AFTER a series of disappointing home performances, Argyle boss John Sheridan was relieved as his side not only registered a precious victory at home to Barnet, but looked good in doing so.Although the Pilgrims fell behind to a goal by Jake Hyde against the run of play, they equalised through Conor Hourihane to draw level by half-time.
Five minutes after the restart, Ronan Murray finished a fine team move to score what would turn out, ultimately, to be the winning goal.
It was a different looking Argyle side to recent Home Park outings; not necessarily in personnel, but in attitude and confidence. The irony there being that even the gaffer admitted to nerves prior to this crucial fixture.
“I was nervous before the game, but I don’t think the players showed it,” said Sheridan. “We know what’s at stake and the importance of three points.
“It is always a good feeling when you go a goal down and you’ve got the character to come back and win the game.
“Even if we’d have lost today, I’d have been pleased with the performance. From the word ‘go’, we got at them and we were spot on. We caused them problems, got in their face and stopped them from playing. We were well-deserved winners.
“In the last two away games, you can see the lads are working their socks off. I don’t think we got our rewards from the last two away games.
“Today, we worked really hard, because the performances have been very lacklustre at home. We looked like a totally different team.”
After an initial win against Morecambe, John’s home record had been a little ropey. Two consecutive 0-0 draws were followed by a dismal 1-0 defeat at HQ by Oxford, with frustration and irritation starting to set in in all quarters of the ground.
The Green Army, though, responded to a ticket offer from the club and more than 8,000 fans saw the victory over the Bees – and the improved performance in doing so.
Of the Home Park goal-drought, John said: “We couldn’t play any worse, could we? If we’d played any worse than we have been playing at home, I’d have probably packed it in myself!
“They [Barnet] are a good team, and they’ve had some good results in the last six games. They do move the ball and their movement is good. But I thought we played them off the park at times.
“The first goal was a great goal: nice passage of play; simple football; and a great finish from Conor. He’s a good finisher; in training, he usually hits the target. If you hit the target, you’ve got a chance of scoring, haven’t you?
“The fans are brilliant aren’t they? I’ve been here six or seven weeks, and the support we get is unbelievable for a club who are bottom of the league.
“I’ve played at some big clubs like Leeds and Sheffield Wednesday, where they have massive support, but these are phenomenal for me. It’s scary.
“Results have gone our way but one game at a time, and try to pick up three points from each game.
“If we do that, we’ll see where it takes us.”