Too Tough to Take
"WE were the better team today - by far the better side over the 90 minutes."
Those were the words that Argyle manager Derek Adams began his press conference with following his side's 2-1 defeat to Exeter City - a bitter pill to swallow for all, especially the boss.
Exeter became the first team this season to record a league double over the Pilgrims - but not before a dominant Argyle display took the Pilgrims 1-0 up after 57 minutes. Reuben Reid's rising influence throughout the game led to him bullying and out-muscling two Exeter defenders, setting up Jamille Matt to score in his third consecutive game.
It was the least the Greens deserved after being in control of the fixture for the majority of the afternoon, with only Grecians' keeper Bobby Olejnik able to keep Argyle from getting more goals that their performance warranted.
"For 90 minutes we were by far the better side," said Derek. "Nobody here can say that they [Exeter] deserved to win the match - they didn't.
"We were the better side for 90 minutes. If anybody else here tells me they were the better side, then they don't know anything about football. We passed the ball well, we got the ball into their third, we had more shots on target than them. We dominated for 90 minutes, and it would be a silly man to say Exeter deserved to win the match."
Nevertheless, that is exactly what the hosts did. Exeter's stand-out player, Ollie Watkins, brought his side back on level terms with ten minutes to play, catching out Luke McCormick at his near post. Watkins then took centre stage in injury time, finding space 30 yards out before a stretching effort found its way into the top corner.
"We made a mistake," said Adams. "They've scored a goal where the boy's sliding in and he's managed to get it into the top corner.
"It was a lucky goal. He's sliding away and he's managed to hook his foot round it. Does he mean it? He tries to get the ball on target and he's able to get it into the top corner. That's the nature of football.
"You can't legislate for an error, and you can't legislate for a goal that's managed to go into the top corner in the last, dying seconds of the game."
Whilst the defeat still leaves Argyle very much in the race for automatic promotion from Sky Bet League 2, the result is undoubtedly a tough one to take - and one that Adams feels his side in no way deserved.
"Today is a day that we're disappointed because we've lost a derby match," said Adams. "I think Exeter will be wondering how they've managed to win. We were just unfortunate to come out on the wrong end of things today.
"We have lost the match, and the manner that we've lost it in is very hard to take. For 90 minutes we passed the ball well, got it up to our strikers - we deserved to win the match."