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HARD work on Harper’s Park and Home Park paved the way for Argyle’s fine 1-1 draw against Sky Bet League One leaders Shrewsbury Town.
On paper, the whole of the division separates the combatants, but that was far from the case on the pitch as Graham Carey’s second goal of the season threatened to turn the tables on the undefeated Shrews.
Carey’s glorious early second-half strike in front of the Devonport end gave Argyle a lead which they hung on to until 12 minutes from time, when Shaun Whalley levelled.
Argyle captain Gary Sawyer was full of praise for the effort the Pilgrims have put in since the previous week’s home defeat by Fleetwood Town.
“The boys put in a shift today,” he said. “We did a lot of work this week to help us with shape and things, and I think the boys did it to a T.
“It was a shame to not get a win obviously but, in the situation we’re in, against the top of the league, if you’d said that before the game – to take a point – I think everyone would have taken it.”
The draw brought to an end a run of four League One defeats and was arguably the least the Pilgrims deserved after creating more and better opportunities than their high-flying visitors.
“Everyone worked as hard as you can work in a game,” said Gary. “We didn’t get that little bit of luck that we needed – the luck just isn’t there for us at the minute, but there is definitely something for us to build on now.
“We didn’t feel too threatened at the back. Obviously, they are going to have chances, they are going to have crosses, but I thought we dealt with them well. We stood up to them.
“We had some decent chances ourselves, then obviously Carey pulls it out when we need him to do it, which he is more than capable of doing.”
Graham’s goal was quintessential Carey. The Irishman collected the ball 30 yards out, centre of goal, dropped a shoulder and glided past two players before curling the ball around the goalkeeper and in off the post.
Gary said: “Everyone knows what he is capable of if you give him time and he’s caught one perfectly – a great finish for us.
“He’s a perfectionist. He knows, like we all do, that everyone has not been at their best, which is why we are in the position we are in. Everyone is fighting and working hard to change that. A goal of that sort of quality might be the sort of thing to turn him up properly.
“G’s shown, through the years, that he is capable of doing it more than once. Everyone’s got their faith in him to be able to do that every week – it’s just nice to see it come off for him finally this season.”
Argyle will now try to take their improved fortunes into another tough game when they travel to Blackburn Rovers in midweek.
Gary said: “Everyone is disappointed to let the goal in but it’s a good finish from them; arguably we need to get someone closer to stop it, but it was a good finish, a good point, and we move on to the next one.
“We’ll be disappointed tonight, we’ll be disappointed tomorrow, but the main focus now has to go on to Tuesday and building on this one. We have got to take the positives from it.”