ARGYLE’S first goal-less game for a dozen matches ensured they stayed in the Sky Bet League 2 play-off frame with just ten matches of the season to play.
With immediate play-off rivals Stevenage and Newport also drawing and Luton losing, things remain tight at the top, so the point taken from Oxford was welcomed by Argyle midfielder Drew Talbot.
“It’s always a tough place to come at this time of the season,” he said, after the match. “We’ve not lost any ground today, which is great. It might be something you look back on at the end of the season and think it’s a good point.”
The Yorkshireman, who has come to Home Park on loan from Chesterfield for the rest of the season, said that memories of the Pilgrims’ previous away match, when Stevenage broke away to snatch a winner in the last minute, helped the players’ resolve at the Kassam. That and some timely reminders from team-mates Peter Hartley and Carl McHugh.
He said: “If you look at the Stevenage game, it was kind of similar – we were pushing and we got beat, so we made sure we weren’t going to concede and hopefully we could nick something.
“Pete and Carl gave me a bit of a reminder, saying: ‘If we are not going to score, let’s not concede’. Then, when [Oxford] cleared a chance at the end, you thought: ‘Not again’. But I thought, overall today, we looked quite comfortable. They had a couple of good chances but so did we. So maybe, all in all, point’s a fair result.”
In a match of few opportunities for either side, Argyle came closest to taking all three points just before half-time, when Reuben Reid’s header following a cross by Kelvin Mellor hit both post and crossbar before being cleared.
“I looked over at the linesman, hoping the flag was up,” said Drew. “It was unlucky. He was in the right place and, as long as a he keeps doing that, a couple will drop for us.”
Drew also fashioned a chance for himself, when he stole the ball off Keram Roofe before firing off a shot that had Us goalkeeper Ryan Clarke worried – unlike a similar attempt earlier that was a little further off target.
“If it had been another yard to the right and down a little bit, I think it probably would’ve gone in,” said Drew. “The first one was just a bit of an instinct shot. I probably need to get myself in those positions a little bit more.”
The opportunities are falling Drew’s way since he was moved to central midfield for a man-of-the-match performance against Northampton the previous week.
“It’s new to me,” he said. “I’m probably experienced enough to be able to look at things and pick things up. If I’m thrown in there and the gaffer wants me to play there, I’ll try my best and, luckily for me, things are working out alright at the moment.
“It’s only two games and I need to do that for another ten games – hopefully then people can judge me on what I’ve done there.”