Through the Gears
ARGYLE’S ability to turn defence into attack has been seen in abundance this season – and is somewhat of a microcosm of how they fared at AFC Wimbledon on Tuesday night.
The Pilgrims were 2-0 down after 25 minutes in the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy tie at the Cherry Red Records Stadium, but showed their resilience and attacking prowess to surge back and take the game by the odd goal in five.
Jake Jervis, Ryan Brunt and Carl McHugh were on target for Argyle – the former scoring his fourth goal of the season, the others getting their first – who after shaking off their early malaise really caught the eye as they flooded forward time and again.
It had to have been entertaining for the 356 travelling supporters, watching their team look so dangerous – and it certainly felt that way to the man in charge.
“I thought it was a good game to watch myself!” said Argyle boss Derek Adams. “There were plenty of goals, plenty of action. After going 2-0 down early in the game we upped the gears and played very well after that, and scored three very good goals.
“We created chances in the game – we could have scored more in the second half. We’ve got ability, togetherness and group of players that are willing to do well, and that shone in the second half.
“For 15 minutes we were unplayable. For 15 minutes we were a top team. We have got the ability to be a very good team - but we can’t start the way we started tonight.”
Indeed, first-half goals from Wimbledon strikers Adebayo Azeez and Lyle Taylor gave Argyle a shock, but Jervis struck eight before the break to bring the Greens back in it, with the goal giving Argyle hope at the interval.
Brunt’s goal, from a beautiful team move on the left, gave Argyle parity, before McHugh’s volleyed goal proved the winner.
“I think we needed to score before half-time,” said Derek. “Wimbledon are dangerous because they are physical, with two strikers tonight who were very physical.
“The goal from Jervis was exceptional, and in the second half he was unplayable at times. On the whole it was a thoroughly professional performance.
“It was fantastic cross from Wylde and a great header. For [Brunt] to get on the goalsheet - and Carl McHugh as well – it was a good night.”
A historic one, too. It was the first time since March 2013 – 913 sunsets – since an Argyle line-up had come from behind to win a football match. No manager, or team, wants to go behind, but this felt like an ideal to shake that particular stat away.
The manager himself was aware of the stat, even if the bulk of the 913 day period had not been under his watch. He, like many watching Pilgrims, did not feel too despondent at 2-0 down.
“I know it had been a long time [since Argyle won from behind],” said Derek. “The players we’ve got in the squad are capable of scoring goals, there’s no doubt about that.
“We limited them to few opportunities, after we’d gone 3-2 ahead. Some of the play, and interchange of passing, was very good. We’re always going to manage to counter-attack teams.
“Any game we go into we want to win, and we made that plainly obvious tonight.”