowe was full of praise for Argyle's resilience this season as they have came back from behind to get points in the last two games. The gaffer said: "Sometimes the game doesn't always go to plan, especially early on in a game.; When you're drumming into the boys what you want, we always say you're never beaten until the final whistle. Our lads have been showing of late that coming from behind demonstrates character, resilience and a desire to not let anyone down. When they know that they have the Green Army behind them a million percent, they're not letting anyone down and that, for me, is how we got back into the game against Crewe. The group of lads we've got have bought into everything we've asked them to do from day one. It took a little while for them all to get used to it because sometimes I say to them 'I'll take responsibility for giving the ball away, especially in the areas that I want you to play'. We feel that we've got good enough players to play the way I want to play. They never come away from a plan and we can't be any different, we can't go back to front. We always need to play football the right way, and that's what we'll continue to do."
Ryan Lowe gave his assessment of Argyle's 1-1 draw at Macclesfield, believing a point to be a fair result over the 90 minutes. He said: "I think a point was fair. We definitely didn't deserve to win it, the quality wasn't there tonight on a pitch where I don't want to be too harsh, but it's a good point. Teams are coming here and not a lot of them will win, whatever position you're in, and we know that and respect that because they are fighting for their lives. They are galvanising each other, which is great to see - credit to where credit is due. We just weren't firing on all cylinders today, they got blocks on the line, they put bodies in the way, they cleared everything, kicked everything and headed everything. Sometimes in this league, that's what happens. The pitch wasn't great but we still had 70% possession to their 30 but, overall, we didn't do enough to win it, although we had some shots and blocks. They started bright and might be disappointed, but we're happy with a point. The players do get their rewards for sticking to the plan. There was a lack of quality in certain areas and that's fine; it's not for the lack of trying. They worked their socks off and that's our second game in a few days. They've had to recover, we had a long journey up yesterday and we've had to get them out to stretch their legs today. It's tough on them but the lads have been magnificent in their work ethic. There was a little lack of quality but they can't have that quality every day of the week, and every game. We'll accept it this once but we've got to pick ourselves up and recover properly for another important game on Saturday."
Lowe also talked through the return of Gary Sawyer to the starting eleven, saying: "He has been great, he's done all his work but we felt that rest probably did him the world of good. Fadz was absolutely shattered and he's done fantastic for us. He's played half a game and then two full games in a short space of time after being out for eight to ten weeks. It was only right we brought Gaz back in to fill in down that side. There are one or two tired legs now but the pitch didn't help, it was heavy and boggy in certain areas. We're not making excuses and to come away from Macclesfield with a point is decent. They say win your home games and draw away, two points per game is where you want to be."
"We wanted to come here and win, but we felt we shot ourselves in the foot with their goal because it was a mistake on our behalf. It was a fair point for both sides, they started bright in the first half and in the second half, we were dominant all over the park. Yes, they threatened us a bit but that's because we were putting players forward and going for the win. Fair play to the Macclesfield lads, they've been through the mill and they're putting their bodies on the line for their manager and their football club."
"Thanks to the fans as well, it was 600-700 coming this long way and they appreciate the point. We all want three points but Macclesfield is a tough place to come, they're going through a rocky patch, so we're pleased with the point. We will get back to the drawing board, rectify the mistakes and move on."
Argyle secured a point on a dull Tuesday evening in Macclesfield that saw the Greens show good spirit if not their best football. They went behind in the first half and equalised late on with Antoni Sarcevic scoring a rebound from a penalty that was initially saved. Argyle: Palmer, Wootton, Canavan, Sawyer, J Grant(Bakinson), Edwards(Hardie), Sarcevic, Mayor, G Cooper(Telford), B Moore, Jephcott. Subs: M Cooper, C Grant, JV Grant, McFadzean.
Argyle's match against Exeter has been confirmed as being live on Sky TV and has been moved to Monday March 23rd with a 7.45pm kick-off.
