JOHN SHERIDAN complimented his Argyle side on an outstanding team performance which earned a 3-2 victory over Swindon in the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy.A wet and windy Home Park was the stage for a remarkable cup tie in the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy Southern Area second round, and despite the Greens facing in-form higher-league opposition, they took control of the game after just four minutes – Lewis Alessandra capitalising on a Robins’ back-pass and slotting past goalkeeper Tyrell Belford.
Nineteen minutes later, the Pilgrims doubled their advantage thanks to Deane Smalley taking full advantage of the opportunity to start up front and smashing the ball home from the edge of the box. Just before half-time, Alessandra scored an outstanding third, outmuscling his marker and using his quick feet to wrong-foot Belford and slot home.
“To go 3-0 up, I thought we were excellent in the first half,” said John, who sent out the Pilgrims in a 3-5-2 formation which mirrored Swindon’s line-up. “Especially on the break, with Lewi and Smalley looking lively.
“We had a game-plan – that’s why I matched them up – and I thought it worked really well. To go in 3-0 gives you an advantage and a really good chance of winning the game.
“When we did play forward quickly, we were always causing them problems, and we got the goals.
“They were great finishes. Lewi can do that – with his third goal, the quick feet and everything – and I am pleased for Smalley. He looks a lot better down the middle, and Lewi has not played much down there.”
The visiting Robins finally showed their class in the second half, with substitute Michael Smith scoring a penalty, conceded by Kelvin Mellor’s foul on George Barker, in the 72nd minute. Ben Gladwin brought the deficit to one in with three minutes remaining, his deflected shot sailing past a stranded Luke McCormick.
Argyle held on, though, to record an excellent victory against the Sky Bet League 1 high-flyers, with the gaffer praising their work-rate and desire to hold on to the win.
John said: “[Swindon]’re a really good team, and have got some really good players passing and moving the ball. I knew it would be a good test for us, and that they would work us really hard. You could see that in the last 20 minutes. We were breathing heavy.
“They pushed players a bit more forward, and they are good at what they do. They get players in between you and they had nothing to lose.
“It was exciting for everyone watching, and I am pleased for the players, more than anyone, that we ended up winning it.”