A Round-up of Argyle News
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Also included on the three most recent days, facts from Argyle's history.
Each manager gave a very different account of last night's 2-1 win against Barnet at Home Park. The Bees' Martin Allen felt that his side played with spirit and quality, and was frustrated that his team left with nothing for their efforts, despite hitting the woodwork twice. However, Derek Adams thought the Pilgrims were good value for their third home league win of the season. Argyle's manager said: "It was a very good performance again from us. We created a lot of chances in the first half. We are on a good run of form just now. Barnet have come off two wins and we have got another home victory. They didn't really trouble us. They got a break with the goal, when we were out of position. Other than that, we were in total command but we probably didn't pick the right pass at times.
"Graham Carey has scored a fabulous goal, and there was another one from Jake Jervis, so it was a good night for us. We opened up their defence time and time again, especially in the first half when we played on the counter attack," said Adams. "They were very direct in the game, they wasted time quite a bit and there were long throws, but we dealt with that – we had to. Some teams play that way, other teams play a passing game. We had to deal with it and we gathered the three points." Adams admitted that his side were forced into a very dogged defensive display in the last ten minutes. "That sometimes happens," he said, "but overall it's another victory and we have come from behind in the game."
Jake Jervis took his goal tally to seven for the season last night, coming in from the right flank to turn home Gregg Wylde's cross on the hour-mark, and Derek Adams believes his early success is no fluke. Despite playing in a wider position, Jervis is the Pilgrims' top scorer so far in this campaign, thanks in part to diligent work on the training ground. "When you come in on the blind-side of defenders," said Adams, "there's nothing you can do as a defender. If you can dart in from the side, it's intelligent play. We work on it; we try to get our wide players coming in. He's scored a lot of goals tfrom there and he's been a big player for us this season.
Adams and the team will look to carry the momentum gathered by the win into their next game, at home to Crawley Town on Saturday – but not before keeping close tabs on the condition of Graham Carey and Gary Sawyer, who picked up slight injuries during last night's game. "It's two knocks, so we'll assess them tomorrow and see how they are," the manager said. "Gary Sawyer's played the whole game, and Graham Carey came off with about ten minutes to go, so we'll assess them both before Saturday."
Argyle from behind to beat Barnet 2-1 at Home Park, with goals from Graham Carey and Jake Jervis. Argyle: McCormick (making his 250th appearance), Mellor, Nelson, Hartley, Sawyer, Simpson, Boateng, Jervis (Wylde), Carey (Threlkeld), Brunt, Reid (Tanner). Substitutes (not used): Cox, T Harvey, Purrington, C Harvey.
Derek Adams believes his Argyle had plenty of chances to sweep aside Mansfield Town, but were forced to settle for 0-0 draw. A week after recording their first draw of the season against Bristol Rovers, the Greens were in another stalemate at Mansfield – though the outcome could have been made very different in the first half. Ryan Brunt, Graham Carey and Reuben Reid all came close to opening the scoring in the game's opening half-hour, and those chances alone make Adams believe the draw was a missed opportunity for his side. "It's two points lost, obviously," said Derek. "We've hit the bar a couple of times and probably should've been out of sight in the first half. We did very well for 30 minutes in the first half – we could've had four or five goals in the first period. We dominated for half an hour, and I'm delighted with the play we've had. We've played better than that at times, but we've opened up Mansfield on numerous occasions in the first half."
Brunt and Josh Simpson came into the side for the game, and the boss had high praise for the way that both of them slotted in to an altered setup against the Stags. "Josh is an experienced player," said Adams, "and he played that position well today. It's not easy coming into your first game, but he stopped play, he made passes forward, and he gave us a good influence in the middle of the pitch today."
As for Brunt, Derek said: "He did well in the first half, when he took the ball on, won some headers. We played off of him, we played off of Reid and Jervis as well. Sometimes you don't get the goal, and then you've got to take a point at some point in the game. Mansfield are going to come back into it. We didn't really get in behind them in the second half. They're a good side – they've done well this season. You always want to win games, but sometimes you have to come away from home, take a point and move on to the next game."
Adams used a slightly different shape in their goalless draw with Mansfield Town, which successfully battled against their opponents' style of play. "We knew it was going to be difficult coming here, to play a physical side," said Derek. "We knew the pitch was tight, so it was a different game to start with today. We knew they were going to cause us a wee bit of trouble physically, which was shown by their long throws at every opportunity, so we had to deal with that. Sometimes in this league you have to deal with the long ball. People play to their strengths, and then we have to deal with that, and I thought we dealt with it very well. It's great to have a clean sheet, and I think that's important."
