LIKE every Pilgrim who made the journey of faith to the Abbey...
...Deane Smalley was left to rue the momentary lack of awareness that cost Argyle defeat in their opening Sky Bet League 2 match of the 2014-15 season.
Josh Coulson prodded home from a 61st-minute corner to score Cambridge United’s first goal back in the Football League ranks after a nine-year absence and give the U’s a lead which they never relinquished.
Deane, 25, was one of five players making their Argyle debut and admitted the 1-0 defeat, if not a team performance which showed much promise, left a bad taste in the mouth.
“It was very disappointing,” he said. “In the first game of the season, no matter who you are playing, you are looking to get the three points.
“Saying that, I don’t think we deserved to get beaten today. I thought we put in a good shift, especially first half, created a few chances, and were a little bit unlucky to concede in the second half.
“I thought we played relatively well; [there was] just a little bit of lapse of concentration from everyone at a set-piece. You don’t want to be conceding from them.
“At the other end, we had plenty of set-pieces [of the sort] that we need to do better with and get our heads on, and hopefully score a few more goals that way during the season.”
The Pilgrims dominated a first half in which Cambridge were denied from going in front when Deane’s former Oxford United team-mate Luke McCormick saved Adam Cunnnington’s 12th-minute penalty.
“He’s unbelievable and he proved that today,” said Deane. “He couldn’t do anything with the goal; he’s saved a penalty; and made a few good one-on-one saves that have kept us in the game.
“Saying that, we’ve had a couple of chances at the other end and we need to be more ruthless.”
Deane completed 90 minutes in the Green for the first time since coming to Home Park in the summer, having picked up a thigh injury in pre-season that limited his game-time in Argyle’s warm-up to the new campaign.
“It was early doors,” he said, of the timing of the injury, “when all you want to do is impress not just your manager, but your team-mates, as well. In the early games, you want to impress the fans – let them know what you are about. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to do that; hopefully, now the season’s started, I can start showing them.
“I know I’ve not played many games, but I’ve been in the gym and working hard with [Performance Manager] John Harbin, making sure I was match-fit.
“I’m not going to say I was 100% all the way through the game. I did have heavy legs towards the end, but I was expecting that – it was the first game of the season.”
Argyle now have two big home matches, against Leyton Orient in the Capital One Cup on Tuesday, and the visit of Devon rivals Exeter City in the league on Saturday.
“We need to put this result behind us, starting Tuesday,” said Deane. “If we can get a good result there, we can kick on our season; Exeter is a massive game – hopefully we can get three points on the board then.
“Our priority will be the league this year, but we know every club wants to have a good cup run, no matter what league they are in. Hopefully, we can get a good result on Tuesday.”