ARGYLE had no-one but themselves to blame for suffering their first defeat in 11 games at the hands of last season’s nemeses, AFC Wimbledon, according to manager Derek Adams.
For the third time in 23 Argyle matches, the Wombles secured a critical win over the Pilgrims, following up a Sky Bet League Two win late last season and a Wembley play-off final triumph with a 2-1 victory in their Checkatrade Trophy game.
Wimbledon’s three points ensured their qualification from South Group B, leaving Argyle and Swansea with a Liberty Stadium winner-takes-all shoot-out in early November.
The Pilgrims took the lead after only six minutes through former Wimbledon midfielder Connor Smith and dominated the first half. However, two home goals inside three second-half minutes from Lyle Taylor – Connor’s team-mate at Wembley and scorer of the first play-off final goal – and Tyrone Barnett turned the tie on its head.
Derek said: “We were in control of the first half and played really well. We got a goal ahead and took that into half-time. In the second half, Wimbledon took the game to us and they were the better team.
“We were winning 1-0 and the two goals were extremely poor goals to lose from our point of view, really preventable. It’s our own fault we have given two goals away tonight and we have lost the game because of that.
“The first one, we could have dealt with the first header, and then he gets in behind us; for the second one, we get too close to the man, he rolls off and turns, and gets a goal.”
The defeat was the first suffered by the Pilgrims since the second Saturday of the current campaign, back in mid-August, and the first time they have lost after taking the lead since last season’s visit to Exeter City.
The Argyle starting line-up showed seven changes from the one that had eased to a 4-1 victory at home to Yeovil three days earlier.
All was going swimmingly until after the interval, leaving the Pilgrims’ continued participation in the Checkatrade Trophy dependent on their visit to Wales next month.
Derek said: “In the first half, we kept the ball really well, but, in the second half, Wimbledon came into the game, got a wee bit of pressure, and got the goals.
“They didn’t really have many opportunities in the game; they had more pressure than us in the second half and we had more pressure than them in the first half.
“We have got a month to wait until the next game, and it is a competition we would like to try to progress if we can.
“From my point of view, it is the league that is the most important thing, and we have now got to go to Stevenage on Saturday.”