The Pilgrims take their first away draw of the season back to Home Park, as they begin preparations for three home games in a row – culminating with the visit of Exeter City in the Johnstone's Paint Trophy. "You look at the games today," said Adams, "and Barnet have obviously won today – a very good victory for them. We play them first, and then we've got Crawley. We're looking forward to these games, and we want to continue the momentum that we've got. It's very early in the season; it's just about putting performances together, and we've been able to do that."
Argyle drew a blank in a game for the first time this season as they battled to a goalless draw with Mansfield Town, although the game was not as uneventful as the scoreline may suggest. The Pilgrims should have been home and dry after an opening half hour that they dominated, but missed several goalscoring opportunities. As the game wore on each side exchanged changes, and while Argyle always seemed the more threatening of the teams on show, they were never able to get past Mansfield's experienced custodian Brian Jensen. Argyle: McCormick, Mellor, Nelson, Hartley, Sawyer, Simpson, Boateng, Jervis (Wylde), Carey (Threlkeld), Brunt, Reid (Tanner). Substitutes (not used): Cox, T Harvey, Purrington, C Harvey.
Manager Derek Adams is relaxed about Carl McHugh and Gary Sawyer being only one more yellow card away from a suspension. McHugh, who is set to be out of action for the next couple of weeks anyway because of a hamstring injury, and Sawyer, have both been booked four times this season. Another yellow card for either player before November 30 will result in them receiving a one-match suspension. But Adams does not want the threat of that to impact on their performances on the pitch. He said: "They just have to play their normal game. We have got other people in the squad that are more than capable of coming in and taking their place. I want them to compete as well as they can and we are obviously hopeful they don't pick up another yellow card." Players who are booked for a fifth time this season after November 30 will not have to serve a suspension.
Injury-plagued former Argyle striker Matt Lecointe is training with the club's under-18 squad as he recovers from a third knee operation in two years. Lecointe made his debut for the Pilgrims when he was a 16-year-old apprentice and also played for England at youth level once. However, his promising career stalled after he suffered a cruciate knee ligament injury in a pre-season game at Truro City in July 2013 and he has not been able to fully recover from that. The 20-year-old was released by Argyle at the end of last season but has now been given the chance to work on his fitness with the club's under-18 squad at their Seale Hayne training base near Newton Abbot. Adams said: "It allows him to get some back-up training that he has probably missed over the last couple of years. He has had a difficult time and the club have looked after him. We are just giving him a training facility because he was a good young player when he was here." Asked whether there was any possibility of Lecointe returning to Argyle should he regain full fitness, Adams replied: "I don't know about that. I haven't see him play and he hasn't played for a couple of seasons."
Derek Adams is confident that Carl McHugh will return from a hamstring injury quicker than initially feared. The Irish defender-turned-midfielder was substituted early in the second half of the Greens' 1-1 draw with Bristol Rovers, worryingly holding his hamstring. However, the diagnosis has brought back more positive results than feared, with McHugh set for a much shorter lay-off than many hamstring injuries can sideline a player for. "It's not as bad as first feared," said Adams. "It may be a couple of weeks, then we can help him back. Obviously with the height that his leg went up and with the possible extent of the damage, it's a good sign."
McHugh bas been a key cog in Adams' plans since arriving at Home Park, but the boss is now looking for other members of his squad to grasp the opportunity left by his absence with both hands. "Carl's played in every game that I've managed here," the manager said, "and I think that he's been an important player for us. It gives somebody else an opportunity to come in and stake a place, but Carl has been magnificent since I came here. He's a young boy – he's only 22 years of age – but he's got good experience, played a lot of games, and we'll miss him over the coming weeks."
One of the potential replacements for McHugh could be Bolton Wanderers loanee Oscar Threlkeld, who is back in full training following a thigh knock. "He's come back into the squad for training today," said Adams. "He's looking well, and we'll see how he progresses later in the week, if he's going to be involved on Saturday."
Carl McHugh is likely to face a spell on the sidelines after suffering a hamstring injury in yesterday's 1-1 draw with Bristol Rovers. The 22-year-old defender is set for a period out of action as he recovers from the injury that forced him off after 50 minutes. Manager Derek Adams said: "It's a bad one, it looks like he could be out for a wee while. When he went up for the ball he pulled his hamstring, so we'll see this week what the diagnosis is." Adams was frustrated with Rovers come back and believes his side should have held on better. He said: "I think we lost two points, we had the win in our grasp, we had four minutes to go and we could have won the game. But that's the nature of the business when you're ahead and we should have managed it better."
Argyle have had their first draw of the season, 1-1 at home to Bristol Rovers. It was a very tight game until the 85th minute where Argyle took the lead curtesy of a Jake Jervis tap in from a Gregg Wylde cross. There was not much of the game left to go but nonetheless Argyle could not quite hold out. A quick break up the field saw Luke McCormick bring down the Rovers man to give away a penalty and they slotted it away early into stoppage time to ensure the spoils were shared. Argyle: McCormick, Mellor, Nelson, Hartley, Sawyer, McHugh(Cox), Boateng, Jervis, Carey, Tanner(Wylde), Reid(Brunt). Subs: C Harvey, Purrington, T Harvey, Simpson.
