The Cambridge Examination: Passed

DEFENSIVE solidity was the order of the day as Argyle saw off Cambridge United 1-0, with Argyle returning to their resolute ways at the back.

At the Cambs Glass Stadium, the Greens picked up their tenth away win of the Sky Bet League Two season, and many of the nine that preceded this one followed a similar script. 

The first act ended on a high note, as Argyle pushed through Cambridge’s original flurry to create chances of their own. One was taken five minutes before the interval by Antoni Sarcevic on his first start for the club, more than playing his part in an excellent first-half showing. The attacking midfielder capped up a flowing Argyle move by heading Graham Carey’s cross into the top corner. 

“In the first half, I thought it was the best we’ve played for a long time,” said Derek.“It was really good, excellent play, and we probably could’ve been four or five nil up at half-time. 

On Sarcevic’s goal, Adams said: “[It’s] very important coming into a new club to get up and running quickly. We’ve got him in a goal-scoring area. We had so many [chances] in the first half and he’s been able to get a good header on [the cross].”

Act II provided a slightly different narrative, as United pushed forward in droves to find an equaliser. Incredibly, Argyle are yet to concede a goal from open play in 2017, with all seven goals conceded coming from set pieces. The U’s put in plenty of deliveries from corners, free-kicks and open play, but dogged organisation and heroic blocks from Derek’s team ensured a clean sheet. 

“In the second half, they just launched the ball forward and we had to deal with it,” said Adams. “Today, we had to deal with the presence that they put up front.

“Cambridge became direct and they launched the ball forward. We defended extremely well. Set play-wise, we knew that’s what Cambridge would focus on, and we dealt with it. 

“If you’re looking at open play, we’ve done really well. We haven’t conceded goals from that because we look solid. We have to continue that, but today was about being solid in and around the box when they had corner kicks.”

That reliability at the back, combined with an attacking threat bolstered by new additions, made for an all-round display that Adams will be aiming to replicate in the final 18 games of the season. 

"I don’t like to talk individually," he said, "but collectively, I thought that the group did really well today. The new players came in and worked extremely hard. They took us up the pitch. It was a really good performance from us – in the first half and the second half. 

“We take 1-0, we take a clean sheet and we take the three points home.”