Luke Jephcott revealed that he is living the dream for Plymouth Argyle, lining up and scoring for his boyhood club before going onto set out his goals for the rest of the season. Jephcott said: "I've always dreamed of that, coming through the ranks, scoring in front of that Devonport end. I get told to get in the box and that's what I did. Thankfully, Byron put in a great cross and I was there to put it away. He's got the ball; he's put it in a great area; and my movement got me there. Most of my goals have been from crosses. The boys will put the ball in and I've got myself in those areas and scored. I get told before every game, about five or six times 'Just get in the box and the ball will come in'. And it's showed that it will. I think it caught in the wind. I think I jumped a bit early – but I was happy that it landed on my head. The lads showed great spirit today in tough conditions. We went 1-0 down but I thought we reacted really well. We got up the pitch, got the first, kicked on from there and then held out well. The boys showed good character to get the second goal and see the game out. It wasn't one of the nicest days for it, but it was the same for both teams and it was a good game. I thought we did well in the conditions."
"We want to go up, win the league hopefully, and it would be a nice way to end the season if I can hit double-figures. That is my aim for the season. Going away with Truro, I've had to get more physical, use my body more," he said. "That's what I did there and I've brought it back here. With the gym-work we have been doing as well, I feel like I've improved my hold-up play a lot. The gaffer has been working with us – all the strikers; little movements where we can play one-twos or being in a position where the midfielders can bounce off us. It's been nice, but I tend not to read into all that," he said. "I have just got to keep my head down and let my football do the talking."
Ryan Lowe gave his thanks to the ground staff who got the game on against all odds to insure the 1pm pitch inspection was passed for Argyle. Lowe said: "We don't always play at Home Park and sometimes you have to play on bad pitches. The Crewe lads mentioned the pitch was in good condition and the groundstaff did a tremendous job to get it on. Sometimes you will play on a bog or a good pitch, it's all about the team coping with it well. The groundstaff were brilliant again and fair play to the referee as well because he's a young ref. Credit to Ralphy, his staff and some of the media team as well. The tough part about it was that if the referee had called it off at 1pm, they are going home without playing and we've then got to plan again differently. To be fair to the referees, they dealt with it well and the credit has to go to the groundstaff because they worked their socks off to get it on. Win, lose or draw, we wanted the game on and the groundstaff made it playable. Mentality is the biggest challenge and what you want out of it because it's easy for you to think it's not going to be my day, it's raining, so the mentality of our lads is what I asked for before they went out. Mentally, you've got to be spot on and every single person that went on that pitch in a Green shirt was mentally spot on."
Of Luke Jephcott, Lowe added: "It was nice for him and what a ball from Byron Moore, he's put it on a plate. The whole team deserve the credit and we're happy for Luke. He is our striker, one of our own and we want him to keep scoring. Overall, his build-up play and hold-up play was magnificent, it's getting better and better. The goal was a case of us getting back to basics, Scotty Wootton played a ball to Joe Edwards, he drives the ball and plays it to Byron Moore, great cross, goal. I have challenged Sarce, earlier on in the season and also recently, as I'm going to do with all the players. I want them challenged and there will be things thrown in there and I want to see how they react. It's brilliant for Sarce but I want more. I've set him a target and I'll reward him for it because if he gets them, we will potentially be where we want to be. He's been terrific, he's worked hard and getting in the positions."
"It was an eventful day, with the pitch inspection and the wind and rain, but what I did think of the game was two good teams trying to battle out for three points. It was played in the right way, some good interchange from them and us, good patterns of play from them and us, which made for a real exciting game. When they scored the first one, we needed to get a bit tighter because they've got some good players but I can't praise our lads highly enough again for their commitment and the attitude. From going a goal behind, the character of the boys to keep going and to rally on. To take three points off a very good team like Crewe was pleasing. It was alright where I was but I could see the ball swirling in the air and it then sort of stopped straightaway. I noticed Byron a few times misjudge it and there are not many times he gives the ball away, and Jephs was the same. It just stopped and there was one point when Alex Palmer shouted for the ball and it just stopped. If it was any other team here, it could have been worse, but Crewe play it on the floor and so do we. For two good footballing teams with the ball on the ground, we made the best out of bad conditions."
