ON the surface, Argyle’s top versus bottom clash at Newport looked a formality, but the 3-1 win at Rodney Parade was ground out on less than pitch-perfect surroundings.
Two Graham Carey penalties, in the 37th and 55th minutes, either side of a speculative strike by Jon Parkin, set the Pilgrims on their way to three points, with Jordan Slew rounding off proceedings late on.
County share their ground with two rugby union clubs and Rodney Parade bears the scars of such use.
“It was a difficult surface to play on,” said Argyle manager Derek Adams. “The pitch was very lively. There was more grass on it than last time we played here but it wasn’t a passing pitch.
“It would probably have been easier playing with a bouncy ball, rather than a football, so from that point of view, it was a good victory for us.
“We dealt well with the situation. You can’t play free-flowing football if the surface doesn’t allow you to do that, so you have got to play in a different way; to win 3-1 away from home is always important and I thought we had a lot of battling performances.”
The penalties, which saw Graham increase his goal-tally for the season to seven, were without dispute.
“They are stone-wall penalties,” said Derek. “The first one – Jordan Slew is away to go around the goalkeeper and put the ball in the net; it’s a penalty and it’s a sending-off. The second one, Graham gets himself into the penalty area, gets a defender on his backside, and is away to get in on goal.
“He took the two penalties very well, putting the goalkeeper the wrong way and it is important you score that goal at that time in the game.”
Argyle have now dropped just four points in their last 12 matches after going pointless and goal-less in their first two games.
“It’s a very good run,” said Derek. “As I’ve said before, it’s a difficult league we play in and to get 32 points after 14 games is important for us.”