The Swindon Systems

DESPITE bowing out of the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy in the second round with a defeat at Swindon Town, there were positives to take from Argyle’s 2-1 defeat in Wiltshire.

Even though they led through an early Andre Blackman goal, the Pilgrims were second best for much of the first 45 minutes to a stylish and confident Swindon side. Playing a fluid 3-5-2 system, the Robins dictated play and deserved their equaliser as they drew level before the interval.

Town notched to make it 2-1 only seconds after the break, and this is how the scoreline would remain. However, the  pattern of play altered significant as Argyle learned ways of stopping their hosts from bossing the play.

By the end of game, with Argyle having abandoned their 4-4-2 in favour of a system more matched to their opponents, the away team was the one with most of the ball and doing all the pressing.

After the game, assistant manager Gary Owers noted this, and said he felt Argyle were a little unlucky not to force a draw – and another penalty shoot-out.

“Second half, I thought once we got to grips with their system – it was very hard to contain them in the first half – we were probably unfortunate not to nick an equaliser,” Gary said.

“We worked very hard against a good team. There were some players out there that cost a lot of money and some players with Premier League quality. But we stuck to our guns. After a good start, we’re disappointed we’ve lost the game.

“We worked very hard against the ball, but we never really got a foothold in the game in terms of possession. Once we made the change, that changed a little bit.

“There’s no lack of effort from our players at the minute. We just need a little bit more quality.

“We’re our own worst enemies, and we seem to be getting stuffed for every mistake that we make. We nicked an early goal and we thought we might have gone to do better than we did after that good start.

“Then the [Swindon player] gets the wrong side of Jamie [Reckord] and we’re level, and 50 seconds after the restart, we’re 2-1 down. That’s basic elementary mistakes. We gave the ball away cheaply 50 seconds after a restart. It’s not the first time that’s happened.

“We finished with a little bit of a flurry. The last ten minutes, we got down the sides of them and around the back. There were a few balls going across the face of the goal but we just couldn’t get that final touch. And that’s what it’s all about the minute. We’re trying to score more goals.”