Here to Persevere
ARGYLE manager John Sheridan has praised his side’s determination to force a 2-0 victory against a resilient Cambridge United.A win against the U's at Home Park was not only key to continuing a resurgence in form that has seen the Pilgrims return to the Sky Bet League 2 playoff places, but also to maintain confidence ahead of the upcoming Devon Expressway Derby against Exeter City next Saturday. Both of those objectives were eventually ticked off by full time against Cambridge, thanks to a blend of patience and determination from the Greens.
A frustrating, goalless first half saw players from both teams come close to breaking the deadlock – none closer than Sullay Kaikai, who curled a free kick against the post of Luke McCormick’s goal in the early stages for the visitors.
Thirty-six agonising minutes ticked by in the second half without a goal, but Argyle held their nerve to open the scoring via Ryan Brunt, prompting one of the loudest cheers of the season to reverberate around the Theatre of Greens. The substitute reacted quickest to a Bobby Reid shot that Chris Dunn was unable to keep hold of.
“[Bobby] has hit a great strike for the keeper to save it, and Brunty’s in the right place and does what a striker does,” said John. “He follows in and he’s finished.
“You can afford to take a chance. He could see that Bobby’s having a dig; it’s a good strike from Bobby and he’s made the goal himself by taking a chance.”
Lewis Alessandra put the game to bed just three minutes after Brunt’s strike, cutting in from the right to fire past Dunn, to net in three consecutive games for the first time in an Argyle shirt.
“He is a team player,” said John. “For me, Reuben [Reid] and Lewi are two of the best strikers in the division.
“He works so hard for the team and he gets his reward. It is a great finish from him again.”
The win solidifies the Greens’ place in the League 2 playoff places and leaves them seven points behind the automatic promotion spots – a situation you would be hard pressed to believe the team could be in just two weeks after losing to basement club Hartlepool United. Sheridan knows that while he cannot always expect top-drawer performances, he is pleased to see his team working so hard to turn their form around.
“We’re not Real Madrid or Chelsea; we have got to be realistic,” said John. “I wish people would understand sometimes that if players at this level were consistent the way I wanted them to be, they wouldn’t be playing at this level.
“We try and get as much as we can out of them to be consistent. We are going to have ups and downs, but they are working very hard. You can see the difference in the team with one or two players that have got back making a massive difference.”
"I’ve seen all the results today, and you could say we are lucky we’ve got the three points, so it’s tight. Everyone is going to beat everyone, but we don’t worry about anyone else.
“It is a good response, obviously after the run [of games without victory]. Three clean sheets, as well, is really pleasing. We have come back, but there is a long way to go.
“It is nine points from nine and we have just got to be grateful. I will just congratulate the players more than anyone. I think it’s down to them at the end of the day. We can talk a good game, but they’re the ones who go out on the pitch, and they’re the ones who have to perform.
“I tell you what: not many teams will live with us, with the way we played today. It is just the drive and the determination; you don’t have to play really attractive football all the time, but when you have got that desire to try and get something out of the game – and we went for the full 90 minutes – you get your reward.”