AS a rainy and raucous Rodney Parade played host to Argyle’s 2-0 Sky Bet League 2 defeat to Newport County......Pilgrims’ John Sheridan would have liked to see his side adapt better to their difficult surroundings.
Goals from Chris Zebroski and Mark Byrne, in the ninth and 82nd minutes, respectively, made sure that the Pilgrims were unable to add to their three away wins so far this season from a trip to South Wales that could hardly have felt more hostile.
As well as the impressive noise made from the 5,020 fans inside the ground (bolstered handily by the near 1,200-strong showing from the Green Army), both teams had to contest a notoriously tricky playing surface, worsened more by rainfall from clouds that had hung over the area since early morning.
This meant that Argyle’s familiar, fluid, style of football that has served up plenty of success this season was hard to put into practice against the Exiles, who played much more directly and into the channels to great effect, whilst narrowing the pitch and not giving their visitors many chances to get behind them.
“It was difficult conditions for both sets of players,” said John. “We needed to score, and we needed to get ourselves back in the game.
“It was just a bit too slow. We kept possession of the ball, but we did not really hurt them.”
Indeed, Argyle looked much the better side for much of the Sky Bet League 2 fixture, keeping hold of the ball and posing a threat. This time, though, that strategy was not effective, and Sheridan is eager to see his side adapt to each game – and its conditions – better in the future.
“I think we penetrated without hurting them too much, and I thought we just overplayed it a little too much at times,” he said.
“[We should have] put balls in the box a little bit more and make them defend. I think we just overplayed at times, instead of playing off the front, especially when we are 1-0 down. Play off the front a little earlier, get up there and support them earlier.
“I felt we were just predictable, but we did keep possession of the ball at times.
“We knew it would be a different game to when we are at home and passing it around. You have got to get that killer instinct, and sometimes you have got to change your game around.
“When Marvin [Morgan] comes on [as a second-half substitute], I would have liked him to stand up against the young kid at the back and play off of him a little bit more, but we did not do that. I could have left Lewis [Alessandra] on if we were going to play to feet all day.”