THE late winner from Niall Canavan in Argyle’s triumph over Stevenage at Home Park is welcome reward for a player who has battled through many obstacles in his time as a Pilgrim.
Niall struck in the dying seconds to secure a 2-1 victory in Sky Bet League Two and the emotion was clear to see from a player who has endured serious illness, injury in his first year as a Green and some unfair criticism.
“Niall Canavan has been solid as a rock for us and he pops up with a last-minute winner,” said manager Ryan Lowe.
“He’s been excellent for us and for a guy who didn’t play that many games last season and came in for some unfair criticism, I think he’s been a breath of fresh air.
“Fair play to him, he’s down here without his family, he puts in a shift every single day. I’m really pleased for him; he’s asked for a chance and he certainly took it, so, hopefully that continues.”
As well as the joy of scoring a last-minute winner, