Bang On Banton
JASON Banton left it to the Pilgrims’ last home game of the season to give the Green Army a full-on reminder of his undoubted talents.The 21-year-old opened the scoring with a superb individual goal after half an hour of Saturday’s 1-1 draw with Hartlepool United, his first strike since rejoining Argyle from Crystal Palace in the January transfer-window.
Jack Barmby levelled matters midway through the second half to deny the Green Army a winning end to the 2013-14 Sky Bet League 2 home season, leaving Jason to rue that, although his strike was one of his best, it had not produced more.
“It was definitely up there,” he said, “but it counted for a point, not the three points that we wanted.
“I picked [the ball] up and looked to pass it at first, but didn’t really see anything on so I just drove at the defence and got my shot off. Thankfully, it went in.”
Jason’s goal celebrations included a hug for Argyle Performance Manager John Harbin, who has helped him after his move back to Home Park, after a potent loan spell in the second half of last season, became a little hard going.
“We have worked a lot together, and I have definitely got lot to thank him for,” said Jason, “just getting my head right. Being an attacking forward player and with what I did last season, coming back and it not happening straight away, it is tough mentally.
“We are humans, as well as footballers so it is tough, but John helped me, humbled me and kept going.
“I have not been letting it get to me, just worked hard in training and slowly getting back to it. The season is coming to an end but, hopefully, it will be a kick-start for next season.
“There was always going to be the expectation, but that was just fantasy. I’ve taken things slowly into my stride and it’s just unfortunate there is only one more game to go.”
That game is a Dockyard Derby at Fratton Park next Saturday, when Argyle will achieve their best league finish for ten seasons.
Despite that, and despite nearly becoming extinct three seasons ago, there is a real feeling around Home Park that it should have been so much better.
“We have let ourselves down over the last eight or nine games,” said Jason, “but, overall, compared to the last few we seasons, when we have been fighting relegation, even though we are disappointed not to be in the play-offs, we are happy we are not down there this year.
“You look at the stadium, the fans – 100% we should be higher than where we are. Hopefully we can put that right next season.
“We’re looking to go to Portsmouth next week, get the three points, dust ourselves down and come back in the summer, ready to go.”