ON New Year’s Day, Caolan Lavery again showed he is the man to get the party started.For the third time in four matches, the on-loan Northern Ireland Under-21 international striker opened the scoring to pave the way for an Argyle victory.
Caolan netted the Pilgrims’ first in their 2-0 Home Park win over neighbours Torquay at Home Park, having also scored first in the 2-1 win over Bury before Christmas and the 3-2 triumph at Oxford on Boxing Day.
Caolan was delighted to net in front of a 10,000-plus Derby Day crowd, personally and for the team.
“It was brilliant,” he said, “but the main thing was that we got a further three points, scored two goals, and kept a clean sheet.
“It was more of a twist and shot than at Oxford, where I had more of the goal to aim at. I just hit it, hit it well, kept it down at the near post, and, luckily, it went in.
“I’m happy. I’m playing; I’m scoring; we’re winning. You can’t complain, can you? I’m happy I’m here for another month.”
Seven of the Pilgrims’ eight goals in their four games inside 12 days over Christmas have been scored by Caolan and senior strike partner Reuben Reid.
“Myself and Reuben are continuing to link up well,” said Caolan. “Without him, I wouldn’t be able to score.
“I think Reuben was playing on his own a bit before I arrived and that is difficult for any striker, never mind in League 2. Maybe with the two of us up there, working for each other, is something to do with [the goals].”
The supporting cast has been important, of course, including the scorer of the second goal, Lewi Alessandra, who chested home the 85th-minute game-clincher from Conor Hourihane’s cross.
“I am buzzing for him,” said Caolan. “Since I’ve been here, he’s been unlucky not to score. He has been doing well and been brilliant for the team.
“The lads have all been brilliant behind me and Rubes as well, so full credit to them.”
With ten points from the last 12, Argyle moved into the top half of the table for the first time since the sixth match of the season, and are now just five points outside the play-off positions.
Caolan said: “That’s what the gaffer has been saying since the first game of the Christmas period – if we have a good one, you never know where it will take us.
“The team is playing with confidence now and scoring more than a goal a game, which is always a plus. If we keep doing what we are doing – away from home, try to scrap and win; at home, we have to win all the games if we want to have a chance to go up.
“This next month is crucial; make or break, I think.”