FOR an hour on Saturday, Argyle outplayed high-flying Chesterfield.However, the home side were already a goal up before that hour started, and, during it, the Pilgrims conceded a soft second from the penalty spot.
Even so, they continued to dominate, only fading away in the game’s final quarter after Reuben Reid missed the game’s second penalty.
As such, a 2-0 defeat was hard to take for manager John Sheridan.
“I don’t think we deserved to lose the game, I really don’t,” he said.
“We were excellent, going forward, in the first half. We really played well, but we gave two poor goals away again.
“I don’t think [Chesterfield] caused us a problem in the first half. Their ’keeper made a great save in the first half, a great save in the second half.
“When you look at the goals we conceded, it gives you a real mountain to climb, but I can’t fault the way we played. We dominated the first half, but were two down so we can’t have dominated it that much.
“They were very poor goals on our part, but we responded well. Even going in 2-0 down, I said to the lads: ‘We can get right back into this game if you believe in it’.”
Chesterfield’s first, in the ninth minute, came from a corner that was headed home by debutant defender Matty Brown after goalkeeper Luke McCormick appeared to have been blocked.
“First and foremost, it was a cheap corner,” said John. “The ball should have been headed back, not out for a corner. Whether Luke was blocked, I don’t know – he says he was – but, full credit to [Brown], I think his desire to score the goal was there. It settles them and puts us on the back foot.
“We took over the game then. I seem to be saying the same old thing – I think we deserved something out of the game, but we haven’t got it. I don’t make excuses. I thought there was definitely something to get there.”
Chesterfield doubled their lead three minutes before half-time when Marc Richards netted a penalty given after both Conor Hourihane and Durrell Berry went to ground challenging for the same ball.
“I can’t see if it’s handball or not,” said John, who thinks that the ball should not even have reached the Pilgrims’ danger zone. “The referee didn’t give it. It was the linesman who gave it. The official who was 50 yards away gave it.
“[The ball] shouldn’t have bounced in our half. One of our lads should have headed it. Then it wouldn’t have even got to the penalty stage. The ball was there to be won and headed back into the opposition’s half, and we didn’t do it. That’s why we got in the position we did.”