In the midst of Storm Dennis, it was Storm Luke that stole the plaudits at Home Park with the equalising goal and a strong all round display from striker Jephcott turning the match round in Argyle's favour after Crewe took the lead. A penalty spot winner from Antoni Sarcevic saw the three points stay in Devon. Argyle: Palmer, Wootton, Canavan, McFadzean, J Grant(Bakinson), Edwards, Sarcevic, Mayor, G Cooper(Hardie), B Moore, Jephcott(JV Grant). Subs: M Cooper, C Grant, Randell, Telford.
Luke Jephcott won a hat trick of awards for his strong performance in January and Ryan Lowe spoke of the importance of integrating not just Jephcott but other members of the academy. As Jephcoptt won the official player of the month, young player of the month and the PFA player of the month awards, Lowe enthused of the striker's improvement: "The fans see him as one of our own and he is, but it doesn't just happen, you've got to work your socks off. Early on in the season, Luke wasn't in our plans but it was all credit to himself. He went away, toughened himself up and learned the game. He asked me what I wanted from him and he went out and produced. It's the same with all of them, young Jarvis Cleal is a talented player, same with Adam Randell and Mike Cooper. We've got them players and we won't hesitate to use them if called upon. Luke is fitter, stronger and more aware of the game. When I came in, we showed the lads a video of my brand of football and when I turned the lights on at the end, they were all gobsmacked. Some of them brought into it, some of them didn't and some of them couldn't do it. We knew Luke was a finisher and Nance first-team coach Kevin Nancekivell was always on to me that he would come good. He played on the right or left in the old regime, but that's not his position because he's not rapidly fast. His position is getting in good areas and his movement is very good. If you notice his goals, his movement is very bright and good players around him can pick him out. The kid's finishing ability and being in the right time is very pleasing."
"The Under-15s played on the pitch last week and there is some great talent in there, but they are two or three years away from first-team football. We want to have 16 and 17 year-olds coming through that might have a chance. Rubin Wilson has made his debut, Jude Boyd has as well and young Jarvis has travelled with us quite a bit, so he'll probably move up with the first-team because he's certainly got talent. The cycle is probably every two years of getting one or two in but we don't want that; we want a cycle every year and we want one of the best Academies around, which is why we've brought in one of the best coaches in Darren Way. The structure of the Academy is changing now. We have a head of recruitment and Chris Beard is out and about trying to get players and building links. It's all changing and we don't just want the Average Joe player or the Average Joe coach, we want to have the best. That will be Neil's task in getting the best kids and the best coaches. As you've seen from the Under-15s, they played in the right way, passing through the lines and that will be a must for the 11-a-side kids. We want to make sure we have the best of everything. I think the structure will be better for everyone; parents, players and coaches. I think they've seen we've brought players into the first-team and a youngster in the Plymouth Argyle Academy should be chomping at the bit."
Jephcott himself said of the recognition: "It's a bit surreal really, it's the first time I've ever won something as big as this. I'm grateful to all the fans that voted, obviously my teammates who helped me get this award and the staff here."
On his return to first team action, Callum McFadzean gave thanks to the medical staff who got him through his injury over Christmas. He said: "It was class to be back playing, it's not been too long but it has been tough. Just to be back out there with the boys is amazing, to get three points topped it off. That's all credit to Dave Galley and John since I've been out. I had a couple of days off until I saw the specialist, since then it has been double or treble sessions a day. It shows the hard work that I've put in off the field. My fitness levels are still there, so it's good. Crewe are up there, we're up there, so it is a big game. These are the games you want to be involved in, you want to be coming up against the good teams. They play good football, it's going to be a good game with a packed-out Home Park, I wouldn't want it any other way."
"The Gaffer knows I can play left centre back. He knows he can put me in any position and I'll give him 100%," said the 25 year-old. "It's a position I have played before and I enjoy it. I still like to get forward, I am allowed to do that as long I don't start being stupid. I am not someone who feels I'll be affected by playing in a different position. Over my career I have played in numerous positions, but I would say wing-back is my strongest. It's always good to be able to play a number of positions. A good spirit is good for the Gaffer, not only that, everyone is pushing each other so performance levels will keep rising. Everyone wants to be playing and performing well. When everyone is raring to go and team spirits are high, you just want games to come. I couldn't have wished for a better start to my Argyle career, it seems so long ago now but refreshing it in my mind, it was amazing. That was my first game, the Green Army's first game of the season, it was amazing to see how loud they were and how many there were. They have been like that all season; their support is massive and all the boys appreciate it."
