SOMETIMES, it really does not matter how you win football matches, just as long as you do.Argyle’s 1-0 victory over Accrington Stanley gave the Pilgrims their first taste of victory in well over a month, ending a winless run in which John Sheridan's men picked up just three points out of a possible 21. Therefore, the win over Stanley feel an extremely vital one.
“Winning is the most important thing at this stage," said Sheridan. "With the run we were on, as well, the most important thing was to just get three points.
“A clean sheet is good, and I changed one or two. I could’ve left out anyone, so I made a few changes and we got the result we wanted, and that was the main thing. The priority was getting three points.”
A jittery first half at Home Park was ended by a goal in the 42nd minute from Lewis Alessandra that embodied his tireless work for the team. After forging into the visitors’ area the forward was dispossessed by Seamus Conneely, but managed to win the ball back before powering a shot home from a tight angle.
“It is a great finish,” said John. “I thought he lost possession of the ball. I heard John [Coleman], their manager, complaining. Whether it was a foul, I don’t know – I was a bit far away – but it was a brilliant finish.
“He has got his reward for his effort and just not giving up on the ball. It’s fell for him and like I said, it’s a great finish, top corner.
“You could tell we were a bit edgy, I think, in the first half. Then we get the goal, and then you have a lifeline – something to hold on to.”
The second half saw the Pilgrims create a number of chances to put the game to bed, but instead they found themselves, in the closing stages, desperately defending a one-goal lead in the final minutes. Unlike the last home fixture against Morecambe, Sheridan’s lads held on by any means necessary.
“We created chances to score goals but it didn’t go our way,” said John. “When it’s 1-0 the opposition always feel they have got a chance.
“The keeper’s made some good saves. We have had good opportunities to get the second goal and then I would’ve felt more comfortable - everyone would have, probably. The game would’ve been a lot easier to watch.
“They throw caution to the wind at the end and created chances for themselves, but I felt we deserved three points overall in the game.
“I felt it was going to go that way, and Accrington are a funny side. John is a cute manager; he throws people on, takes chances and when you have got a lot of people going forward and a lot of bodies up, we have got to defend. We had to do that towards the end, but I think we deserved to win the game.
“Balls are going in the box, across the box, and we are just panicking, but I am just pleased we have seen it through and got the 1-0 result.”
The victory – coupled with a favourable set of results from fixtures involving rival teams – has seen Argyle move up to eighth in the Sky Bet League 2 table, two points off the playoff places. To continue their push towards the upper echelons of the table, Sheridan knows that more gritty performances like this will be needed.
“We know what’s at stake and what the cause is, so we have just got to win games now,” said John.
“When you’re a bad run I’m on edge watching; the fans are on edge because we want the result. We just want to give ourselves a chance of being in and around there.
“We have fell away a bit and I am as disappointed as anyone. I am just glad for the players that we have got the monkey off our back, got the result and got a winner.
“Listen: we might have to do ten, eleven or twelve of them towards the end of the season. As long as we are winning the games and getting the points. That’s all we are after at this moment in time.”