ARGYLE responded to a difficult week with their finest performance of the season to record an excellent 3-1 victory over Gillingham in Sky Bet League One.
After a late goal cost the Pilgrims a point at home to Burton on the weekend and a defeat to Oxford in the previous outing, manager Derek Adams made five changes to his line-up and the response was a superb display.
From the first whistle, Argyle were all over the Gills, with Freddie Ladapo scoring twice in the first period and substitute Ruben Lameiras adding a third within moments of entering the fray. A consolation from Luke O’Neill did little to dampen an electric Home Park atmosphere.
“It was a fantastic performance from us right from the start,” said Derek. They did [the changes] pay off.
“The coaching staff and myself all believe in them. They can pass the ball and what they did tonight was win it back, play on the front-foot and it was as good as a performance as I’ve seen for a very long time at this football club. You can tell when the team are at it and they were at it tonight.
“The week we’ve had hasn’t been easy for us but we’ve been able to pick up a very good result. We need players scoring from all over the pitch and we showed tonight that we have got a very good squad.
“We’ve still got players injured with a lot of first-team experience but tonight’s team set down a marker. We would have liked to keep a clean sheet because that would have helped our goal difference but it was a well-struck shot through bodies.
“I said to the players they are a very good team. If they keep on playing like that, we’ll be climbing up this league very quickly. They probably don’t have as much belief in their ability as I do. I see them training every week and they’ve got the makings of a very good squad.
“When we win the ball back, slit open teams with two or three passes, teams will not live with us. We’ve got pace in the side, a bit of guile and good technical players.
“We have set the standards, set the bar and the players have to continue that. The first few minutes in the changing room [after the game], I didn’t want to speak because the players were so loud, so happy, which is always nice for a manager and coaching staff to see.”
The atmosphere inside the Theatre of Greens matched the performance and the free-ticket offer for children allowed many youngsters to sample the very best of what Argyle can produce. It was an occasion greatly appreciated by Derek and his players.
“There was a terrific atmosphere in the stadium and it felt like it was fuller than it was on Saturday,” he said. “I don’t know what the attendance was but, for a Tuesday night, it was very good.
“We had a lot of children in the stadium tonight and it gave them an insight into what it is like. I met a lot of kids in the car park this morning, buying their tickets and good for them to see some technical players.
“The players passed the ball with a lot of confidence, played with a lot of confidence and the goals we scored were of high quality. The Green Army were here in their numbers, an even bigger crowd than Saturday, and that tells you the support we have.
“The players and I really appreciate that.”