After three full months in the job, Derek Adams is still relishing the task of being the Argyle manager and spoke about how much he loves to be the 'face of the club'. He said: "You're the face of the football club and it's important to go and support the supporters' functions. They come every Saturday, home and away, to support the football team so I think it's important to give a little time back. I think that they see the effort that myself, the players and the staff are putting in. You're under pressure 24-7. That's the nature of the business, we want to win football matches and we've shown that we can do that. We want to keep that momentum going."
Luke McCormick collected another fan award for his performances last season this week and had further praise heaped upon him by manager Derek Adams, who said: "I think he's probably one of the best goalkeepers in the league. He has been a good servant to the football club. I think that this season he has performed very well. I think that he's got a very good personality. He's got an excellent work ethic and he's obviously played at a very high level. That experience can only help the players in front of him."
After three weeks of playing away from home, Adams also said that he is looking forward to feeling the full force of the Green Army as they return to Home Park on Saturday. He went on to speak about how he hopes to counter Saturday's opposition, Bristol Rovers. He explained: "We've been away for a number of games now; we need to get back and be at home. The home support has been great, but the away support has been fantastic as well. To take nearly 1000 people to Wycombe on Saturday was great. We're delighted with the win and the performance," said Derek. "It's not an easy venue to go to, and to come away with a 2-1 victory and to play as well as we did to create the chances that we had; it was a good afternoon for us. Sometimes you have to grind out results, and sometimes you have to play with a bit of flair, and we've got a side that are capable of doing both. We've started very well, and the confidence in the players is high. We need to continue that on a weekly basis. I watched Rovers last Sunday against Oxford United and they played very well. They've changed their formation a couple of times – they've gone to a 3-5-2, they've played a diamond formation as well, so we know what problems they can cause us. We know the strengths and weaknesses of their team, but I'm sure they'll know the problems we can cause them. We've got good attacking options, and have players that are scoring goals."
Also, Gary Sawyer spoke about how delighted he is to be back at Home Park for a second spell and how pleased he is with new manager Derek Adams: "He's been really good. He never sits on just being happy; when we have had a game when things have not gone our way, he's let us know about that. That's a good thing. He's got pride in his work and I felt that when I first met him. So he hasn't surprised me with the way he is – he's exactly as I thought he'd be, and more, to be honest. I think the fans should get behind him because he's a great bloke to have down here. We've done well. We've had sloppy starts in a couple of games, but obviously we're still tinkering with things. We have got a very good side down here that he's created. I don't think you could ask a lot more from the start to the season. We had a good pre-season and everyone seems to have fitted in well. It's been terrifically good; the boys are really together. It's nice to come back to that. That's what I was hoping for. With the battles they had in my years away, I know it's been tough one for the club; hopefully this is turn of it all. The club can turn it and it feels like it is turning. I still had a lot of friends playing for the club while it was happening, and I'm from this area so I was always watching to see how they were getting on. I was updated by friends and family, and friends at the club, so, although I was far away, it never felt like I'd left. It was a weird feeling when I first walked out, a good feeling. It just feels right to be back. It was the right time to come back and it's been a brilliant start for all of us. I'm really enjoying it."
Following his critique of the use of GPS trackers after Argyle's 2-1 victory over Wycombe, Derek Adams confirmed that Argyle have no plans to use the technology in the future. Adams explained that other equipment can do the job adequately: "No, we don't need to. You can have cameras in the stand and it's electronically passed to computers so there is no need to wear them. That sort of information can be important to some people, but it can be not as important to other people. It depends the way you want to work with it. It's there to be used to benefit the teams, but it's an expensive product."
Argyle have confirmed that director Colin Sexstone has left his position at the club. He spent almost three years in his post having joined in November 2012.
Argyle have also confirmed that the Johnstone's Paint Trophy game against Exeter City will take place on Tuesday 6th October at Home Park with a 7.45PM kick-off.
Peter Hartley has sung the praises of his Argyle teammates and their ability to see out a game following the assured way Argyle finished their 2-1 win over Wycombe Wanderers. He believes this is down in no small part to the guidance of Derek Adams. Hartley said: "We did a lot of work on them this week. We knew exactly what they were going to bring to the table. I think in the second half you saw especially; I think we dropped a little deeper in the last ten minutes, but you saw what we were going to do. Carl McHugh was going in and challenging for the first ball, me and Curtis Nelson were sweeping up, and it worked down to a tee. It's not pretty, but it's effective. If that's the way their manager wants to play to try and get out the division, so be it. Our manager has a different philosophy, and that works for us. We know what we're going to get from Wycombe, and I thought we dealt with it fairly well. Credit to the gaffer for giving us a game plan, and we stuck to it and got a result. One thing I can say about today is that I think we managed the game really well. We've talked about it in the past, how we go about managing a game, slowing a game down and dictating the tempo in the game. It's a breath of fresh air, to see a game out like that. We seem to go into games and get stronger as we go on. We can overrun teams."
