We Owe Anto

IT was Margaret Thatcher, espousing the merits of her deputy, who declared that “every Prime Minister needs a Willie”; for Peter Hartley, every football team needs an Anto.

The return of Anthony O’Connor to the Argyle midfield after four games absence (and – yes – it does feel longer) helped pave the way for a first Green win in eight Sky Bet League 2 games. Lewi Alessnadra’s 42nd-minute strike against Accrington Stanley set the good ship Pilgrim on the 1-0 victory but Anthony’s ubiquitousness at the heart of matters anchored the three points.

“He does the dirty work,” said Peter, who returned from injury himself to play a full part for the first time in eight matches. “I’m delighted people recognise how important he is.

“People appreciate the flair players but Anto’s a big player for us and he’s a good character. It’s definitely good to have him back because he’s a nasty type of player that every team needs.

“You have your Reuben [Reid]s, Lewis and Bobby Reids, and Drew [Talbot] was different class today; then you’ve got your Antos and the back three that just put their foot through teams and see games out, which I felt we did decently today.”

Anthony’s return allowed manager John Sheridan to field two attacking midfielders in Bobby Reid and Olly Lee.

“The gaffer mentioned before the game [to] let Anto do the dirtry work and give Bobby and Olly licence to get in the box when we get the ball wide through Drew and Kelv [Kelvin Mellor]. I thought they did that well.

“I don’t think anyone had a bad game today – everyone pulled their own, we didn’t carry anyone, and I’m just delighted with a win.”