Perfect Pick-up

ARGYLE’S 2-0 home victory over Sky Bet League 2 play-off rivals Northampton Town was the perfect end to a difficult week for the Pilgrims.

Defensive midfielder Anthony O’Connor’s first career goal, in the 28th minute, and Lewi Alessandra’s 12th strike of the season nearly an hour later, lifted Argyle back into the division’s top seven after the previous weekend’s home reversal by another side in the play-off shake-up, Bury, and a narrow, late, midweek loss at a third similarly aspirational side, Stevenage.

“We were very disappointed against Bury,” admitted Anthony. “They are our rivals and we probably gave them a bit too much respect. We probably worried about them too much – we were the home team and probably played like the away team, so to speak.

“Then we went to Stevenage and threw it away at the end; we probably should have come away with a point at least.

“So it was important we got back to winning ways. The place has been a bit dull, as you can understand – it’s not nice losing games. But we have shown great character to come back against a good team and get the three points. We can go into next week with a bit of confidence and hopefully go on a little run again.

“It is getting to that stage of the season now when the points are the most important thing; it’s not so much about how you get them – it’s just about getting the points and seeing how far we can go.”

Anthony’s defensive duties extended to filling in at centre-back for the injured Carl McHugh in the second-half as Argyle stoically dug in to keep the Cobblers at bay

He said: “We were trying to defend a lead – obviously we went on to get the second goal; caught them on the counter – but the gaffer spoke after the game and said we probably invited them on a bit too much. We really need to learn more how to start controlling a game once we’re in front. 

“We’ll look at that in the coming weeks when we’re at home and we’re in the league but we’re all buzzing that we’ve got the three points. We’ve stopped the rot. We’d lost two games in a row so now we’ve got a win and are back in the play-off places.”

There are just six weeks left for Argyle to remain in the top seven and extend their season beyond May 2, five at Home Park and six away, starting with consecutive visits to Oxford, next Saturday, and Dagenham & Redbridge, four days later.

“The main aim is the play-offs,” said Anthony. “If we can get any further than that, we’ll try our best. There’s 11 games to go; anything can happen. We have just got to take each game as it comes and keep picking up points. 

“We can’t go on a run of losing two or three games now. That’s when teams start catching you up, and teams can pull away from you, as well. We have got to make sure we keep in there.

“It doesn’t matter if we’re home or away, we have just got to keep playing our own game and keep picking up points. Then, come the end of the season, we will be where we want to be.”