IN THE quest for League 2 survival...
...incoming manager John Sheridan knew that it would be a tough task to rejuvenate Argyle’s flagging season.
From Day One, he declared his quest for consistency; to get his new team working hard and looking organised on a regular basis.
A home win over promotion-seeking Cheltenham Town added some pleasing stats to the facts of figures of Sheridan’s tenure so far.
This was a third successive home win, all coming against teams in the division's top ten. It means Argyle have lost only once at Home Park in 2013, having played nine games. This was also a fourth clean sheet in six games.
More tellingly, this 2-0 victory was the fourth in the last five outings, with the odd blip being a loss at struggling York – a side that had gone 16 games without a win.
That anomaly aside, Sheridan is starting to find the qualities that he sought, and the points that the entire football club so desperately craved.
“I’ve always said that the magic work is ‘consistency’,” said John. “This is what I’m trying to get out of the players. I won’t leave them alone until I get it. I think we are improving.
“The York game was a downer. It was the way we performed, more than anything. I’ll accept losing games, but it was the manner.
“I thought this was a very good performance - a great comeback from a disappointing one at York, where we weren’t at the races.
“To come back and give that performance against a very good team going for automatic promotion was outstanding from the players. We could have scored a lot more goals than we did.
“Generally, I’ve been very pleased with the way we’ve been playing; we’re improved and we look solid. We’ve got a very good habit in keeping clean sheets. We’re doing it well at the moment.
“But it’s as a team, it’s not just the defenders and the 'keeper. I thought we worked very hard from the front today and that’s what won us the game. I thought my front four worked really hard and it unsettled them.”
Much of the unsettling was done by Argyle forward Reuben Reid. Robins boss Mark Yates meant it as a compliment when he told the throng of reporters after the game that Reid had ‘bullied’ Cheltenham’s two centre-backs. It was probably Reid’s best ever performance at Home Park, and he capped it with the opening goal.
“He could have scored a hat-trick, couldn’t he?” said John. “I think that he worked very hard and got his reward. It’s about being in the right place at the right time.”
A second goal was added, after the break, after Onismor Bhasera thundered a ball into the box and it was turned into his own net by Robins' defender Michael Hector. Cheltenham had chances to soften the deficit, but Argyle had plenty to widen it.
Said John: “Baz and Joe down the left were really strong. They were a solid and a threat all day. Baz got into a dangerous area and was effective. He drove in there and got a little bit of luck. It was a good ball in and it takes a deflection.
“But we’ve had good opportunities to score goals today. Plenty of better opportunities. But to win 2-0 is very pleasing.
“They had one or two chances. They are a threat, they’re a good team, so I was on edge. It would have been great to get that third goal, and if we had have got the third we might have got four or five. But I’m not grumbling. Full credit to the players.”