DESPITE notching his second goal of the season, Conor Hourihane was understandably deflated as Argyle let slip a 1-0 lead to go down 2-1 at Cheltenham Town.The Irishman scored on the half hour with a neat finish from the edge of the box to give Argyle the lead, but despite the Pilgrims’ fine performance at the Abbey Business Stadium, they left Gloucestershire empty handed.
“We’re gutted,” said Conor, “I thought we dominated the game for big spells and to lose, especially with two set pieces when they haven’t even broken us down. It’s disappointing.
“I think the way we lost will be disappointing for a couple of days. All the lads are hurting. But in a couple of days we’ll look back at playing well for large spells in the game.
“They lost in the play-off final last year, and we were down struggling for large parts of the season. It shows what big leaps we’ve taken. We’re a good team in this league, definitely pushing for play-offs, and hopefully we’ll get there.
“But it takes time. People are putting a lot of pressure on us. There are a lot of young lads in the team, but we’re definitely going in the right direction.
“I’ve said this year that I want to score more goals. I’ve got two now, early on in the season. I think that’s fourteen games. I got two in forty last year, so hopefully I can get a bit more.
In the dying moments of the first half Conor played a beautiful one-two with Guy Madjo and danced his way into the area, but found Robins’ ‘keeper Scott Brown in good form, and the score remained 1-1 going into the break.
Conor said: “It fell to me nicely.
“I ran my way into the box, but it was on my right foot so I didn’t hit it as well. I hit the target but I should have done better.”
In addition to his goal and an all-action performance in the middle of the park, Hourihane picked up a caution, as he was adjudged by referee Stephen Martin to have dived when tackled, a claim he refutes.
He will now miss the trip to Rotherham on Saturday due to this being his fifth caution of the season.
“It’s really frustrating,” admitted Hourihane, “Especially for such a silly thing.
“I don’t think it was a dive, but the referee said it was so we move on. It’s frustrating.”
After the match, Argyle boss Carl Fletcher expressed sympathy for Conor’s booking, as well as offering some words of praise for his performance.
“He’s full of energy,” said Carl, “His confidence is high. Unfortunately, he got a booking for diving.
“I’m disappointed for him. If he goes in and makes a bad challenge, or mis-times one, then, fair enough. Or if he said something to the referee out of tune, then you can’t complain.”