Chances & Changes

IN Plymouth Argyle’s five home fixtures in the league this year, they have managed just two goals: 1-0 wins over Rochdale and Bristol Rovers...

...were each won by single Reuben Reid goals, from the penalty spot and a header from a free-kick, respectively.

Other than that, the Argyle scoresheet has remained conspicuously blank.

Against bottom-of-the-league Accrington Stanley, the Pilgrims certainly created chances. Good ones, in fact, most of them in the opening half an hour. But none found the net, and so the time remaining in the game seemed to correlate with the confidence on show.

Frustrating for everyone: for the players, the fans and, indeed, the manager, who spoke out about the team’s lack of goals immediately post-Stanley.

“The game should have been over at half time,” said John Sheridan, “but we haven’t taken our chances and we’ve made life difficult.

“The game was there if we wanted it, but we made very hard work of it. The game was more difficult than it should have been. I didn’t think we got going in the second half.

“We’ve had good chances to score goals. And I mean good chances. If you take your chances and score goals, the outcome of the game is different and I think the performance would be different. It’s a big downer because we haven’t taken them.

“There’s a lot of pressure on us now. We’re not scoring goals and we’re not winning games. People are getting very agitated. We’ve got to accept that it wasn’t good enough.

“When you get a chance only two minutes into the game, you’ve got to bury that. I don’t blame people for missing chances. You don’t dwell on it, but it’s ended with us not winning the game.

“Everyone’s getting a bit ratty, including myself, because we want to win. I can’t fault [the players] effort – I think they put a lot of effort in – but it’s not all about effort. It’s about knowhow and awareness.”

Due to the dearth of goals, Sheridan gave an indication that he may be looking at making notable alterations ahead of a big couple of weeks for Argyle. The Pilgrims travel to Devon neighbours Exeter City next weekend, followed by the first visit of dockyard rivals Portsmouth to Home Park in the football league for more than two decades.

The starting line-up has remained largely unaltered over the past few games, and there are signs showing that this may not be the case for very much longer.

“I’m picking the same players,” said John. “I believe in them to score goals, but we’re not are we?

“We created lots of chances last week and we created good chances today. But we’re not burying them. Two blanks. And we all know if you don’t score, you won’t win games. It’s a big problem at the moment.

“I’m trying to put belief in the players. I’m sticking up for them and trying to be on their side. But my patience is slowly going. We all want to win football matches. We need to start hitting the back of the net.

“Usually in this league, if you score the first goal, you win the game.

“Is it time for change? That’s something I’ve really got to look at now. Am I losing patience? Well we’re not winning games and we’re not scoring goals. It might be time for big change to give people an opportunity to show me. There are one or two probably thinking ‘When am I going to get a game?’

“Whether I bring people in, or throw in one or two that are already here, I’ll look at that and think about it this week.”