IT is a measure of the team ethos at Home Park that Derek Adams spent as much time talking about his midfield trio and central striker after the Pilgrims’ 1-0 Emirates FA Cup victory over Grimsby Town as he did about match-winner and star of the show, Graham Carey.
Those of us who thought that Carey’s Home Park nickname of ‘G’ was just a truncated version of his first name were made to re-think after the Irishman’s bravura first-half display against the Mariners in which he scored after only eight minutes – clearly it is short for ‘genius’.
The only surprise was that after dominating his marker to an almost embarrassing extent for the third game in succession, he did not claim at least a hat-trick in terms of both goals scored and assisted.
“He could have had another couple of goals,” said Argyle manager Derek. “He was coming in off that right-hand side and they didn’t double up on him. He was allowed to get in easily to the 18-yard box and cause trouble. We were unfortunate we didn’t extend the lead before half-time.
“It was a very good performance from us today. We started the game exceptionally well and we caused Grimsby a lot of trouble most of the afternoon.
“The chances we created, we could have finished it off before half-time with some of our passing and movement and creating from both sides – Graham was obviously more prominent on the right-hand side but Joel [Grant] was on the left, as well.
“We controlled the game very well; stopped the threat of the ball into their strikers. All afternoon, we were by far the better outfit. It looked like that for the 90 minutes.”
That control was in no small part down to the midfield triumvirate of Yann Songo’o, David Fox and Toumani Diagouraga. It is no coincidence that Argyle’s five-match unbeaten run has been achieved with that unit in place, and with Jake Jervis occupying the central striker’s role for the last four games.
Derek said: “They have good experience between the three of them; they are all different types of players; they all play in and around that central zone where games can be dominated, and we have shown we can deal with the best teams in this league.
“They allow us to go and play at times, and Carey and Grant have a licence to do that with Jervis up front. We have seen that we can be a threat.
“He can run down the sides; he can cause trouble to defenders; he plays that position from the point of view that he runs beyond [his markers] and that stretches the game, allowing our wider players to come to the ball and cause trouble for the opposition.
“He is not a player who comes to the ball, takes a touch and takes the ball in, he’s more the one. He is more one that runs in behind. He does a job for the team and that is what we need.
“When any ball is played in behind the full-back and it’s a race between him and the centre-half, the centre-half has got a real problem. Then what happens is the centre-halves go deeper and deeper and that allows us to have extra space in the middle of the park to play.
“It is always important that you go on unbeaten runs and we’re on that now. It was a tricky fixture for us today because Grimsby have gone a lot of games unbeaten recently in their division and there would have been a few people expecting them to come here and win.
“But we have shown the quality we have got.”