Mightier Than the Pen
ARGYLE captain Luke McCormick helped set another club record by saving a penalty in Saturday’s 2-1 Sky Bet League Two come-from-behind win at Crewe Alexandra.
The goalkeeper’s heroics in keeping out George Cooper’s first-half spot-kick meant that the Pilgrims were able to claim an all-time Pilgrims best seventh away win in a row with goals from Craig Tanner and Graham Carey.
Luke, who holds the club record of consecutive clean sheets set in 2003-04, did not know until after Saturday’s game that the class of 2016-17 had also become record-breakers.
“It doesn’t surprise me when you look at this afternoon, going a goal behind,” he said. “The gaffer said afterwards - and it’s true - that we have a never-say-die mentality. We showed a lot of endeavour to get ourselves back in the game and we kept knocking on the door. Fortunately, at the end, we were able to get a break and Graham was able to put it away.”
The secret to the Pilgrims’ success this season, which sees them lead the division by seven points after just 16 games, is no secret.
“We have got a solid base,” said Luke. “We have got boys in the team that work hard; we have got loads of creativity; we have got goals in us. I think the base gives ourselves the security to go and express ourselves.”
Saturday’s base saw Yann Songo’o drop back into central defence alongside Sonny Bradley after regular centre-back Nauris Bulvitis was ruled out with a calf injury.
Luke said: “Sonny and Bully have struck up a fantastic little partnership; it's probably Yann’s more natural position, the one he’s played most of his career, so it’s not strange for him. He slotted in perfectly; he just loves to go and defend and that’s what we had to do at times today.”
It took a while for Argyle to get into the game against opponents who took an early lead through on-loan Chelsea starlet Alex Kiwomya.
Luke said: “They have got plenty of legs. I think that’s one thing that gave us plenty of trouble. There are plenty of bodies willing to run forward and we had to get to grips with that. Maybe we were wee bit slow in doing that in the initial stages of the game.
“Once we did, the game opened up a little bit for us and we were able to get our quality players on the ball and take it to them a little bit.”
That resulted in Graham finishing off one of several flowing team moves to score his eighth goal of the season.
“Graham is relentless,” said Luke. “He is up and down; he wants to be part of everything; he wants the ball anywhere on the pitch. Jimmy [Spencer] has done fantastically in the middle of the park to get the ball out to Jake [Jervis] and he has put a fantastic ball in and Graham is head down, running in; he knows where the ball is going to go.”
After that, it was a case of what-we-have-we-hold as Crewe desperately sought an equaliser.
“They chucked everything at us,” said Luke. “The big centre-half came on up front and made things difficult for us but we have got aggressive boys that just want to go and defend, and we were able to hold out.”