Seconds Out

JOHN Sheridan did not pull any punches following Argyle’s 2-1 defeat by Exeter City, condemning his side’s second-half performance.

The Pilgrims went into the break 1-0 up, thanks to a 45th-minute Reuben Reid penalty, but that was as good as things got for the Green Army.

Second-period strikes from Liam Sercombe and Eliot Richards turned the game on its head, and sent the Grecians home with three vital Sky Bet League 2 points and bragging rights for Devon this season.

Following the game, John pointed towards an abject second-half performance as the reason for his side’s defeat, and sought reasons for their downward turn.

John said: “I’m watching a different set of players come out for the second half, when we should be on the up, and raising our game.

“Because you have a 10 or 15-minute break in the middle [of the match], you come out a different player, do you? I just really don’t understand it.

“It’s a big downer, obviously, in a big derby game. I’m asking questions in the dressing-room after the game, but no-one could give me any answers.”

Argyle have now surrendered a first-half lead in consecutive games, following a point dropped at Accrington on Saturday, taking only one point from them and Sheridan believes their lack of possession and passing quality played a huge part in both of those results.

“The biggest problem for us is that we just did not retain the ball,” said John. “We couldn’t string two passes together and, when we did pass, it was at the wrong time. We just gave [Exeter] the momentum.

“Even Saturday’s game still haunts me, and today was the same, actually. We gave the ball away so much.”

The Greens still sit ninth in Sky Bet League 2, three points off the play-off places, and the gaffer knows that keeping the ball better for longer is needed to continue a push for promotion.

“If you don’t keep hold of the ball, it will come back to haunt you,” he said.

“If you want to go any further or higher, and play like that, you’ll get punished.

“There was no danger in the second half from us, but that’s Second Division football.”