ARGYLE returned from a second visit of the season to Mansfield with three valuable points, and matchwinner Graham Carey hopes they have also brought back a little of their away-day savvy with them.
Playmaker Graham set up Sonny Bradley for the 69th-minute opener in the 2-0 victory at One Call Stadium before firing home a sweet free-kick five minutes later to seal the Pilgrims’ 11th away win of the Sky Bet League Two campaign and 23rd triumph on the road in their last 40 league road-trips.
The win, which cemented Argyle’s position in the automatic promotion spots and kept them tucked in behind leaders Doncaster Rovers, was a triumph for tactics and resilience.
The first hour saw a disciplined defensive display which laid the foundations for the late goal-double that secured a third victory of the season over the play-off chasing Stags, who had lost only one of their previous 13 matches.
“We knew it was going to be tough,” said Graham. “We knew they are quite a physical team and like to get the ball forward very quickly.
“We said, before the game, that we needed to give ourselves the basis to work ourselves into the game and it was tough, first half, but I thought we dug in.
“We always know there are goals in the team, especially with set-pieces, so we knew we needed to keep ourselves in the game and we’ll eventually score; keep a clean sheet and we’ll win.
“We know, when we come away from home, that we can sit in, and we have a lot of attacking players to go and punish teams on the break; that’s what we have done.”
Argyle now travel to Wycombe on Tuesday – a night of the week which has proved their Achilles heel at Home Park this season.
“So many times this season, we’ve given ourselves too much to do in games,” said Graham. “We’ve kind of, not gone gung-ho, but we’ve gone and attacked teams too early and we’ve got countered, and then we’re chasing the game.
“We just haven’t been performing to our standards; we know that and we have to address it, but we know, coming away from home, we’re always dangerous. I think we have one of the best away records in the league, and it shows.
“It’s important we just keep ourselves in games. We know the fitness levels in the squad and I think it showed, pushing towards the last 10-15 minutes of the game – we were closing down and the shape we showed [was good], as well.
“Possibly, we need to do that at a little bit at home, as well. A lot of the time, we go out straight from kick-off, try to attack teams, and get countered, and, if you give teams one or two goal leads in this league, they are going to set up defensively and just counter you, and it’s going to be really difficult.
“We know we can cause people problems in the later part of the game; we just need to be in them.”