TOP quality defender; winning goalscorer. Is there no end to Sonny Bradley’s influence on Argyle’s 2016-17 season?
Apparently not. After Saturday’s 2-1 Sky Bet League Two win at Cheltenham, in which he scored both goals, centre-back Sonny revealed that he also called the play which resulted in his injury-time winner.
Six minutes after Cheltenham’s Dan Holman had levelled Sonny’s first-half opener, Nathan Blissett won a free-kick for the Pilgrims 25 yards from goal in a central position. Midfielders Graham Carey and David Fox were plotting the next move when Sonny intervened.
He said: “I went over to Graham and Foxy because they stand over the ball - is it going to be a left ’un; is it going to be a right ’un? – and I said to Graham ‘If you are not going to hit it, let Foxy just stand it up at the back stick for me because I’ll put it in the net.’
“Foxy was giving me the nod like ‘we’re on.’ From then on, I knew it was coming to me. I stood at the back stick; I waited for the flight of the ball and I timed my header well. I didn’t actually see it hit the back of the net – I’ve got up and everyone was jumping on me, so that’s when I kind of figured out I’d scored the winner.”
He also did not see his first goal – another set-piece – hit the back of the net, and neither did anyone else, as his header from a left-wing corner looped over the goal-line.
He said: “It was planned: Jake Jervis, two hands up – it goes back stick. I just followed the flight of the ball; got away from my man. I think [the ball] took a couple of nicks on the way through but I’ve got my head in there, headed it, and it’s gone over the line.
“I don’t think it hit the back of the net – it was cleared from the line, but it clearly went over the line; the linesman gave it.
“From then on, I never felt we were going to concede. I thought we were on for a clean sheet. But that wasn’t to be. They scored and everyone kind of feels ‘that’s it; 1-1’.
“They wanted to go on and score again, which is understandable when you are at the lower end of the table. I think, by doing that, they left it a little bit open, and we’ve gone and won a free-kick; last chance. Luckily, I’ve timed my header well and we’ve won 2-1.”
Sonny and fellow central defender Yann Songo’o were joined in the second half by new Czech team-mate Jakub Sokolik as the Pilgrims switched to a three at the back.
“It was a brilliant debut,” said Sonny. “He came on and won all his headers. He’s got a bit of experience and knows what he’s doing. To have me and Yann alongside him just helped him into the game.
“He’s trained well in the last couple of weeks since he came in. He was ready for it today and I think that showed in his performance.”