Hartley also took time to speak very highly of striker Reuben Reid, tipping him to have another 20 goal season now that he is back to full fitness: "I asked Reubs after the game if my header was going in and could he have left it, but he said it was going wide. Credit to Reubs, I thought he outmuscled both centre-halves on the day. He was different class, and you can see he has worked hard. He hasn't been injured and laid around. He has been in that gym from nine to five, working hard. He has got his edge back and is ready to go. He's a big, big player for us this season and if we keep the Reuben that we saw on Saturday then he could get 20-25 goals."
Derek Adams too was unsurprised to see Reid back and firing so quickly whilst also giving an update on the progress of Josh Simpson and Oscar Threlkeld: "He's been working on the training field, working with the team and getting his fitness from that point of view. He's been training well with the team, so I'm not surprised. He was behind schedule coming into pre-season, and we've been able to get him up to speed very quickly. Josh will be back in full training Thursday. We're hopeful to have him back with the squad on Thursday. Obviously he's picked up injuries, and with the form of the team as well didn't help him. He's only been out for three games, so it's not a long time. We're hopeful we can get him back very quickly. Oscar's just got a slight knock, so we'll assess him over the next week or so. He won't be available for Saturday. It's just a thigh knock – he got it in training."
Derek Adams delivered a dual message to Argyle supporters following the 2-1 victory over Wycombe on Saturday. He was and is of course delighted with the greens' progress but gave caution against overexcitement bearing in mind we are still in the early stages of the season. The manager said: "Reuben started the game well and we started on the front foot. He made a great run down the side in the first minute, and brought a chance. He was terrific today, as was the rest of the team and it was a professional performance. He held the ball up; he ran down the channels; he gave their centre-halves a torrid afternoon at times – I think they were glad to see him go off in injury-time. A very good performance – but every single one of them was tremendous. To get off to a flying start was delightful. It is a difficult place to come – the grass is a wee bit longer; the pitch is narrower; and you have to get used to that – everyone in the league knows that. It's a great result and we had other chances. Wycombe had chances as well. It was an open game in the end. They didn't put the ball in the back of the net and we didn't do the same at their end. We had a number of opportunities.
"We are just looking to try to win games. We have come away from home this season and won a good number of times and it is important you can do that. We have shown how professional and how quick we can play on the counter attack, and we can defend as well. You have got to try to win your home games, but you have got to do really well away from home as well. You want to keep on winning football matches. That's our job and that's what we'll continue to try to do."
The game was delayed by 6 minutes due to an unusual occurrence. Derek Adams was unhappy with the use of GPs trackers attached to the person of the Wycombe players. He asked for clarification that they were allowed to use these and the referee was satisfied once the appropriate documentation was shown. Adams however was still not impressed, explaining: "The equipment was sticking out the back. There was a bulge in someone's jersey and I asked the referee 'Is that allowed?' I wasn't aware that it was allowed, and they provided a document to say it was.: "I don't think it should be allowed. It's a hard piece of equipment under the back of somebody's jersey. Somebody could head it and injure themselves, or somebody's finger could get caught in it. There are a number of things that can go wrong. Somebody could get choked if they are pulled too hard. I have seen them used in pre-season but I haven't seen it in a league game. I didn't ask for them to be taken off. I just wanted clarification. I'm not sure what the ruling is. I just asked a question and nobody could provide me with an answer at that time. We will get clarity from the League and hopefully get a better idea of what the thinking is."
Peter Hartley paid tribute to the Argyle fans' role in the match saying that they made it feel like a home game for them. Hartley: "I felt like we were the home team, to be honest with you. I didn't feel like we were away from home. Having the disappointment of the play-offs last season, to see those fans and sending them home happy, there's no better feeling. I was 60% fit in the play-offs. Carl McHugh was struggling, Reuben was struggling. Now we're fit and we're sharp, so that's the difference: fitness. It just goes to show you: a few fresh faces in the summer and a little break, and we look like a different team. We've got an edge, we want to win, and we love defending. There's just something about us this season. We just need to keep grounded, keep working hard in training, and look forward to Bristol Rovers next week. You can't take anything away from the start we've had, but there's another 39 games left. We're not even a quarter of the way there yet. We've just got to keep ticking those games off a game at a time, sticking to our plan, working hard every day in training and executing it on a Saturday."
