Battle Hardened

ARGYLE boss John Sheridan tentatively declared himself happy with a ‘battling’ point at home to Bradford City.

Both sides had chances to win the game, each hitting the woodwork in the second half, but the match remained goalless.

In six minutes of injury time at the conclusion of the match, Argyle looked to have snatched it when Bantams’ ‘keeper Matt Duke dropped a high ball in his area under pressure, but substitutes
Tyler Harvey and Nick Chadwick could not conjure the ball home as it ricocheted across the six-yard box.

“I thought it was a good battling point,” said Sheridan. “I can’t fault the effort from the players. I thought they worked their socks off.

“[Bradford]’ve got some good players for this division – they’ve just come from a cup final – so we knew it would be a tough game. We just didn’t get that little break.

“They’ve had one or two chances; we’ve had one or two chances. I can’t fault our effort. If we keep doing that, we’ll win more than we lose.

“I don’t think we played great but it was a good workmanlike effort against a decent side.”

Argyle made a bright start, playing the majority of the football in the first 45 minutes without greatly troubling their visitors. As more time elapsed, the more like Bradford looked like being the team to open the deadlock, but Argyle repelled a series of late attacks.

The defence was marshalled by Paul Wotton and Guy Branston, partnering each other in the heart of a defence for the first time in more than 14 years, and kept a clean sheet.

Sheridan, though, feels that although collectively his side defend well, it is the individual errors that they must cut out to ensure goals are not given away cheaply.

He said: “We  played well in the first half. We started well, moved the ball well and kept it and got in good areas. Then, all of a sudden, we got sloppy and stopped doing the things that were causing the opposition problems. I think that’s out biggest downfall at the moment.

“I look at their chances and think ‘Why are we playing offside when Jake makes a good save in the first half?’ I haven’t a clue.

“Then there’s a miskicked clearance – one of my pet hates – and we just put ourselves under pressure by doing silly things. I don’t ever think it’s from the opposition cutting us open or anything; I think we defend okay as a team.”

Wimbledon were the only team in the bottom seven to pick up a victory – winning 3-1 at Southend – and, with Acrrington going down 3-0 at home to Fleetwood, it means Argyle’s home point takes them off the bottom of the table, leapfrogging Stanley.

Fleetwood will visit Home Park on Saturday in a game which takes on increasing importance by the day.

“It’s a big game,” said John, “We’ve got to win.

“Results haven’t gone too bad for us, so we haven’t lost any ground. But we were at home and we haven’t scored again. It would have been nice to get that poxy goal at the end, wouldn’t it? It would give everyone a massive lift. How it’s stayed out, I will never know.

“But that’s life and it’s what happens to you when you are near the bottom of the league. We’ve just got to keep battling. We don’t know what points (tally) is going to keep us up in this league; at the end of the day if we stay in this league, that’s all we’re worried about.

“All the teams are getting results still at the bottom. Everyone’s fighting for the same.”