23rd October 2012
WHADDON Road. It should be Heartbreak Avenue.For a second successive season, Argyle were denied their just deserts by a Cheltenham side that rode their luck to win 2-1.
The Pilgrims were the ultimate tragic victims, a side undone by a fatal weakness. Failure to defend set-pieces.
Having taken the lead through Conor Hourihane in the 30th minute and dominated the play from thereon in, they were pegged back by one corner seven minutes later, and lost their three-match unbeaten run in the 77th-minute in similar style.
“I’m really disappointed,” said manager Carl Fletcher afterwards. “I think we looked great tonight.
“We will play worse and win games. The lads will be disappointed now, but the way they played was a joy to watch.
“In the second half, we totally dominated. We didn’t look in any trouble at all. We stuck to our job, kept the ball down, and made numerous chances.
“We were beaten by two set-plays. That’s disappointing, but I think our overall performance was really good tonight.”
Despite conceding goals to two corners, Fletch is not about to change his footballing ethos.
“Cheltenham are a big side, and the players we’ve got are good technical players but they aren’t the tallest,” he admitted.
“Do you have someone in your team who is 6ft 2in, who can mark at set-pieces and can’t control a bag of cement?
“Or do you get someone who has got good energy, likes to get on the ball in all different positions, be brave, and who’s 5ft 8in?
“It’s a no-brainer for me.”
The Pilgrims had two excellent penalty shouts, for fouls on Guy Madjo and Darren Purse that came before Kaid Mohamed’s late winner.
“The first one on Guy was a stonewaller,” said Fletch, “a penalty and a sending-off.
“But that’s the way it goes.
“The winning goal was probably totally against the run of play. We weren’t just punting the ball forward; we tried to get it down.
“It came off sometimes; sometimes it didn’t. We felt comfortable, and, the more possession we had, the more chances we were creating.”
Arguably the best chance of the game came when Luke Young’s free-kick hit a post and rebounded to Alex MacDonald, who headed over an open goal.
“He was in the right position,” said Fletch. “On another day, it would have gone in off his bum and it would have been a goal.
“A draw would have been the least we deserved.
“That’s just football. You don’t always get what you deserve in games.”