DESPITE experiencing his first loss as Argyle manager, Derek Adams believes his side’s showing against Gillingham in a 2-1 defeat might well be the best he has overseen so far at the club.
For three quarters of the Capital One Cup first round tie, the Pilgrims went toe-to-toe with an opposition a league above them, and brimming with confidence after a 4-0 victory over Sheffield United on the opening day of the season. After exchanging blows with the Gills for 78 minutes, Craig Tanner stepped forward and landed a haymaker for his side, meeting an excellent Kelvin Mellor cross with his right foot on the full and finding the top corner.
The Greens looked set to dump out their Sky Bet League 1 opposition, but were caught with a one-two sucker punch as Bradley Dack and Jake Hessenthaler scored in the 85th and 87th minutes to take the win.
Taking a loss after being in such a positive position is tough to take for Adams, but the boss is buoyed by how his team applied themselves against such stern opposition.
“I thought it was probably our best performance since I came here,” said Derek.
“We started on the front foot. We created numerous opportunities in the first half, and were probably unfortunate to not go in two or three goals up at half time.
“I thought we counter attacked well, passed it extremely well, and it was a very good performance. I think that 2-1 to Gillingham is harsh on us, to say the least, but that’s the nature of football.
“We make a mistake and we get punished, then they quickly make it 2-1. But even at 2-1, the boys didn’t let their heads go down. They tried to come back and take it to extra time, but it wasn’t to be.
“We could’ve done better with both [goals]. We shouldn’t be losing possession; it was easy possession and we know that. We just had to see out the game. We’ve been naïve but we’ll learn from that. We’ve got a young group that’ll do that.
“We’ve probably had a few tap-ins tonight that they should’ve taken. We’ve got into really good positions.
“There’s a lot more positives than negatives. The negative is that we have lost but I don’t see that Luke [McCormick] has had to make a save tonight. Their goalkeeper’s had to make three or four good saves, and we’ve been in good positions.
“I don’t like getting beat, but I’m delighted with the way we played tonight. I’ve taken a lot of heart from playing against a good Gillingham side. They’ve came off a very good win against Sheffield United, so we’ve got to take a lot from that tonight.”