KELVIN Mellor popped up with another dramatic late Argyle goal...
...because he did not want to spend eight hours going home on the team bus feeling responsible for costing the Pilgrims top spot in Sky Bet League 2.
Kelvin netted the 90th-minute winner in a 2-1 triumph at Hartlepool, having gifted the home side an equaliser six minutes earlier when he conceded a penalty from which Scott Fenwick scored. The three points saw Argyle leapfrog Northampton and Oxford to reclaim the lead in the division going into Christmas.
“You couldn’t write it, to be fair,” said Kelvin, after his double contribution to the dramatic finale. “I didn’t want to go in [to the dressing-room] at 1-1 and everyone being disappointed – it makes the journey even longer. I was so happy and relieved to get that final goal to win the game.
“The ball came in from the left. I think it might have been a misplaced pass from Ben Purrington but, luckily, it fell to me. It bobbled a little bit. I just thought I’d hit it with the inside of my foot, take it as clean as I can and, hopefully, it hits the back of the net.”
The full-back, whose only previous Argyle goal in a season and a half at Home Park was at Shrewsbury on the final day of the last campaign, predicted his goal in a pre-match conversation with coach Paul Wotton.
He said: “I did actually say to Wottsy before the game ‘I fancy a goal today.’ He laughed at me, but I shoved it in his face. It’s nice to get the winner.”
Six minute earlier, Kelvin had allowed Fenwick the opportunity to level Carl McHugh’s 76th-minute opener when he shoved the Pools’ striker in the box.
“I saw the ball come in and the guy was between me and [Curtis] Nelson,” he said. “I thought ‘I’ll try and block him off’ but they all tell me he was nowhere near the ball and he was never going to get the ball. I thought there was [a player] in between me and Nelson and one behind me, and I thought ‘I need to do something here.’
“I was quite fortunate not to get sent off, really, but the ref was good today. He said ‘It’s not a sending-off; it’s a yellow card.’ He thought [Fenwick] was not going to get the ball either, but I touched him.
“[Hartlepool] got well back into the game – they thought they’d go on to win with the momentum from the goal – but I feel, as a team, we played well and we deserved the win.
“I thought we communicated well and, as unit, did well. We didn’t really give them any chances whatsoever, other than the penalty.
“It’s nice, going into the break, being top of the table: the manager’s happy; the players are happy; we’ve got to crack on from here.”