THERE were no sloping shoulders as Argyle’s payers rolled up their sleeves and came from behind to notch up an incredible eighth away Sky Bet League 2 win of the season.
Second-half goals from Jake Jervis and Ryan Brunt turned a 1-0 half-time deficit into 2-1 victory as the Pilgrims made the most of some assistance from Rodney Parade’s slight incline to stay three points clear at the top of league.
Of equal help was manager Derek Adams’ subtle change of tactics at the interval which saw midfielder Josh Simpson replace winger Gregg Wylde.
“It was hard work from the boys,” said Jake, who nodded home striker partner Brunt’s cross three minutes after the break to level Scott Boden’s opener midway through the opening period.
“In the second half, we set up to press them. They had the slope of the pitch in the first half, and we took advantage of it [in the second]. Me and Brunty worked hard up front and put pressure on them and I think Josh coming on, pressing [the ball], making things happen, was a big difference.
“You had Carl [McHugh] in there, Oscar [Threlkeld] and Josh – they are all going to press and win you the ball, and that’s what they did. Then it’s down to me and Brunty to get a goal, and we got one each, which is good.”
Twenty-four year-old Jake’s goal was his first for half a dozen games and took him to 11 in what is fast becoming a memorable debut season for the Pilgrims.
“It was a header, which I’m happy about,” he said. “I got in the box and peeled off my man, and managed to get a flick on it.
“I feel like, most games, I’m going to score a goal so I’m confident, and I’ve had chances. As long as I keep getting in position, I’m going to score and I did that.
“This season, I’ve been used more out on the right and I think it’s benefited me because it’s let me play various possessions get on the ball more and run about.”
It was Ryan who provided the cross for Jake’s goal, and the 22-year-old went on to notch a second Argyle winner in three days, having scored the only goal of the game when the Pilgrims beat Yeovil at Home Park on Boxing Day.
“He’s done excellently,” said Jake. “He’s scored a goal and he’s set one up. You can’t ask for more from him.
“He’s growing in each game with confidence. You could see that with his goal last game. He’s bringing the ball in well; he’s being a nuisance; and he’s got his goal, which he deserves.”
The victory completed a highly successful Christmas for Argyle, who go into 2016 leading their division and eight points clear of fourth-placed Portsmouth.
“You don’t get many teams that win the two games over the three days and we’ve managed to do that,” said Jake. “It’s massive and few results have gone for us as well. We’ll concentrate on ourselves and keep going.”