A CHANGE in tactics for the second half from Argyle boss John Sheridan proved to be the turning point in the Pilgrims 2-0 victory against Cambridge United.The Greens’ key fixture at Home Park against the U's was somehow goalless at half time, as both teams spurned plenty of scoring opportunities. Sheridan searched for a way to turn the game in his side’s favour and instructed them to quell Cambridge’s possession in midfield by setting up further up the field.
“I don’t think they [Cambridge] really hurt us too much but they did have two good chances,” said John. “I thought we had good chances too. It could’ve been 2-2 or 3-2 either way.
“I said to them: ‘how many times did they try and get behind us in the first half?' They were playing a lot front of us, and they were picking their little passes.
“Cambridge had good possession but I said to them: ‘step up ten yards in the second half.’”
Argyle certainly did step up – not just physically, but also in terms of performance – and became the game’s aggressors. The visitors were starved of the ball for long periods of the second half, and the Pilgrims made their breakthrough with nine minutes remaining. Ryan Brunt was the first to react after Bobby Reid’s shot was parried by Chris Dunn, and the substitute calmly tapped home to claim his second goal for the club.
Lewis Alessandra put the game to bed just three minutes later to make sure Sheridan’s strategy came to fruition, and the boss praised the lads for putting his plan into practice.
“I thought our second half performance was really good,” said John.
“We got in their faces a lot more, and they did not have as much time as they did in the first half. We got in and around them, we were winning balls in midfield areas and breaking on them.
“We were putting balls in the box, and when you’re doing that, you’ll get your breaks. I thought we persevered and really drove on. We looked a lot stronger than them in the second half.
“We kept going and going, and I thought the supporters could see that as well. We are really pushing forward, and you could see we were trying to win the game. I told them to just step up ten yards and just put a bit more pressure on the ball, and we did that and got our rewards.
“We worked really hard to get the three points, and they are fully deserved in my eyes.”