Argyle have bounced firmly back to winning ways with a 2-1 victory away to Wycombe Wanderers. Reuben Reid returned to the starting eleven after a lengthy injury lay off and got himself on the scoresheet after just four minutes from a Graham Carey delivery. Wycombe equalised just 8 minutes later from former Pilgrim Jason Banton who incidentally scored his first score for the Chairboys with that strike. It was a mixed game for the remainder with either side looking like they could steal a win but it was to be Argyle's day. Yet another Carey set piece saw Jake Jervis nod the ball over the line to secure Argyle's victory which overtook Wycombe in the league table. Argyle: McCormick, Mellor, Nelson, Hartley, Sawyer, McHugh, Boateng, Jervis(Brunt), Carey, Wylde(Tanner), Reid(Cox). Subs: C Harvey, T Harvey, Bentley, Purrington.
Derek Adams has admitted he is relishing Argyle's current run of games without a midweek fixture as it allows him more time on the training field with his players to finetune their game. Adams went on to say that players, on the other hand, enjoy playing games: "You can do a wee bit of formation work and technical work which can become difficult when there are games in midweek and you need to recover and get ready for the next one. It just gives you a lot more time on the training field. As a manager, you prefer that. It gives you the whole week to prepare for a Saturday game. When it is Saturday-Tuesday then sometimes that can be good as well, if you have got a bit of momentum behind you. They do like playing Saturday-Tuesday, especially if it's at home and they don't have to do too much travelling. Players don't want to train all the time. They want to play games."
Chairman and owner James Brent has said he is pleased with the superb start to Derek Adams' reign, but not at all surprised because of his manager's 'professional' manner. He said: "We're very happy with what we have achieved to date, but we're not surprised because clearly he was such a consummate professional from the moment he came in. Right from day one he was focused on moving the club and the team forward so the fact he started so well didn't come as a great surprise. It is satisfying – there's quite a few ifs in there, but as a base principle we had limited time to make the appointment and needed to get a first-team manager in situ as soon as possible in order to have time to work on the squad. But we had much more time compared to when John Sheridan joined, which was in mid-season. We had a process which I'm used to in terms of taking on a leader, but clearly when you make a senior appointment there's an element of risk you take, so it is pleasing. I am happy with what's happened so far and long may that continue, but it's not been a surprise because from the very beginning he came across as someone who would be a winner, and who wouldn't want to lose."
Hiram Boateng has said that whilst living and playing away from home is a huge step for him in general, he is loving every minute of his Argyle experience. The Palace loanee explained: "I think I've settled in well. It's been good. Everyone's been welcoming; the players have made it really easy for me, and the fans have been just as welcoming since coming to this club. It was initially quite tough, living away from home, but I feel as though I've gotten used to it, and it just seems like normal life for me now. I had a question-and-answer session with the Senior Greens the other day, and some of the compliments I was getting from the fans was superb, and the compliments the other lads were getting as well. It allows the fans to see a different side to us, because they see us on the pitch – they don't know what we're like as people. We can interact, tell them a bit about ourselves, and hear some things from them, as well.
"This is my first proper spell playing in a first team. It's been a lot different – obviously it's been tough, mentally and physically, as well. But it's also been a good experience, being able to do this. There's much more at stake in these games, compared to playing in the Under-21s. It's definitely a blessing, being able to be in the team. It always is. That's when you're at your happiest, and that's when I feel like I'm enjoying my football and getting the best out of myself. I'm happy with the way it's gone for me, but obviously the bigger picture is how well the team's doing. That was my main aim: to come here and try bring something else to the team, so we can be in a good position throughout the season. I feel as though every game's been a tough test and a tough challenge, but the players on the pitch alongside me have helped get me through games. There's times where I've needed that extra push at the end of games, and guys like the captain, Curtis Nelson, and Carl McHugh alongside me, have always been able to push me through games and get me to the final whistle. I feel as though everyone's brought something to the table – even the lads that have come off the bench have affected games at times. I still feel as though there is more to come from everyone, and we can just keep building and building."
Adams looked forward to Argyle's match with Wycombe on Saturday in anticipation of a game between two good teams who have improved over the summer after a near miss in their chase for promotion. He said: "They've done well; like ourselves, they've had a good start. It's two teams that are in very good form, so it'll be an interesting afternoon. They've got good delivery from set-plays. So have we - we've scored a lot of goals from set-plays this season. Gareth's taken in a number of players from last season and we've done likewise. It's a new season; it's partially two new teams. He can see the way that we play and the way we pass the ball, the way we get forward and create chances. We're looking forward to it. We know the history and we'll go there with a positive attitude."
