Substance Over Style

ARGYLE’S 2-0 win over Northampton Town was certainly not the most comfortable victory John Sheridan has experienced...

...but plenty more of them before the end of the season will suit him just fine. 

Coming off of two momentum-draining defeats to fellow Sky Bet League 2 promotion hopefuls Bury and Stevenage, the Greens returned to Home Park with the task of fending off another aspirational, in-form team, with Northampton looking to extend their impressive run of just one defeat in 12 games. 

Sheridan’s men refused to be denied, though, as Kelvin Mellor whipped in a perfect ball for Bobby Reid who mishit his first attempt. but then perfectly laid off to Anthony O’Connor, who smashed in his first goal for the club from 20 yards out after 28 minutes. 

“He’s got a good strike on him - I think he should be shooting or having attempts on goal [more],” said John.

“I think Bobby should’ve scored just before he set Anthony up. We’ve switched play and been patient and it’s a great ball in from Kelvin [Mellor]. I think Bobby should score with the volley at the back post, but he’s kept control of it, he’s patient and picked Anthony out.

“It’s a good strike from Anthony. You get the first goal and it gives you something to hang on to and I think, with our tempo in the first half, we played well.”

The visitors looked to respond after the break and posed a genuine threat to Luke McCormick’s goal on a few occasions, but an excellent Argyle counter-attack four minutes from time secured the victory. After Bobby Reid back-tracked, won the ball and played in his namesake Reuben, the returning forward squared the ball to Drew Talbot. The makeshift midfielder looked up and selflessly passed to Lewis Alessandra, who sold both a defender and Duke down the river with a sharp turn, leaving an open goal for him to tap in his 12th goal of the season.

“There’s probably three or four passes there, starting 70 yards from their goal,” said John. 

“Drew’s done brilliantly, and it’s just people controlling it, passing it and moving it. It’s late in the game and it just sees it through for us. It’s great finish from Lewi who, again, has worked his socks off.”

Whilst the second goal certainly had an element of class and confidence about it, the Greens’ had to be rugged and rudimentary at times to secure three points that guide them back into the play-off places. With just 11 games left to play in the season, Sheridan is not concerned with the way his team put more wins on the board – just as long as they get the job done. 

“I’ve said before: the most important thing is three points,” said John. 

“It was a good, solid performance, and we need a few of them. We don’t have to play great – as long as we get three points, that’s the most important thing. 

“That’s all it is about now: picking up three points from each game. I’ve seen the results today and you just don’t know who’s going to beat who. 

“I’m only bothered about us, and it’s a big win today against a form team who have only lost one of their last eleven [games]. They were a strong and organised team and we had to work hard. 

“The fans were good and carried us through.”