ARGYLE came out swinging in their 4-2 win over Stevenage, with boss Derek Adams pleased to see his side’s punches landing harder than the visitors’ in a back-and-forth contest.
The Greens had to pick themselves off the canvas a couple of times to come out on top against the ‘Boro – one of Sky Bet League 2’s better sides away from home, who took the lead in the second minute, as Matt Godden turned home from a free kick.
Adams’ side responded quickly, though, and always carried a threat – a threat that was cashed in twice in the first half, as Jordan Slew and Jake Jervis both scored from close range to give Argyle the lead. Still, a Steven Schumacher free-kick gave Stevenage an equaliser just before the break, leaving the Pilgrims needing some water and the iron as they headed back to their corner.
“Very frustrating,” said Derek on conceding an early goal. “It was a soft goal from our point of view. We lost the first header and then we didn’t pick up at the next one back in. We knew that we’d have to start quickly today, because Stevenage were going to do that to us, and we didn’t do it.
“We went 1-0 down very early in the game. We were able to get ourselves back in the game at 1-1, then it was 2-2. I always thought they would create chances in the game. It was obviously an entertaining match. I thought some of our play at times was very good, and it was a matter of time before we scored.
“It was too open at times, from my point of view, but that comes with playing in League 2. You’ve got to play more defensive at times and you will get chances against teams. Credit to Stevenage: they’ve got some good players in their team who’ve done well away from home.”
Argyle took control of the contest after the break, re-taking the lead on 54 minutes as Graham Carey's thunderous shot clipped off of Paul-Arnold Garita and into the net. Plenty more chances came and went after that, but they finally got Stevenage to throw in the towel in stoppage time, as David Goodwillie took his time to net his first ever Argyle goal.
Despite falling behind twice, the Pilgrims always carried an attacking threat and created chances, maintaining Derek’s belief throughout that his side would get their hand raised at full time.
“I think that the way we passed the ball sometimes in the first half was excellent,” said Adams. “With the openings we created, we could see that we were going to be successful if we were able to pass the ball a wee bit more, instead of going direct.
“In the second half, we played a lot of quick, attacking play. We’ve hit the bar; we’ve hit a number over the bar and past the post.
“We probably became a bit lazy at times, but I didn’t really feel like we were going to lose the match. I thought the amount of chances we were going to create was going to exceed the ones that they were. Overall, I didn’t think that we defended badly today; I just thought that we became lazy.”
Despite the game taking place between two matches against one of the best sides in the country, Argyle displayed bundles of energy in all areas to overpower their opposition, further solidifying their place in the Sky Bet League Two play-off places in the process.
“I looked at the midfield three and the back four. They had a lot of defending to do last week and they’ve done that well today," said Adams.
“Graham Carey: he has got tremendous energy, he repeats runs, he runs forward and creates chances all the time. The same with Slew and Jervis. They’re back and forward; they do a good job for us in that wider area. You see at times how important it is that you’re able to run in the modern-day, and they can certainly do that.
“It is starting to open up a wee bit, the league. Winning and getting that three points is important.”