ARGYLE manager John Sheridan believes that in his side’s 1-0 defeat to Luton Town, there was nothing to choose between the two sides.With both the Greens and the Hatters going into the Sky Bet League 2 fixture in playoff positions, and both looking to turn around a difficult run of form over the Christmas, perhaps it is not surprising that the game was an evenly-matched affair, settled by a single goal.
Sheridan’s side were slow to react to a short corner routine from Luton in the 19th minute, as the ball was worked around the box and fell to Andrew Drury, whose 20-yard effort skimmed across the Home Park turf, through the legs of Carl McHugh and past an unsighted Luke McCormick.
Argyle pushed for an equaliser for the remainder of the game, throwing on Tyler Harvey and Nathan Thomas and briefly switching to a 4-4-2 formation, but the visitors were exemplary in their shape and organisation, holding on to the victory and taking the spoils.
“I think there was nothing between both teams,” said John. “I just think the goal just changed the game.
“I thought we started the game quite well, and I was pleased with the way we were playing in the first half. They have kept a tight shape, which they are good at.
“It was through a lack of trying – I just thought we were a bit short of sharpness, but I do not think there was anything between the two teams. If the game would have stayed 0-0, probably until half time, then we probably would have had a good chance of going on to win the game.
“They just get men behind the ball and they keep their shape. I do not think they really troubled us in any way whatsoever after the goal, but I do not think we have caused them enough problems. We have huffed and puffed and one or two balls are going in the box from wide areas that are not troubling their keeper too much."
Shortly before Luton’s goal, Reuben Reid capped off an excellent piece of Argyle play by heading home a Kelvin Mellor cross, but referee Keith Hill adjudged the striker to have pushed his marker before meeting the cross.
Said John, on the incident: “The ref has said he has pushed him. Whether he has or not, I do not know – Reuben says he has not.
“Nowadays anyway, when you touch or make body contact, they usually give a foul anyway. They give a foul for everything, nowadays. It was a good goal as well, good movement from us, a great ball in and a great header.
“It is those little breaks; if we get the first goal, I felt we would have gone on and won the game, but we did not."
The boss had pinpointed this game earlier in the week as the perfect opportunity to start another good run of form, but despite his team now losing consecutive home games and being without a win in five games, Sheridan is still encouraged by his players’ refusal to cave in and put in a shift for the football club.
“I said before the game that it is two home games, and I am looking to get six points,” said John.
“The lads are disappointed, and I will praise all the players. They never gave in, never hid, but without really causing the keeper to make too many saves, but it was not through a lack of effort.
“Luton did a good job on us, by just getting men behind the ball and keeping their shape. I felt as though we did not really switch the game a lot, and we should have a lot more.
“I tried to change our shape to 4-4-2, but it do not affect the game so we went back to 3-5-2, where I felt we just kept possession a little better.
“There was nothing between the teams, so we are disappointed with the result. Again, it was a decent crowd, so we have just got to stay together, be strong, and while we are on this bad run we have got to get a kick-start and get back on another good run.”