Liam Spence takes a look back over one of the most positive months on the pitch for Argyle in a long time...What a month it has been for Argyle.
Six games unbeaten, sitting in the play-off places of Sky Bet League 2 and not conceding a goal in over 500 minutes of league football, taking our tally of clean sheets to nine from 15 games - the most in the Football League. John Sheridan’s men also secured progress to the third round of the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy after claiming victory over Sky Bet League 1 Swindon Town - now that is how you keep the Green flag flying high.
At the beginning of the season Sheridan called for consistency in his Argyle squad after a slow start, especially away from home. The manager's magic words, coupled with the loan signings of Bobby Reid and Andy Kellett, seems to have helped galvanise the squad into producing the kind form that the manager requested.
Argyle 1 Shrewsbury 0
Argyle 3 Swindon 2 – Johnstone’s Paint Trophy first round
Tranmere 0 Argyle 1
Argyle 1 Carlisle 0
Wimbledon 0 Argyle 0
Argyle 3 Cheltenham 0
The month began with a 1-0 victory over Shrewsbury. It was the Reid combination - Bobby and Reuben - that helped secure the victory for the Pilgrims, with Bobby, making his Home Park bow, swinging in a cross from the left that found the head of Reuben, who powered home just after the half-hour mark.
Attention then turned to the JPT tie at home to Swindon, with the Pilgrims showcasing their attacking ability by scoring all three of their goals in the first half. Lewis Alessandra, with two, and Deane Smalley scored goals against a shell-shocked Robins defence. A Swindon fightback threatened to spoil Argyle's outstanding first half, but the Pilgrims held on to win 3-2 - a victory which set up an away tie at Steven Pressley’s Coventry City, on Wednesday, November 12. Tickets for that game will cost just £5.
The Argyle ship of momentum then sailed into Prenton Park and saw the Pilgrims come away with just their second away victory of the season, defeating Tranmere Rovers 1-0. A fantastic team goal was finished off by Reuben Reid, who latched onto an inch-perfect cross from Anthony O’Connor. This secured Argyle’s third win in a week and saw them claim just their second victory in 16 attempts on the Wirral.
A home victory over Carlisle - again by a 1-0 margin - was a fourth consecutive victory. Reuben Reid’s scuffed shot found Alessandra, who slotted home for the goal that made the difference on the day.
The next fixture saw the Pilgrims pushed to their defensive limits with AFC Wimbledon posing a potent attacking threat with the likes of Adebayo Akinfenwa and Matt Tubbs amongst their ranks. However, Argyle survived and took a valuable point away from Kingsmeadow. The 0-0 scoreline was Argyle's first goalless draw in 52 matches and a third successive draw at a venue at which they have never tasted defeat.
“Clean-sheet October” was capped off with a 3-0 dismantling of Cheltenham Town at Home Park, with goals from the ever-present Reuben Reid, who powerfully struck home from the edge of the box;, Peter Hartley, who headed powerfully past the helpless ‘keeper; and Alessandra, who used his skill and strength to slot home from close-range.
This victory saw the Pilgrims maintain their play-off place and extend their unbeaten record to six matches – taking an impressive 13 points from a possible 15 throughout October.
October Stat Attack
Goals scored - 9
Goals conceded – 2
League goals conceded – 0
Clean sheets - 5
Points (from 15) – 13
League position at the start of the month- 14th
League position at the end of the month – 6th
Lewis Alessandra – 4
Reuben Reid - 3
Deane Smalley - 1
Peter Hartley - 1
Goals of the Month
Here are my choices for the top three goals of the month:
1 – Reuben Reid v Cheltenham
2 – Reuben Reid v Tranmere
3 – Lewis Alessandra’s second v Swindon
Do you agree? Tweet me on @LiamSpence94 or the club @Only1Argyle.