MIDWAY through the first-half of a tense game at Spotland, Argyle were having the best of what always promised to be a tight game with Rochdale.However, as former Pilgrim George Donnelly got beyond Argyle’s back-line, he found himself clipped by Maxime Blanchard. A free-kick was awarded, and the Frenchman dismissed, meaning Argyle faced a long period of time trying to secure a result with only ten men.
“It was a sending-off,” admitted boss John Sheridan. “[Max] was the last man, it was bad positioning. The lad was clean through.
“I’m disappointed for Max. He was gutted; he doesn’t want to be sent off in a big game for us.
“It wasn’t a bad tackle or anything, it’s just the rules of football now: if you’re last man, you get sent off. I think it’s a stupid rule, but that’s the way it is.
“That’s when you think ‘Oh, here we go’. But I thought we defended really well. I thought a lot of [Rochdale’s] efforts were from long range.”
Joe Bunney’s late goal broke Argyle’s resistance, condemned tem to a 1-0 defeat, and meant they were reliant on results from elsewhere confirming their Football League survival.
“It’s a crying shame we didn’t get the draw,” said John, “because I’d be more cheerful as we’d have done it ourselves and not relied on others.
“But we’ve beaten teams like Southend, Rotherham, Cheltenham and Exeter. Some of the results we’ve had since I’ve been here have been really good and we’ve played really well as well.”