AFTER losing a game in which his side have lead for the first time since he became Plymouth Argyle manager, you could understand John Sheridan being frustrated.However, the 2-1 scoreline by which the Pilgrims lost at Morecambe does not tell the full story of what the manager described as a ‘chance missed’ in Lancashire.
Reuben Reid put Argyle in front from the penalty spot, but Morecambe flooded forward from the restart, equalising through Kevin Ellison within seconds. Lead, momentum and temper all lost at the same time.
A late winner by Padraig Amond in an almost chanceless second half compounded the misery.
“The biggest let down is losing the lead,” said John, “I thought we were the better team. We get the lead, and then it’s unbelievable to concede ten seconds after we’ve just scored.
“It’s unbelievable - how can you concede ten seconds after you score?
“That’s mentally switching off and not organising from a kick off. We’ve just scored, and if you keep the lead for five or ten minutes, you have the belief that we can get something out of the game.
“Instead, it puts them on the front foot. It’s a joke the way we conceded that goal.
“Even then, just get a point out of the game. Other than Neal’s chance, I didn’t think we were going to score. We just didn’t get hold of the ball. Too many players went missing second half.”
There doesn’t seem to be a problem with Argyle in first halves. Three goals in the blitz of Cheltenham Town would serve to prove that.
As would the performance at home the Rochdale a week later, with only the best 45 minutes of Dale keeper Josh Lillis’ life keeping the score at 1-0.
After the break, though, it just isn’t happening. Argyle were at least the match for their hosts at the Globe Arena until half time, but after the change of ends Morecambe asserted themselves and the Pilgrims’ floundered.
“The biggest problem is that I’m trying to preach into them the mentality of some of them,” said John, “It’s just not what I want. It’s not the mentality I want. I want winners, and I think the game was there was there if you wanted it today.
“In the second half we just did not get going. The ball was in the end and all around. It was scrappy.
“They put us on the back foot like we did to them first half. We just didn’t get going at all. We had one chance from Neal Trotman and their keeper’s made a great save.
“I thought it was a great opportunity to get ourselves something out of the game. Even if it’s a point, let’s get something out of the game. The way it went first half, and when we scored, I thought it was three points. But it wasn’t, because they worked harder than us for the win. They believed that they could win more than us, Morecambe, and that really disappoints me.
“I’m watching players who are performing really well in the first half. I can only talk and say the same old things. We played well in the first half and in the second half I didn’t know what I was watching.
“It’s a mindset, it’s a mentality. The mentality is to get out of this league you’ve got to do the ugly things and compete.
"They were in your face, playing forward quickly with the wind, but the game was there if we wanted it. But we didn’t want it enough.”