JAKE Jervis’ injury-time goal on Tuesday not only put the seal on a 3-1 win at Leyton Orient, but got Argyle to an interesting milestone.
It was the 63rd goal of the Pilgrims Sky Bet League 2 campaign. A seemingly innocuous number, indeed, but historically significant in some ways.
We would hope, of course, that the tally is added to in the three remaining league fixtures, and viewing historical precedent, it means the chances of promotion are high. In the last 25 years, Argyle have only scored more than 63 goals in a season four times. On three of those occasions – 1995-96, 2001-02 and 2003-04 – we were promoted, scoring 72, 71 and 85 goals in each season respectively. The other occasion was in 1993-94, when Peter Shilton’s swashbucklers were only just denied having scored 89 times that season.
Manager Derek Adams promised when he arrived as Argyle manager that he intended to play attacking football with a defensive edge – only Wycombe have conceded fewer goals than Argyle in League 2 this season – and has been true to his word. Of Argyle’s 12 club record-equalling away wins, 11 have seen the Pilgrims score two goals. In the other, on Tuesday, they got three.
Adams gave the Green Army a peek behind the curtain into his footballing philosophy on Thursday – a day when playmaker Graham Carey was named, following a poll of League 2 managers, as the sixth best player in the division.
“We let them play, to a degree,” said Derek. “When we have the ball they can go and play. When we don’t have the ball we need to get into a defensive shape as quickly as possible to stop the opposition finding space.
“When we’ve got the ball the onus is on the creative players, the goalscorers to find that gap and open up a defence. We’ve got players in the team with good pace; we’ve good goalscorers; we’ve good height and physical presence in the team. We’ve got a very good team ethic throughout the team.”
The Pilgrims top marksman this season is Jervis, who has bagged 11 league goals to go with three in cup competitions. Despite not starting against Leyton Orient on Tuesday, he impressed after coming on, and was rewarded with a brace of goals.
Derek said: “He’s scored 14 goals and had a number of assists – and he hasn’t scored a penalty either.
“It’s a very good goals tally, playing in a wide midfield role. He’s done really well.”