Derek Adams has only been Argyle manager for just under three months but already the fruits of his work with the Argyle academy are beginning to shine through. Adams has re-vamped the role of Argyle manager in relation to the academy and has spoke about how he feels this has gone so far: "It's been working out fine, but we've still got a long way to go. Obviously we've got to concentrate on the first team, but we look to the Peninsula League and the Under-18s at the same time. I went to a number of Under-18 games during pre-season. It's difficult to do that during the season when they're playing at 11 o'clock in the morning away from home, or at home. We saw them last week in the cup game, at home to Exeter. The Peninsula League has also helped a number of first-year and second-year pros get match-time. We've arranged a lot of games against senior opposition, and that can only improve that players that we've got. I have a wee bit of an input, from the point of view that I look to give my voice on what we can learn from other people and other clubs, and take that forward. Over a period of time, we'll all sit down and come to a conclusion. It's just about moving things forward and gaining new ideas. Kevin's done a fantastic job with the Academy.
"I think that when you're a youngster, you have to get used to playing different systems, and different areas of the pitch as well. You can't be comfortable in just the one system, because you might not be at this football club forever, and it's about treating a youngster right and giving them experience of playing in different positions. That's where we have to get to. We have done it in the past, and we look to do that in the future. There is a big jump from Under-18 football to first-team football, and it's a gap that we all wish we could have a squad in between, but finances dictate."
Adams also gave an update on the progress of Deane Smalley who is recovering from cruciate knee ligament damage. Smalley is making progress but is a fair way off match fitness yet, according to the manager: "I think he will be there for the next month and then we will see how he progresses from there. He will probably be with us for a month to two months to try to get his fitness up. He has had a nasty injury and we have to look after him. He's going with the under-18s to get his confidence and get a touch of the ball again."
Adams finally noted that he hopes the worst of Argyle's travelling problems are over now that the summer holidays have finished. Adams spoke of the frustration of long journeys waiting on the motorways, saying: "You just have to sir in the traffic as everybody does and deal with the time delays as best you can. We leave quite early on a Friday after our training session in the morning and try to arrive at the hotel for dinner at six o'clock, but sometimes that doesn't all go well. A lot of people have said this is probably the worst it has been. Hopefully, with the kids going back to school and people going back to work, it will quieten down. We haven't started on the front foot and allowed the other team to start quicker than us, so we have to change that. We have to be the ones that take the game to the opposition very quickly and see how they respond from that. It's something we will work on – and we are working on – to improve. You do remind them before kick-off but sometimes it doesn't work that way."
Derek Adams today gave a brief injury update on Reuben Reid and Josh Simpson who have each missed the last few games through injury. He said: "Reuben has trained with the squad this week so I'm hopeful of getting him back for this Saturday. Josh will hopefully train with the squad next week with the aim of getting him back for the following Saturday."
Derek Adams has a mixed view on Argyle's 2-1 loss away to Stevenage. Whilst he was pleased with certain aspects of Argyle's second half fightback, he felt that this was a stark reminder to his team that they cannot keep on starting games as slowly as they have. Adams insisted that Argyle need to be quicker out of the blocks, saying: "We obviously didn't start particularly well today and lost a poor goal after five minutes, and lost another poor goal later on in the half. It's a long way back after that. It's not something that we want to have. The way we started the game today allowed them to press us. That's not good, because they've obviously had a free week and they're raring to go. Obviously they've had a free week. Yes, we had a seven-and-a-half hour journey here, we had a six-hour journey the other night, but I'm not going to stand here and complain about it. That's what we had, and we have to get on with it. We've had a number of chances late on in the game, where we could've done better and got that equaliser.
Give credit to Stevenage: they stopped us playing at times. We were committing fouls and they were getting behind the ball, so credit to them. Overall, Stevenage pushed us, harried us, and were able to get the win.
"In the second half we pushed Stevenage back, and we might've got a draw from the game. We had to change something to try and get back in the game. We needed to keep going, because we had Stevenage on the rack for a good 15 to 20 minutes. If we were able to do that, we probably could've went on to win the game. We didn't do it enough today, what we've done in previous weeks, and that was down to Stevenage as well."
Jake Jervis agreed with his manager's assessment, adding: "It was a very bad start to be honest. We didn't get going. We keep thinking we can turn it on and off and we're not good enough to do that, plain and simple. We need to start properly from the start, from back to front. It was collective. No-one got going and they scored some poor goals. Like Tuesday night, we were coming from behind and we have shown we can do that, but it's always an uphill task. Obviously, you want to help yourself out and get the lead yourself. That's something we've got to change and we've got the game next week when we can go and do that.
"The manager felt we needed changes and did it. There was going to be a reaction, regardless, because it wasn't good enough in the first half so the boys have come on and done everything they could. We were unlucky not to get the win. It was a very good chance. I've just misjudged it, jumped up and the ball's come off my shoulder. We go again next week and I obviously hope to get goals then. We can't let this get us down. We have done so well so far this season."
