Derek's Pride

PRIDE was the lasting emotion that Derek Adams took from Argyle's 2-2 draw with Oxford United, as his threadbare squad maintained their push for promotion.

The Pilgrims went toe-to-toe with U's at Home Park, with both sides showing the sort of quality and desire that has earned them their current spot in Sky Bet League 2's top three.

"I thought it was a very good football match to watch," said Derek, "Both sides tried to win the game.

"It went end-to-end, and a number of times the ball hit the bar with chances from both sides. It was open, it was played by players who wanted to win the game. It was played in the right manner; there wasn't a lot of fouls in the match, and from my point of view it was good to see."

After a Peter Hartley own goal and a Kemar Roofe strike put Oxford ahead on two occasions in the first half, Argyle battled back to level the game through headers from corners - firstly via a Curtis Nelson effort after 15 minutes.

Then, shortly after Nelson superbly denied Danny Hylton from making it 3-1 to the visitors with a last-ditch tackle, Craig Tanner's back-post nod, a quarter of an hour from time, maintained Argyle's record of not losing consecutive games at all this season

"I think Curtis showed a great recovery run," said Adams. "He's a great athlete and made a very good tackle.

"Two good goals from us: a great ball in from Jake Jervis and a fantastic header for Nelson, and Craig Tanner pops in the back post. Reuben Reid hits the bar as well, and there were a few scrambles in and around the penalty area.

"I think that's something that I've instilled in my players: after every defeat, you have to go again. It was a terrific performance from us. Oxford were bang at it, they were at full strength, and from our point of view we were depleted, but we showed how good a squad we've got. I think that in the first half, with the amount of chances of had, we could've won it."

Injuries to Oscar Threlkeld and Peter Hartley, picked up before and during the game respectively, added to an ever-growing list of injuries for Argyle. Only able to name six players on the substitutes' bench, Adams was full of admiration for his players for pulling together against Oxford, earning an important point ahead of a trip to Accrington Stanley next weekend.

"All in all, I'm a very proud manager tonight of my players," said Derek. "I said that to them in the dressing room, because of their fighting spirit to get a point today.

"I think you've got to be happy with a point. We were 2-1 down and were very depleted today. You've seen the bench that I had, and the injuries I've had since Tuesday night, so from that point of view I'm very proud of the players we had at our disposal today.

"From my point of view I think a draw was fair. It was a very good performance from us today, and we go onto the next game. We go into that game in good spirits and looking forward to it."