Ryan Taylor has picked up another injury niggle after a good performance off the bench against Colchester. Ryan Lowe reassured fans it should not be long-term, explaining: "He had a scan and it's all fine. He will be back with us next week, Tuesday might come a bit soon but he should be ready for Cambridge. He was disheartened and I spoke to him on the phone because he was a bit gutted. He potentially had a chance of starting against Salford because he'd come on the pitch at Colchester and done ever so well. It's been a stop-start season for him. He got off to a good start, scored some goals and we're thinking 'go on then' but injuries have got in the way. He's a fantastic lad, a good person and he'll come back fitter and stronger."
Ryan Lowe spoke about the process in training after the Colchester game to produce such a satisfying response against Colchester the match after. He explained: "I enjoyed it, went home with the family and another game ticked off. What I look back on is the character, desire and commitment of the boys, which we have been trying to instil from the start of the season. We can take the positives from it because I know what I've got in that squad; leaders, characters, people who are committed to the cause. It is great to get a reaction and we've got a group of lads, a group of staff where we ask if we can do it 100% every time. What we can do is try our best and that's what we do. After the Colchester game, we sat the lads down and talked about it, but we didn't dwell on it too much. We trained, we prepared and we've got a group of lads that know the Colchester game wasn't acceptable, but to get a reaction like they did against Salford is pleasing. Early on in the first half, the ball was just coming back [in the wind] and we were trying to tell the lads to keep it on the floor. I would have liked a few more passes but you have to give Salford credit because they set up to try and make us go long. Once we got it down and played simple passes, it opened up little avenues. We always say that once you move players around, it will open little areas and the game opens up. We will continue to open teams by moving it from side to side. Ultimately, it's most pleasing to score three goals away from home. The game-plan never changes, just little tweaks here and there. We do things for a reason and we want to get points on the board. The lads will always stick to the plan."
"I enjoyed it, went home with the family and another game ticked off. What I look back on is the character, desire and commitment of the boys, which we have been trying to instil from the start of the season. We can take the positives from it because I know what I've got in that squad; leaders, characters, people who are committed to the cause. It is great to get a reaction and we've got a group of lads, a group of staff where we ask if we can do it 100% every time. What we can do is try our best and that's what we do. After the Colchester game, we sat the lads down and talked about it, but we didn't dwell on it too much. We trained, we prepared and we've got a group of lads that know the Colchester game wasn't acceptable, but to get a reaction like they did against Salford is pleasing. Early on in the first half, the ball was just coming back [in the wind] and we were trying to tell the lads to keep it on the floor. I would have liked a few more passes but you have to give Salford credit because they set up to try and make us go long. Once we got it down and played simple passes, it opened up little avenues. We always say that once you move players around, it will open little areas and the game opens up. We will continue to open teams by moving it from side to side. Ultimately, it's most pleasing to score three goals away from home. The game-plan never changes, just little tweaks here and there. We do things for a reason and we want to get points on the board. The lads will always stick to the plan."
Lowe went on to praise the versatility of Byron Moore, adding: "He can play left-side, he can play right-side and he can play centre-forward. He's a machine, very talented and what he's doing for us on a regular basis is why we brought him to the football club. He can play any of the positions, he gets a lot of whacks but not many fouls because he tries to stay on his feet. He looks absolutely shattered on 60 minutes and then you put him on the wing and he motors again. He knows his job, knows his role and what he is capable of doing. We don't hesitate in playing him left, right or centre-forward and his best position is that he loves playing football. When he plays up front, he scores goals but he's also scored goals from the left and the right. We're obviously pleased with Byron and wherever I pick him to play, he always gives 100%. It's what we look for recruitment as well and it was funny last season when we tried to play him in one of the number eight positions but he just said 'gaffer, that's not me'. It didn't suit him because he likes running at players or getting the ball over the top to score goals."
