As Good as a Goal
LAYING on Argyle’s late, late equaliser in their 1-1 Sky Bet League 2 draw with Mansfield was as good as scoring it for substitute Nathan Thomas.Thomas, 19, came off the bench and set up Lewis Alessandra for the Pilgrims’ leveller in the last of six minutes injury-time after Matt Rhead had given the Stags a 74th-minute opener.
“I started off as a centre-forward,” said the Geordie wide man, “so I love scoring goals. But, as a winger, you get a little bit more joy from an assist than a goal because your job is to put the ball into the box. It’s the equivalent of scoring a goal.”
It was the second time in successive Saturdays that manager John Sheridan’s in-game tactics had helped Argyle earn a point, following Luke Young’s point-saving free-kick at home to Cheltenham seven days earlier.
John’s instructions to Nathan had been: “Change the game; be direct; get us up the pitch quick; and be creative in the final third; if I get my chance in the final third to get one on one with [my marker] and go past him. The one time I did get the chance to square him up, I went past him and the goal came from it.
“In the past couple of weeks, the manager’s substitutions have been the difference in the game. Last week, Youngy came on and he changed the game; this week, as well. That’s what has saved us the two points.”
Argyle have now salvaged 13 points through goals after the 78th minute of matches and Nathan said: “We have got an attitude now, the amount of points we are picking up in the final 10-15 minutes of games.
“We looked a lot fitter than them, we were always going to go to the 90th minute and beyond, and, if you keep plugging away, you will eventually get that chance and Lewi took his goal really well.
“We work hard in training. We train like we play. We go to the death. As soon as we get the chance to break away, we break with pace.
“We’ll keep going. In every game, we’ll go to the end. We have got a lot of results at the end of games. Today, it was only one point but we have won in the last minute before. Keep going, and if you get something, you get something; if you don’t, at least you’ve tried.
“We know how good we can be and how well we have been playing without getting the results we deserve.
“I think that was the worst we’ve played all season, by far. We were very poor. I don’t think either side deserved to win, but if anybody did, we definitely did because we had more chances.
“We definitely deserved something from the game – if the game had gone on for another five minutes, I think we’d have won it.”