No County Chickens

DEREK Adams is ruing the missed opportunity from Argyle’s 0-0 draw against Newport County...

...but will not yet be drawn on the possibilities should the Pilgrims win the Emirates FA Cup replay. 

Despite facing a Newport side who lost Sean Rigg to a red card midway through the first half, Argyle could not break down the Exiles sufficiently to put the ball in the net, despite dominating the game. 

The teams will now be forced to replay the game – and now know that the winners of that game will travel to Liverpool in the third round.

“We had enough opportunities on Saturday,” said Derek.  We put a few great balls across, and if we went 1-0 ahead we probably would have won the game by more than that. But we haven’t done that, and we have to go to a replay. 

“We had a couple of chances that we feel we should have taken: the biggest one being when the balls came through the players legs with Connor Smith two yards out, but he was just unfortunate that he wasn’t ready for it to go in the back of the net. If we make it 1-0 the game is over and we go onto the next round.

“In the end they were able to get two banks for four, one up front, and we found it difficult to break them down. We did have opportunities in the game, and we’ve not been able to take them.”

Curiously, Argyle were actually better when they were playing against a full Newport compliment. Until Rigg’s 24th minute dismissal, the Greens were superb, attacking with fluency and looking back to their best. However, after the visitors’ forced reshuffle, Argyle could not penetrate Newport’s resilient rearguard. 

“We’ve shown this season that when teams open up then we are more than capable of scoring goals,” said Derek. “We’ve just not taken our chances in recent weeks when we needed to. 

“We’re probably not getting enough people in the box. Some of the time that is caused by our opposition defending well, defending deep. We have changed our system about at times – 4-3-3, 4-2-3-1, 4-4-2 - we’re trying to find ways of getting past the opposition. Sometimes you can have too many players in a forward area, and it gets clogged up. 

“You have to be patient on the ball at the back, which sometimes frustrates supporters, but sometimes you have to allow the opposition to push out to want to get the ball back, then it’s about breaking between the lines to get the ball fed into your forward players.”

Derek was eventually drawn, just a little, on the prospect of playing Premier League giants in round three. He did not mention the ‘L’ word, nor even come close to calculate any number of unborn fowl, but did concede that the potential prize adds a little more spice to the Newport replay. 

“It is a very good replay,” said Derek. “Both teams know what is at stake in the next round for them, and that is something both will be looking forward to. The replay is a tie that will generate a lot of interest from both sets of supporters, and is an important game for both clubs. 

“To get to the next round is important; we’ll leave that for now. We must look to Doncaster first, this Saturday.”