WITH the exception of striker Guy Madjo starting in place of the injured Rhys Griffiths......the Argyle side that began the home game against Rochdale was identical to the one that began the second half at Barnet seven days previous.
At Underhill, Argyle had raced to a 2-0 lead, but, after an enforced change meant Barnet altering their shape and bolstering their midfield, they began to cause the Pilgrims one or two problems.
Cue master tactician Carl Fletcher. He withdrew Madjo, who had done nothing particularly wrong, replacing him with Andres Gurrieri.
The Argentinean substitute immediately found joy in the hole behind Griffiths, with Argyle switching from their previous 4-4-2 formation to one more resembling a modern 4-2-3-1.
Barnet barely had a kick in the second half, and Argyle cruised to victory like Frankel outpacing Old Man Steptoe’s Hercules.
Gurrieri took his place in Argyle’s starting line-up against Rochdale in the same position, and his contribution to Argyle’s fluidity immediately caused Dale problems.
To the naked and untrained eye, this simple tactical call seemed to make all the difference to Argyle, both at Barnet and then at home to Rochdale. After the latter, though, Fletch revealed a small detail that he had requested of his team, which they had duly delivered on.
He said: “We looked at changing a few things.
“For our home form, we are sometimes too enthusiastic with our closing down, leaving big gaps. We were better today; we condensed the pitch a little bit.
“It was a case of telling the lads that – it’s alright – if a team comes here, they are allowed to have possession.
“Sometimes when you are home you just want to win the ball back all the time and it’s not always the right time to do it.
“I’m really pleased they took everything on board. The lads showed the quality that they’ve got and the desire and hunger to get the three points.”