Taking It To Hart

PETER Hartley had his pride hurt by Argyle’s draw at Crawley on Saturday.

At  the Checkatrade.com Stadium, Argyle were 83 minutes into what looked a consummate away display before Shamir Fenelon’s goal gave the hosts as unlikely an equaliser as you are likely to see. 

Argyle had dominated the game up until, and past, Ryan Brunt’s headed goal just before the hour mark, but their inability to add a second goal proved costly.

Fenelon nudged home after Josh Yorwerth had found himself unmarked in the area from a free-kick, and headed into his willing team-mate’s path. 

Hartley, speaking on behalf of his fellow defenders, expressed frustration that such a goal had been conceded, and that Argyle had not been able to take home three points their performance seemed to merit. 

“I think everyone could see we were by far the better team,” said Pete. “On another day we could have won maybe three- or four-nil. But we invited a bit of pressure in the last 10 minutes and when you invite pressure sometimes they get that little bit of luck. 

“We want clean sheets. I thrive off of clean sheets. Nelse and Gaz, and we had Jordon with us today – we all thrive off of clean sheets.

“It was a sloppy goal to concede. We shouldn’t have conceded the free-kick to start with. Then, you have to stay with your men from set-pieces. It’s frustrating, but it’s one of those things. It’s happened; it’s gone. We can’t dwell too much on the past.”

For most of the afternoon, Argyle had Crawley chasing shadows. The Pilgrims enjoyed long spells of possession and territory throughout the game, making home goalkeeper Paul Jones the busiest man in West Sussex but not being able to make the net bulge more than once. 

Had the equaliser not come, there would have been discussions about whether this was up there with the best performances of the season. 

Hartley agreed: “I don’t think you can take anything away from the performance. It just didn’t really click in the final third. It’s just one of those days. 

“We really dominated the game. We were like a home team, the way we played. 

“Something seemed to change in the second half. We didn’t quite control the game as much as we should. We were playing forward too much, too soon.  They picked second balls up and we invited pressure. 

“We have those spells in games, obviously – it isn’t all plain sailing. But we have got to learn to control it when the team has that momentum. Today we didn’t. 

“You work hard, and go 1-0 up, and you’ve got to defend your lead and take all three points back to Plymouth.”