Finally he had praise for Ryan Hardie who he believes to be more than just a supersub: "People will tag him with the supersub status but I wouldn't do that. What I would say is that he's a talented footballer and he's just as good as anyone else in my squad in those positions. At the moment, he has scored four goals from sub appearances and we've got a squad of players who we feel we can put on at any opportunity. There was a point when we were thinking of putting Dom Telford on as well the other night because he was there to maybe get in front of defenders. There are loads of ways to look at and if Ryan keeps scoring, he is doing his job."
Ryan Lowe said there is no better feeling than a last minute winner as he praised the grit and determination of his side in grinding out a 3-2 victory on a freezing cold night at Salford. He said: "It is a tough place to come with some good players and they are going in the right direction as a football club, so we knew it was going to be tough. We weren't coming here expecting to roll them over, no chance. We were expecting a tough game and the conditions didn't help, the pitch and the wind, but what credit to my lads. They've shown the commitment, the bravery, the desire, the attitude to keep going. Early on in the season, we had a few question marks on whether we could keep doing that but that's what good teams do; good lads and good staff gelling together as one big family. Especially with the 1,100 Green Army behind us as well on a Tuesday, it is fantastic, and I couldn't have asked for a better response from Saturday. When you've got flair players like Danny Mayor and George Cooper, who aren't here to make tackles and roll their sleeves up, but you've seen every single one of them doing it. Young Jephcott is holding off big centre-halves, phenomenal; Fadz coming back from injury as well. What pleased me most was the lads saying 'we want a reaction and we're going to get it'.
"It is when you play different teams with different standards, and Salford are going back to front quite early, with big Tom Elliott up front, who is a terrific player. They brought James Wilson on, who was Premiership standard in quality and that's what this football club has got in players. There was no chance we weren't going to recognise that. My lads had to roll their sleeves up, we were trying to get the ball down and play. There were a few wayward passes in the first half but in the second half we were a bit more calm, and simplicity is a word I use. When you go 1-0 up and 2-1, and our goals were great goals, but they get back in the ascendancy and our on the front-foot, for us to get the winner was brilliant. You always get bumps in the road but it's how you react. The lads will recover and then back to the training pitch on Thursday and Friday before we welcome another good team in Crewe, who are doing terrific. What an entertaining game that will be, Salford is gone now and we move on to Crewe."
On Sarcevic, Lowe added: "He is a Manchester lad and had about 20 of his family here, which gave him that little buzz and that urge. I'm pleased for him, he's on nine goals now and that's what they bring; these characters I've got are special lads, they fight for each other, they fight for me, fight for the staff and we also fight for them. Ultimately, they're fighting for the Green Army and I heard a couple of them say, 'look at the fans we've got here today boys, we've got to send them home smiling'. They've had a five-hour trip and some of them are back at work this morning. It is special and that's why they travel in their numbers. Even when they scored the equaliser, our fans are just ready to kick-on with their songs and there was a bit of banter between both sets of fans in the songs. Our fans just rally you through and when you've got fans like that, it's very good."
Scott Wootton shared the sentiments, saying: "It's the best feeling ever," said Scott. "For players, fans, everyone. Last minute winners are fantastic. Don't forget, all players have been fans," continued the centre-half. "All the lads will have seen that happen to their team as a kid, and there's no better feeling as a fan. Especially after Saturday, to score in the last minute away from home, with the number of fans on a Tuesday night, all this way, is unbelievable."
"It was tough, there's no way around it. We know how we want to play, but the weather makes that difficult. To get the ball moving around on a bobbly pitch is tough – but we always try to stick to what the manager wants to do and thankfully it came through at the end. Sometimes it's impossible to play through the thirds, and you just have to swing it in behind and get it up to the strikers. I think the strikers did fantastic – they were challenging, and even if they didn't win it, they were putting their centre-halves off. Byron, Joel, Jephers and Ryan – all four of them were brilliant tonight and that makes a massive difference as it allows the team to get up the pitch and into their final third." That's a positive we've had throughout the season as well. Forest Green away, Mansfield away, even if we're not playing well we've got a bit of steel and a desire not to get beat. At 2-2, they had a bit of pressure. After that, we had a lot of chances and I think our fitness levels came through, as well. We were massively disappointed coming away from Colchester – the result and the performance, and we wanted to put that right tonight with three points, and we've done that. I just think that the mode, the focus we are in, home or away – we just want to get those three points and keep climbing up the table."