In other news, Argyle have been drawn at home to Devon rivals Exeter City in the second round of the Johnstone's Paint Trophy following the 3-2 victory at Wimbledon. The game will be played on the week commencing October 5th. Derek Adams had this to say about the match: "A derby's a derby and, when derbies come along, both teams want to win. Both teams don't like each other – that's the nature of a derby match – and will want to get the upper hand on their opponents. This derby is going to be extra special. We're delighted it's a home tie. We travelled to Wimbledon for the first game, so it's obviously beneficial it's at home. We're looking forward to the first derby match and I'm sure there will be a big crowd there."
Adams final word on the weekend's action was to express his unhappiness at the performance of referee Gary Sutton whom he promised would receive an unfavourable report to the FA. Adams: "I have had a wee look at the second goal on the video and there is a touch of offside. He might just be offside at the back post because he is beyond our defenders. The players thought there was an offside but I'm not 100 per cent sure. I can't tell you. We didn't do enough to get that second goal, even though we had chances. We had one that was ruled out for I'm not sure what. It was more than six minutes. It should have been about 10 minutes. I will file my report on Monday morning and it will be not a good one."
Argyle's run of four wins in a row came to an end with a 2-1 loss away to Stevenage. The home side took the lead after another slow start from Argyle and doubled their advantage shortly before half-time. A double substitution from Argyle at the break did yield its advantages with sub Craig Tanner pulling it back to 2-1 just ten minutes after the restart. Argyle pressed and had their chances but sadly a second successive turnaround from behind was not to be. Argyle lost away from home for the first time this season. Argyle: McCormick, Mellor(Threlkeld), Nelson, Hartley, Sawyer, McHugh, Boateng(Harvey), Jervis, Carey, Wylde, Brunt(Tanner). Subs: C Harvey, Purrington, Cox, Rooney.
Ryan Brunt expects himself and the rest of the Argyle squad to put in a performance that is high on both determination and skill when they travel to Stevenage on Saturday. Brunt remembers the game of last season and hopes Argyle are cannier now: "I played in that game and the performance wasn't great. It was a scrappy game, the pitch wasn't great, and we just couldn't play the football we were used to playing. Hopefully we can go there on Saturday and mix it up a bit. I think we've got that now, that we can play but we can also do the scrappy bits and work hard. It'll be an interesting game. I think they've changed a bit, but they've still got their core group of players, so it's going to take time for them to change. I think it'll be different, but I still think the principles in the players' heads will still be to work hard and try and close us down well. It'll be a tough game. We know what their core players are all about. They haven't played in a week, either, so it'll be a tough game, but I think we can get a result."
Argyle skipper Curtis Nelson will play his 200th game for the club in the game and manager Derek Adams thinks there is still a lot of improvement to come from the 22 year old. Adams praised his captain: "He has played a lot of games, has got a lot of game-time and experience, for a young player. It is great for him to pick up that 200th appearance. He has been very good since I've been here. He now has to develop his game. He's got all the attributes to be a top player but, at 22, you don't know everything in the game. There are certain areas of the game that by experience, and learning from coaches and players, you improve on."
Reuben Reid has been ruled out of the match with his continuous hamstring injury that he picked up in the win over Northampton. Additionally, Josh Simpson will sit it out with a groin problem. Adams said: "It looks like both will be out on Saturday. I don't think they will be available and we will probably look to next week. The players that are in the team just now are doing really well."
Ryan Brunt is playing a more integral role in the team since Derek Adams became manager and he has revealed that he is loving every minute of it. Brunt spoke about the benefits of having a strong squad around him, saying: "It was nice – I think it was needed for me, personally, just to get off the mark. Last season, we were usually chasing the game if I was coming on, really. That's always frustrating, because you can't get into the game; you can't get a true footing in the game. But when I've been coming on this season, I've been doing quite well, and it's usually to steady the ship. It's been different, and we've been scoring a number of goals in games. We've conceded a few as well, but it's been more open, counter-attacking play. I have to wait for my chances, but hopefully that will give me the confidence now to take my chances and progress, as I said I would in pre-season. I've got to earn my place really. By getting the goals and putting in the performances, that's how I'm going to do it, so I'm still on the ladder to doing that, but it's a step in the right direction. I needed those two games in the reserves that really spurred me on to get match-fit. I need to help the team out – it doesn't matter if I score or get assists. As long as we're winning, that's the main thing.
"It's nice to be able to find the passes and have the runners behind me. Sometimes I have my back to goal too much, and it's a struggle for me because I'm only going to play backwards. But with runners on the wings like we have, I think it's a positive thing for us. That's what's a big change for us: we've got runners going forward, past the central striker, which I'm not sure we had too much last season when we played. I think that's a big benefit for us. There's different types of players; There's not really two players who are exactly the same, which is nice, because if the manager wants to go different ways in different games, he can."
