TO use a classic footballing cliché, Argyle manager John Sheridan was pleased to see his team ‘do a job’ on Wycombe Wanderers in their 2-0 victory.
The Greens put on one of their most impressive displays of their season at Adams Park to end the Chairboys’ run of 12 Sky Bet League 2 games without defeat and move themselves back into the playoff positions.
Their dominance was not by chance, either. In the first half, Wycombe played with a dangerously high defensive line that Sheridan had scouted and told his players to exploit. Strike duo Lewis Alessandra and Reuben Reid linked up regularly to help each other get behind Gareth Ainsworth’s team, and Sheridan was pleased to see his tactics executed to a tee.
“I thought the game plan went really well in the first half,” said John.
“I made the lads watch the DVD of Wycombe’s last home game against Portsmouth, and Portsmouth could’ve been 2-0 or 3-0 up. They were playing a high line, and I thought it worked a treat tonight.
“Lewis and Reuben were a real threat in the first half and causing them problems. At the break, I said to the players that if you could play forward quickly, they will play high and you will catch them.
“Even when Luke [McCormick] was distributing the ball, I wanted to play early, and play forward early. We caused them lots and lots of problems.”
The Greens made the breakthrough after 19 minutes, as Drew Talbot read a nonchalant short routine from Wanderers and kicked off a swift counter attack, culminating in Alessandra surging into the area and seeing his deflected shot find the back of the net. The boss had plenty of praise to give out to Lewis, who reached double figures for his goals tally this season.
“He works his socks off and you could see that again tonight,” said John. “It’s a slight deflection for the goal but he’s got in some really good areas tonight.
“He’s a threat, he’s a team player as well, but he’s got bags of talent. I try and tell him the little things to get out of his game, like possibly when he takes too many touches, but he can do things what – and I am being serious when I say it – Premier League [players do]. His body movement is unbelievable.”
Ten minutes later, a Bobby Reid corner found Peter Hartley, not for the first time in this campaign, who stretched to stab home a second for the Pilgrims, giving them a platform to control the game and soak up the expected onslaught from the hosts to secure a huge win for Sheridan and the lads.
“We get the two goals, fully deserved as well,” said John. “I thought we dominated the game in the first half, and you get the goals, and then that gives you something to hang on to.
“I thought we saw the game out very well. They had one or two free kicks in dangerous areas and you’re on edge a little bit, but I think we had the best two chances in the second half, and their keeper’s made two really good saves. Full credit to the players.
“I thought it was excellent performance against a really tough team, who are going really well in the division.”