Argyle assured fans that their loss at Colchester United was a blip with a gutsy 3-2 win on the road at Salford. Argyle took the lead early on through Byron Moore and held that advantage through to half-time. James Wilson was bought off the bench to level things up for Salford but Argyle took the lead against not long after thanks to a belting Antoni Sarcevic strike. Wilson soon levelled again for the hosts but the last word was to be Argyle's with Ryan Hardie scoring from the bench whilst through one on one with the home keeper Kyle Letheren. Argyle: Palmer, Wootton, Canavan, McFadzean, Bakinson, Edwards, Sarcevic, Mayor(J Grant), G Cooper(Hardie), B Moore, Jephcott(JV Grant). Subs: M Cooper, C Grant, Randell, Telford.
Argyle go to Salford following the disapointing loss at Colchester and Ryan Lowe is determined that it all remains part of the learning curve. He said: "We're preparing for a tough game away at Salford and we can't dwell on it. What we can do is learn from it and make sure it doesn't happen again. The lads have been terrific, we've fallen off the bike and now we get back on as quick as we can. We were very disappointed but we put it to bed quickly. The lads are going out there to give 100% for the Green shirt and none of my players will go out there and think it doesn't matter, win, lose or draw, especially under me. We've got two important games coming up and we've got to go back to the training ground and work hard."
Ryan Lowe accepted that his Argyle side fell short of the expected standards in the 3-0 loss at Colchester United and bemoaned lapses in concentration in the first half, saying: "In the first ten minutes, we were ok, but we left a man in the box and he's scored. The second one, we left a man unattended in the six-yard box, and the third one was a mistake. For 30-odd minutes of the game, it just wasn't us, we weren't quite at it. You have to give Colchester credit, I'm disappointed with the goals conceded but we haven't had many games like that. The lads have been terrific but they've been told a few home truths and we need to make sure now we get back on that bike because today we fell of it. It won't define our season, it's a blip, it's one loss. We've conceded three stupid goals on our behalf and the lads know that. The lads who made the individual errors are disappointed but that's football, and Colchester are a good team. They're a good team, well organised and we fell short today. The second half was a lot better, a bit more solid and we changed shape to get three strikers up there and have a good go, but you sometimes have off days, and we had an off 45 minutes."
"We're preparing for a tough game away at Salford and we can't dwell on it. What we can do is learn from it and make sure it doesn't happen again. The lads have been terrific, we've fallen off the bike and now we get back on as quick as we can. We were very disappointed but we put it to bed quickly. The lads are going out there to give 100% for the Green shirt and none of my players will go out there and think it doesn't matter, win, lose or draw, especially under me. We've got two important games coming up and we've got to go back to the training ground and work hard."
Argyle came crashing back down to earth with a bump after a surprising 3-0 loss at Colchester that saw the greens out of the game from an early stage. Three first half goals put the match beyond doubt and made the second half a non event. Argyle: Palmer, Wootton, Canavan, J Grant, Bakinson, B Moore, Sarcevic, Mayor, G Cooper(McFadzean), Hardie(Taylor), Jephcott(JV Grant). Subs: M Cooper, Edwards, C Grant, Randell.
Ryan Lowe and striker Luke Jephcott have swept the board in January's League Two awards. Lowe and Jephcott have won the Manager and Player of the Month awards respectively for the opening month of 2020, when scintillating form propelled the Greens into the top three. Jephcott was also voted the PFA Fans player of the month by supporters across the country.
Lowe said he was aware of the threat posed by John McGreal's Colchester as they prepared to host Argyle in the first game after the award. Lowe stated: "Colchester will pose a different threat, they're a footballing team. John McGreal is a fantastic manager, who does ever so well with his teams. They're always up and around the top areas, and they'll be looking to go one further than they did last season. For us, we know where we're at, we know what we've got to do. We've got to keep building, keep working hard and keep winning games. All games are difficult, they've got flying wingers and good players all over the pitch. They are sixth in the league for a reason and John McGreal plays the right way. He's got a good structure there, he's been there a long time and he knows the football club. The players know what he wants and what he demands. They missed out last season and will want to go one better, and why not, because they are a good team. We're under no illusions that it will be a tough ask but Newport was a tough ask, Salford will be a tough ask. We're not getting drawn into anything yet, we've just got to make sure we do the right things."