Brunt also is of the belief that wins in all competitions can only be of benefit to his side's momentum and praised the greens' spirit in the turnaround at Wimbledon: "We take it as seriously as any other game, because we don't travel all that way and stay overnight to not take it seriously. It was frustrating because it was two soft goals we conceded, I think, but to come back and win like we did, away from home on a Tuesday night, was pleasing. You look at us today, after coming from 2-0 down to win; just walking into the changing room then, the lads are upbeat. If we didn't get that result it would've been a bit different, so that was why it was important to put a strong team out and win there. A real roll is a different thing to four wins on the bounce, but you've just got to take each game as it comes. As long as we keep getting positive results all the time and keep putting points on the board, then we're doing alright. We just need to keep our heads down and work hard, as we're doing. We're in every day and I think that's really benefiting us."
Derek Adams was nominated for the League Two manager of the month award but he was ultimately unsurprised to see the prize to go his Leyton Orient counterpart Ian Hendon. He was a little more puzzled however as to why no Argyle players were considered for player of the month. He said: "When you play in a midfield position and you score the number of goals that Graham has, and created chances and openings, I was surprised. I was surprised that Luke McCormick didn't get a shout, or some of the back players, because we had conceded only one goal from open play. When you move from any football club to football club, it's about working within the parameters of the club; taking on board what the football club is about; putting your own ideas and stamp and authority into the football club and on to the team. That's what I've tried to do and we've started well."
This season's first Argyle fans forum will take place in the Green Taverners tent at 10.30am on Saturday September 19th prior to Argyle's match against Bristol Rovers.
Argyle travel to Stevenage on Saturday and Derek Adams is hoping to build upon the good away form so far by notching up another win. Adams said: "We saw in the game that we are going to create chances," said Derek, "and, with the players we have got, we've always got the possibility of scoring goals. It was a very good performance in the end. Mixing things up, being able to change personnel, being able to change formation does help. We have been very consistent; have moved the ball very well at times; and have caused teams problems. When you go away from home, the home team always wants to come out and play. We just have to assess what they are doing and counteract that. We have got the players who have got the game-knowledge and understanding to see what they are doing and play off of that. It's probably one of the things I've noticed a big difference in England; that teams don't suss each other out in the first 15-20 minutes; usually the home team comes outs and starts very quickly. Stevenage are a powerful team; they have got players who like to get the ball down and play, but they can also mix it up. They have a powerful attacking line, as well. We'll have to deal with. The players are mentally right and physically right to go again."
Derek Adams admitted that Argyle could not afford to start games in the manner that they started the match against Wimbledon- but was delighted with the manner in which his team made up for it and came from behind to win whilst playing excellent football. Adams said there was a spell where his team were 'unplayable': "I thought it was a good game to watch myself! There were plenty of goals, plenty of action. After going 2-0 down early in the game we upped the gears and played very well after that, and scored three very good goals. We created chances in the game – we could have scored more in the second half. We've got ability, togetherness and group of players that are willing to do well, and that shone in the second half. For 15 minutes we were unplayable. For 15 minutes we were a top team. We have got the ability to be a very good team - but we can't start the way we started tonight.
"I think we needed to score before half-time. Wimbledon are dangerous because they are physical, with two strikers tonight who were very physical. The goal from Jervis was exceptional, and in the second half he was unplayable at times. On the whole it was a thoroughly professional performance. It was fantastic cross from Wylde and a great header. For Brunt to get on the goalsheet - and Carl McHugh as well – it was a good night. I know it had been a long time since Argyle won from behind. The players we've got in the squad are capable of scoring goals, there's no doubt about that. We limited them to few opportunities, after we'd gone 3-2 ahead. Some of the play, and interchange of passing, was very good. We're always going to manage to counter-attack teams. Any game we go into we want to win, and we made that plainly obvious tonight."
Argyle have now made it an impressive four wins in a row in all competitions but more importantly have surpassed a milestone with the 3-2 win at AFC Wimbledon in the first round of the JPT. For the first time in 913 days, Argyle have came from behind to win a competitive match. A slow start by Argyle saw Wimbledon surge into a 2-0 lead within the first 25 minutes and it looked as though their progression into the second round of the Johnstone's Paint Trophy was all but assured. However a fine goal from Jake Jervis shortly before half-time halved the deficit and a quickfire start to the second half with Ryan Brunt and Carl McHugh finding the net saw Argyle do what they hadn't done in two and a half years: lead from a losing position. Argyle did not extend the lead any further but saw the game out and got the monkey off of their backs. Argyle: McCormick, Mellor, Nelson, Hartley, Sawyer, McHugh, Boateng, Jervis, Carey, Wylde(Threlkeld), Brunt(Tanner). Subs: C Harvey, Cox, T Harvey.
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