The Hard Yards

GRAHAM Carey believes that the Pilgrims' hard work at the beginning of the season is being rewarded, as Argyle head to Wembley on May 30.

A last minute Peter Hartley header in the Sky Bet League 2 play-off semi-final gave Argyle a 3-2 win over Portsmouth and booked Argyle's place at Wembley in the final. Graham was reminiscing about his assist for the cross that sent Argyle to Wembley. 

"It was a great day," he said. "For the fans mainly, but for us as players as well after what has been a very long season. The hard work that we put in at the start of it is finally paying off. But, we know as professionals that it is only half a job done. There is no point going to Wembley and enjoying the occasion and not getting a result, which is the most important thing.

"We knew as a squad the longer we were in the tie the fitter we would be and the stronger we would be at the end of it. I think everyone has seen the last half an hour of the game; we were getting on top gradually and getting more and more chances and I think if it went to extra time none of that would have changed. We knew we would have won the game, and we probably could have won it by maybe two.

"I think the 92nd minute winner for us is probably the best way to win it. If it is going against you it is horrible because there is no time to react and you cannot get yourself back in the game, but for us it was perfect and typified the way we have played this season. We have never gave up and even after missing out on automatic promotion we have dug in and worked hard and we got our rewards."

It was no mistake, when Peter headed in Graham's last minute corner, says Argyle's Irish midfielder. The Pilgrims had been targeting the back post from corners all afternoon, and reaped their rewards in the most dramatic fashion.

"It's hard for me to see to the back post from where I put it in," Graham said. "I'm just hoping someone is there because we have worked hard on set-pieces all season and we have scored a lot from them. We knew they were vulnerable around the back post. Luckily Pete made that run and got a bit of luck and the ball went in. It was definitely well planned out and I put a few balls in earlier in the game that weren't quite on the money, luckily that was on it right at the most important time."

"It was quite a long run for me to join them," said Graham of his celebration. "So I just slid in front of the Devonport End about 20 metres from where the corner was taken! I have made my way over there eventually and the celebrations were crazy - I think it was nothing more than we deserved."