JOHN Sheridan praised his players’ fighting qualities as they came from behind at Wimbledon on Sunday to earn a 1-1 and keep their unbeaten Christmas run going.Reuben Reid drove home an 88th-minute equaliser at Kingsmeadow to cancel out Michael Smith’s opener two minutes after the break and add another Sky Bet League 2 point to the six already gleaned from victories over Bury, at Home Park, at Oxford.
“You could see the fight in the team,” said John. “We were not giving up. Sometimes you have to scrap your way and, without it being a great performance; we have come away with a point.
“I don’t think we started the game well. I thought we were a bit flat in the first 15-20 minutes and [Wimbledon] played a system that I didn’t think they’d play – 3-5-2 – against us. It caused us one or two problems and we adjusted.
“In the last ten minutes of the first half, we sussed it out a little bit and got into the game. At half-time, we were talking about going out and winning the game, then we were a goal down within two minutes and you have given yourself a mountain.
“We deserved something for our second-half performance. The subs gave us a bit of a spark when they came on. I changed my system myself and went 3-5-2 – matched them – and we started getting in the game a little bit more. Tope [Obadeyi] looked good when he came on, he had a bit of pace and tempo about him; Nathan [Thomas] played his part.
“We finished the game really strong. With two minutes to go and 1-0 down, it is pleasing that you end up getting something from it.”
The goal that levelled the match was Reuben’s 12th of the season, which keeps him up among League 2’s leading scorers, and was set up for him by teenage defender Ben Purrington.
John said: “Reuben has been in and around the penalty are and it was a great finish from him. Ben’s ball was a brilliant ball into a dangerous area and Reuben was in an area where he has got a chance to score.
“The ball has gone in an area between people and, when a ball goes in that area the way Ben has put it in, with a little bit of pace, it gives them a problem.
“But [Reuben] has to be in the right place at the right time and he has finished it well. He has kept [the ball] down and it is a great finish.
“We responded well. I don’t think it was a great game, but it was a hard-fought game.”
Argyle’s final match of the busy Christmas period is on New Year’s Day, when Torquay United visit for a return Devon Derby after the two teams drew 1-1 at Plainmoor earlier in the season.
“They gave us a very hard game and I expect a very hard game on Wednesday,” said John, “but we’re at home and when we’re at home – it doesn’t matter who we play – I expect us to beat teams, and that’s what we are going to try to do.
“Seven points from nine is good but we’re greedy and want the three against Torquay. We’ll be trying our hardest to get three points.
“Derby games are always tight and usually a battle, but we’re at home and, if we can get three points, then 10 points out of 12 is a very good outcome over the Christmas period.”