ARGYLE manager Derek Adams used rivals Doncaster Rovers' early kick-off victory on Saturday to as motivation for the Pilgrims to beat Accrington on Saturday.
Substitute Craig Tanner’s 76th-minute goal gave Argyle a 1-0 win that saw them leapfrog Rovers – who had beaten Grimsby by the same score – and go top of Sky Bet League Two for Christmas.
Derek said: “As we knew last week that we would go back to the top of the table, we knew that Doncaster had won their game – they had played earlier in the day – and it was good for us to get the win.
“We told the players that [Doncaster] had won and that a 1-0 win would get us back there.”
Although the victory was a hard-fought one, Derek was delighted with a game-plan which saw Argyle sit off Accrington at times before attacking the home side in waves late on after introducing Tanner, and fellow forwards David Goodwillie and Arnie Garita from the bench.
Derek said: “You have got to have a game-plan and the game-plan was to see us into the second half – I always like to have that plan in place – and then we changed things about. We knew that Accrington would try to come at us.
“I thought we could win the game. At the start of the match, it was important that we looked after them. They were going to go out all guns blazing, as [Accrington manager] John Coleman had said in his programme notes, and we sat off the game and allowed them to have the ball.
“We dealt well with the ball into the box; it didn’t really concern me because I thought they were pushing players forward and we would be able to counter-attack them after that.
“It was a very hard game. We always know that, when you come to Accrington, it is going to be difficult. Today was no different and we are obviously delighted to take the three points home with us.
“We should have been 2-0 up in the first half; we had two good opportunities. Jake Jervis should have got in behind his man, and [Jordan] Slew should have hit the target.
“In the second half, we had umpteen opportunities, as well, when we could have broken away and scored. They had opportunities, as well, and put a bit of pressure on us, but we dealt well with it.
“I thought we created a lot of chances. We were in and around their penalty area in the second half and should have scored a good few more goals. We played very well on the counter-attack when they pushed bodies forward and we could have scored three or four if we had chosen the right option.”
The Pilgrims, who kept a third successive clean sheet, went into the game with the same starting line-up that had seen off Doncaster 2-0 at Home Park seven days previously.
“The players played well last weekend and deserved to play this week, and it was a very good professional performance,” said Derek. “Accrington have beaten Doncaster, Portsmouth and Blackpool [at home] and we have come here today and won the match.
“We work at different things all the time and we don’t really change too much during the season; we do tinker a wee bit, but we work hard every single day."