DEREK Adams was pleased to see his flying Argyle side put a shaky Bury side to the sword in the form of a comfortable 3-0 victory.
Despite the Pilgrims’ excellent run of form and Bury’s position at the foot of the Sky Bet League One table, nobody at Argyle saw the visit of the Shakers as a walkover. After all, the Greens know better than most how much of a threat the bottom side in this division can pose.
Making seven changes and handing debuts to three new players, Adams knew that it was important to not let the visitors gain confidence early on. Toumani Diagouraga’s header in the 14th minute allowed Argyle to put pressure on Bury, and it was 2-0 on 42 minutes as Graham Carey tucked home the rebound from his own missed penalty.
“It was important,” said Adams on scoring the first goal. “They had obviously signed three new players during the week. They made seven changes today, so it was about us getting on the front foot and getting the first goal to demoralise them, really, more than anything else.
“That’s what we did; we got the first goal. We got the second goal and went from strength to strength. We’ve had so many chances this afternoon; we could’ve scored a lot more.”
More goals certainly looked likely in the second half, and Bury’s fate was sealed on the hour-mark as substitute Ryan Lowe’s dangerous challenge on Remi Matthews saw him sent off. The inevitable third goal came from Antoni Sarcevic twelve minutes from time, after waves of Argyle attacks.
“Ryan Lowe’s an experienced player”, said Derek, “but it was foolish challenge by him, for someone of that experience. It was a clear red card. You could see it happening, and it was a bit naïve of him to do that, but it obviously helped us.
“I think the players knew that they had won the game. We controlled the game after that. We knew we had the three points and it was just about ‘can we score any more goals?’
“I think that over the 90 minutes, the way we played, the way we moved the ball, the creativity we’ve shown – and also we had to deal with the presence of Hanson up front. We had an overload in midfield. We had three against two, which benefitted us.”
Strong showings in all areas of the pitch paved the way for Argyle’s superb run of form to continue, led by the displays of both Graham Carey and Ruben Lameiras, playing between Bury’s lines and popping up in different positions to create plenty of opportunities.
“The two of them are very talented," said Adams. “We load up in different areas, different sides of the pitch.
“Ryan Taylor gives us a platform to play from, and the three in midfield combine well. The full backs, as well, joined in today down the sides and got themselves in the box a good number of times. Gary Sawyer was unfortunate not to score again.
“I thought it was a very accomplished performance from us today. We started the game very well and controlled it for the majority of the match, and the goals we scored were some good goals.”
After sitting bottom of the division at the end of October, Argyle now sit in the top half of the table at the beginning of January. It is an exceptional turnaround of fortunes that has led much of the Green Army to even glance fleetingly at the play-off positions, but the boss is keen to keep ambitions a little more grounded for now.
"We’ve put ourselves in a good position, but we all know that we’re trying, first and foremost, to stay in the division,” said Derek. “That’s what we came into the league to do. We’ve been out of it for so many years and we’ll continue to work hard.
“We knew there were only four games to play [in the division]. Everybody else was playing in the FA Cup, or not playing because somebody was playing in the FA Cup. We’ve been able to get ourselves into 12th position, which was fantastic.”