"If you want to score, you'll get the opportunity to score. Our lads are certainly doing that, not just resting on their laurels. They're all wanting to get a piece of the action, which is always nice and to have 19 different goalscorers is very pleasing. I don't know how many goals we've scored from set-plays but it is pleasing. One: the lads are doing what you ask them to do, and two: you're working out flaws in the opposition, and three: it show we're doing the work to create these goals. When you've got someone like Coops and quality players who can put the ball in those areas, and players to get on the end of them, it's always pleasing. Sometimes, it's long hours on set-plays and you simply have to do them. When you walk through them, me and the staff don't go until it's right. It could take 20 minutes, it could take two minutes. We make sure we work on them, we drum it into them and when it comes off, it's very pleasing."
Lowe admitted his displeasure at a red card that he felt was a little harsh on Argyle's skipper Gary Sawyer that will now see him miss three games. Lowe said: "It was a bit harsh on Gaz, we addressed it very closely and we spoke to people about it, but it's tough. It's very rare a referee is going to reverse their decision, which is fine, but we felt at the time that the melee after was what got him sent off. When you look at the red card, it's 50-50. You'd be happy if it went for you and unhappy if it went against you. Gaz has had to take it one the chin and unfortunate for him, but it is only a week, as we play Saturday – Tuesday – Saturday. We've got a squad where we feel someone can step in there and do a job for the team. Gaz said that was his first ever straight red card, he's been sent off for two yellows before. There was no malice and Gaz is never going to try and hurt someone, he's just not like that. We got some advice and they did say we're not going to get away with it, so we move on. I've got a good relationship with him and we ask him to organise stuff with the boys, days out and meals. He took a bit of a battering off me at the start of the season because I'll give him everything but, as the captain, he's got to give me that extra bit more. He took that on board and, off the field, he's one of the best captains I've worked with, and on the field, he's becoming a real tough leader. It's hard because Gaz isn't a vocal lad but the stuff he does shine at is behind the scenes and a fantastic servant of this football club."
Finally, Lowe gave his latest injury update on Argyle's physio bench. He saod: "Will Aimson is close but we're holding him back for obvious reasons. We don't want to rush him and it's been well documented we rushed him back [from a previous injury It was partly my fault and partly his, because he wanted to get back and play for this football club. He's still chomping at the bit, he's around the group but there is no rush for Will. The lads who are playing at the moment have done a fantastic job and long may that continue. When Will does come back, it will give them a little boost. We will take it day-by-day and see how he's feeling. The injury he's had is ten times worse than a hernia operation. When you have a hernia operation, it heals, but this doesn't, so you have to make sure you heal it. It's been a horrible injury but he put his body on the line for us and we'll stick by him. He played through the pain barrier for me at Bury, to help us get promoted. We had him assessed before we signed him and we thought it would be fine for the start of the season. He probably rushed it back and we've now got more details on the injury, and how it works. He will come back fitter and stronger, and he can't wait to play for the club. The few games he was part of, we saw a good player. We've got some more work to do on Sarcevic and Grant and we'll know more on them in the next 24 hours. McFadzean has been training all week, so he's back. Telford has done more work and he will be in full training."
Luke Jephcott has spoken of the whirlwind journey since being recalled to the Argyle team in January. He said: "I am enjoying it. It's been a good month for the club, we've been picking up a lot of points and for me to get a couple of goals as well, it's been a nice little bonus. The Gaffer being a striker is very helpful because after training we are always doing extra sessions, and during training, he's always talking to me and the other strikers and telling us what we can do to help improve us, it's good. For the first half of this season I've gone away on loan and scored goals down at Truro and I think that has brought my confidence right up. It was an experience for me, it was physical and it was getting me prepared for what I would be playing against in League Two. It has definitely helped me being out on loan. The Gaffer has shown faith in me and put me in the team, and I've paid him back. It was my first professional goal and I think that will always stick with me. I was just glad I could help contribute to the team to getting the points. They all stay in my mind, I can remember them like they were yesterday to be honest. That first one will always stay with me, it was a big moment for me, scoring my first professional goal, I think that's a moment I will carry with me."
