Reubs Feeling Bruised
REUBEN Reid stated his belief after Argyle's play-off final defeat to AFC Wimbledon that a cleaner bill of health would have ensured promotion for the Pilgrims this season.
The Greens fell short at the final hurdle at Wembley, as a second-half strike from Lyle Taylor and a late penalty from Adebayo Akinfenwa enured they were the ones playing Sky Bet League 1 football next season.
Argyle came just one performance short of achieving their goals after an energy-sapping campaign and, in the immediate aftermath of the defeat, the emotions had yet to sink in for the forward.
"It's hard to take," said Reuben. "I'm going to feel it in the morning. I'm alright at the moment but I think when I wake up tomorrow I'm going to feel it.
"Obviously it's a huge disappointment. It's a long season and then a one-off game, win and you get promoted, and to be honest we didn't turn up. It is what it is. Extremely disappointed, but you can't change anything now.
"Congrats to Wimbledon obviously. They got into the play-offs and got the job done."
Reuben was one of many Argyle players in a threadbare squad who picked up costly injuries during the 2015-16 campaign. If those knocks were avoided more, Reid is sure that the play-offs may not have even been needed to achieve promotion.
"At the end of the day," said Reuben, "injuries have cost us automatic promotion - simple as that.
"From the start, our squad, we were flying. Key players got injured throughout, and after the Christmas period we weren't quite the same team. We managed to get in the play-offs and take it to a one-off game situation with a massive following, and we expected to win the game. So it's hugely disappointing, but throughout the season, if everyone stays fit and you ride your luck with injuries, I think we would get in the top three quite comfortably."
Reid knows better than most of the squad that there have been darker moments than this in the club's history, but it does not take away from the disappointment in coming so close to achieving something special with a tightly-knit group of players.
"I'm just hugely disappointed for the lads as the fans, really," said Reuben. "As I said to [Curtis] Nelson the skipper, we've been here in the days: I've been playing the last game of the season here nearly dropping out of the Football League, getting a result away to Rochdale.
"You don't often get a squad like this where everyone bounces off each other. Everyone's cool in there together. This is football: the squad will break up. That's football, especially at this level. So that's the most disappointing thing."