Cooking Under Pressure
ARGYLE manager Derek Adams expects his table-topping team to have deal with more of the pressure that Stevenage put them under on Saturday...
...before the Pilgrims secured a fifth successive Sky Bet League Two away victory.
Their 2-1 win came through two second-half goals from centre-back Sonny Bradley – who also diverted a Stevenage free-kick past Luke McCormick to equalise his opener – after the home side had been in the Pilgrims’ faces for much of the opening period.
“We had to deal with the pressure that Stevenage were going to put on us – they were the home side and we knew they would try and press,” said Derek, “but, after 45 minutes, we knew that our good players would get on the ball; we would pass it and move; and we would get chances in the game.
“We had to deal with the physical aspect of the game. We knew, before the game, that they were going to be very physical with us. We dealt with that really well and then we passed the ball extremely well in the second half.
“That is the way they play. They are very physical and we knew there were going to be a lot of fouls in the game, which there were, and we knew we had to deal with that. They can’t play at that pace all game – it’s impossible – so it was about being in the game and then, when the game opened up, we lengthened the pitch, lengthwise and widthwise, and created a number of openings.
“We could have scored more goals and gone on to have a hefty margin. The goalkeeper has made some good saves and they have had blocks.
“We found, last season, everyone lifts their game to the team that is top of the table and it becomes more difficult. We have to up our game even further and, at times, it’s not easy because we probably have to play at a higher pace than other teams when they come here.”
Both Argyle’s goals came from free-kicks. The first arrived a minute after half-time when Sonny glanced home David Fox’s left-wing delivery; the second, 12 minutes later saw Graham Carey provided the assist from the opposite flank.
“You need that in this league at times,” said Derek. “You are going to have to have good delivery and, when you get that, we have got defenders whom can get their head on it.
“Sonny’s very good in the air and he has shown that today. He has done really well for us this season. He’s scored a good number of goals for us. It’s important, as I’ve already said earlier in the season, that you get your defenders scoring goals.”
The victory was Argyle’s ninth in their last ten league matches and left them five points clear at the top. Last season, they made a similarly dominant start and Derek believes this year’s model is better equipped to make the lead stick.
He said: “We know from last year, we didn’t have a squad that was capable of going the whole distance; we are hopeful that, this year, we have got better competition for places that can help us get as many points as we possibly can to help us get up the league.
“We are well equipped. We’ve got very good individuals in the side, defensively, creatively and attacking-wise.”