Offering No Defence

WHILST defensive lapses are high on Argyle manager Derek Adams’ agenda, a 4-0 loss to Scunthorpe United is a result he feels far from tells the whole story of the game.

The Greens suffered a heavy home defeat at the hands of last season’s Sky Bet League One play-off semi-finalists, though a four-goal loss would have been predicted by very few in the opening stages of the match.

Derek’s side created a number of chances and put the Iron on the back foot, but were caught out by a clinical counter on 27 minutes, converted by Paddy Madden. 

“I thought that we controlled large spells of the first half,” said Adams. “I thought we were the team that looked like we were in control. I don’t think anyone would say otherwise. We had a lot of possession, a lot of good opportunities. 

“Scunthorpe score with their first run down the side and chance of the game. Other than that, we coped well. We didn’t allow [Matt] Gilks to play out from the back, which they like to do, then launch it down the sides. We stopped that happening. We used the extra man that we had in midfield very well.” 

Argyle were not only a goal down at the break, but also a man down. During stoppage time, Antoni Sarcevic saw red for clashing in the box with Madden. Still, the Pilgrims pushed Scunthorpe back in the opening stages of the second half, but couldn’t find the equaliser. Tiredness and gaps on the pitch inevitably showed, with Madden, Tom Hopper and Josh Morris netting before full time. 

Derek Adams: “In the second half we came out and, again, I thought we were the better team, but then it goes 2-0 and it becomes Scunthorpe’s afternoon after that. 

“The sending off doesn’t allow us to have the domination that we did have. We had the extra man in midfield, and when that goes out the window, they have the extra man somewhere else on the pitch. 

“We had to score the goal [at 1-0] to make it 1-1. We didn’t do that. We had a lot of good play in and around their penalty box, and I thought all afternoon that the players looked very fit. 

“We controlled large spells in the game. We passed them off the pitch and create a number of opportunities. But, that’s not what they’re going to say; they’re going to say they’ve won 4-0, and that’s the nature of football.”

Derek is more than ready to take positives from the game, then. But, the boss is far from shying away from the issues that led to his team conceding four goals in a league game for the first since he took charge of the club.

“The goals we’ve conceded are shocking goals,” said Adams. “The first one is a ball down the side. It’s a crossed ball into the box and we’ve lost a runner in the middle. The second goal: we get done in the 18-yard box, turned inside out, a cross ball again and we don’t match a runner in the middle. 

“The third and the fourth are not good defending from our point of view. The goals are defendable; we haven’t defended well enough.”