Argyle have confirmed there will be no appeal against the red card shown to skipper Gary Sawyer following his dismissal against Newport County, meaning he will miss the next three games against Colchester, Salford and Scunthorpe.
Ryan Lowe praised Argyle's versatility and teamwork as being key to our success as we came away with a 1-0 victory against Newport County. He had particular praise for Argyle's good preparation: "We knew it wasn't going to be a footballing game, hence why we had three days of preparation and worked on it. Car crash football if you like. The style Newport adopt is good for them, they do try and play also – I'm not taking that away from them. We knew that balls were coming into the box, whether it was long throws or goal kicks, free kicks, corners – whatever. Wherever it was coming from, balls were coming into our box. Our lads had been well drilled all week for what was to come and I can't praise them enough. They were brilliant in every department, so fair play."
"Any player that we have in the building, we know, can work with each other, any of them. Young Adam Randell has slotted in on the right side, Conor has come in on the left, Joe Edwards goes in at right-wing back. Big Tyreeq has slotted in at centre-back previously. We know that these lads can fill in anywhere, partnerships develop, especially when you are scoring goals. Ryan Hardie and Luke Jephcott had some good chances. I'm not going to sit here and criticise them, as they have been excellent, but I knew that we were not going to get a lot of chances. However, they looked after the ball when we needed them too and got in behind when they needed to – they were excellent. Whoever goes up front must link up and communicate. I train the strikers myself on a daily basis, it doesn't matter who plays – I know every single one of my strikers can put in a shift. Taylor did not have a strike parter for the last few minutes and he did a fantastic job for us. They are all as good as each other."
Argyle have often been praised for the quality of their football this season but it was their grit that earned special praise from Ryan Lowe as they picked up another win and clean sheet against Newport. Lowe said: "The lads showed grit and determination to keep that clean sheet and get that 1-0 win today. I was hoping for an early goal today because it was something, not to hold on to, but to build on. It wasn't to be today and we have to give credit to Newport County because they did not just come here to sit back. They did everything they could and showed what they were about – putting balls into the box. That's what got them so far last season. They certainly played a bit too, worked the angles for the wide men, diagonal crosses coming into the box, worked for throw-ins up the pitch, bought good fouls. We nullified all their strengths today, however, so I'm very pleased. It was a very pleasing victory.
"We are a good footballing side and everyone knows that. Sometimes you have to roll your sleeves up and our lads rolled their sleeves up today – they got rid of every ball that came into that box from the opposition. We're a football based team, but we did the dirty and nitty gritty side of things today too, and to get points from it makes it even more pleasing."
"We worked with T on getting into those positions, as we do every week. A great ball in from George Cooper, cross into the box and T made a great run. That's also down to the lads for taking on what we do, we try to mix it up and we felt that we could get in and around the back where T scored from today. Fair play to the boys."
Bakinson himself said of the goal: "I was buzzing [to score my first] at home, so I could celebrate with the home fans. I saw them George Cooper and Danny Mayor out wide and I was thinking a cross could come in any time. I gambled at the back stick. It's mixed emotions to score against Newport but I'm signed for Argyle now and I'm doing everything I can to help us out. We work on a lot of things in training and it's just good for that to come out on the pitch," he said after the game. It's a really good squad and from the moment I came in, everyone has been very welcoming, that helps us perform even better. It's credit to the boys and to the staff as well for putting such a strong squad together. It shows the resilience of the team, we all work hard for each other and that showed against Newport. It has been a good start, which is credit to the boys for making me feel welcome. I'm far away from home but it feels like home here."
Argyle returned to winning ways with a 1-0 victory over Newport County, with Tyreeq Bakinson getting the only goal early in the game against his former club. from a George Cooper assist. Gary Sawyer was sent off late in the game for serious foul play. Argyle: Palmer, Wootton, Canavan, Sawyer, Bakinson, B Moore, C Grant(Edwards), Mayor, G Cooper, Hardie(Randell), Jephcott(Taylor). Subs:M Cooper, McFadzean, JV Grant, Lolos.
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