ARGYLE manager Ryan Lowe felt the final scoreline in the Pilgrims’ Carabao Cup defeat to Sky Bet Championship side Reading was “harsh,” and that the Greens were unfortunate not to take the tie into a penalty shoot-out.
The Pilgrims led twice through goals from Ryan Taylor and Jose Baxter, but a brace from Josh Barrett, including a superb solo effort to bring the tie back to 2-2, and a late Yakou Meite double ended Argyle’s cup hopes.
“I thought for large parts of the game we were dominant, we controlled large parts of it, we created a lot of chances, a lot of set-plays,” said Lowe. “I’m pleased; when you find yourself 2-1, you’re thinking, ‘ooh, go on then’.
“But, unfortunately, the goals we’ve conceded, I feel we can do a lot better in certain areas. The second one’s a worldie but before it gets to that we feel we can maybe win a header, win a bit of contact and it doesn’t get to that. When you give small fouls away or small decisions that you’re not really used to doing, you get punished by top opposition and that’s what we did.”
Despite Barrett’s second equaliser, the Greens looked as though they were headed for a penalty shoot-out, before Meite was felled by Cooper in the box. There was not a lot in the game up until that point, and Lowe feels that the Royals exhibited a little more composure in the crucial moments – as is often the case as you rise up the league pyramid.
“I said to some of the youngsters and some of the lads who are mid-20s, if you want to get to that level, that’s what you have to do,” said Lowe. “They had a few youngsters out also, but if you don’t do the right things in the right areas you can be punished by top opposition and that’s what’s happened. We’ve been punished by top opposition in certain areas.”
While Lowe and his players are undoubtedly disappointed with their second-round defeat, he feels it will not take long for the Greens to put it behind them – particularly with league football taking ultimate precedence for the Pilgrims.
“As I said, it was a win-win. We’re never going to win the Carabao Cup, with all due respect. It was a win-win game for us, I was pleased - but it was harsh on the lads I thought because they got themselves into a fantastic lead with two good, well worked goals.”