In the Crosshairs
ARGYLE have got their sights set on catching Sky Bet League Two leaders Doncaster Rovers after ending their long unbeaten home run on Sunday.
A goal early in the second half from centre-back Sonny Bradley gave Argyle a 1-0 victory in South Yorkshire and moved the Pilgrims up to within three points of Rovers, who lead the division as the 2016-17 season approaches its denouement.
As importantly, Argyle’s 12th away win of the campaign – the first league defeat suffered by Doncaster on their own turf after 16 wins and six draws during the past 12 months – lengthened the lead over the highest placed of the teams in the play-off positions to 13 points.
Manager Derek Adams said: “We’ve got seven games to go now. We’ve closed the gap between ourselves and Doncaster to three points and we’ll try to catch them, try to overtake them, but we also have to keep on opening up a gap between ourselves and fourth position, as well.
“We have still got a lot of hard work to do. We need to keep on winning matches. We have picked up 75 points already this season and we need to keep up picking up wins.
The win completed a league double over Doncaster, following a 2-0 victory over Darren Ferguson’s side at Home Park in December, and owed much to some forensic preparation for the game and expert execution.
Derek said: “We’ve come to a place where they hadn’t been beaten all season; we’ve played against them twice this season and we haven’t conceded a goal against them. That tells you how well we’ve done.
“We came here with a game-plan, much the same as the first time we played against them, and it worked perfectly for us.
“We allowed the two centre-halves to get on the ball; we sat deep; and we closed the space down.
“It’s difficult as the home side, because you have got to try to break down the opposition, and we know that, when we get the ball, we have got some very good players who can play, not only on the counter-attack, but who can also pass the ball well.
“Today, after we scored, we could have scored again because the other team have got to open up more than they were doing.
“Graham Carey and Jake Jervis had two fabulous opportunities to finish the game off; Luke McCormick has made two very good saves, as well, first half and second half; we defended long balls into the box. We always knew we’d have to defend well because [Doncaster] are a side that has scored many goals this season.
“Over the piece, the back four worked extremely hard and our two wide players had to do a job defensively, as well as offensively.”
Finishing off their promotion push and challenging for the League Two title are not the only targets for Argyle. They need just one win from their final four away games to set a new club record, having reached 12 victories on the road for as second successive campaign.
Derek said: “We equalled that last year and, this year, we’ve equalled it again. It’s up to us to break that record.”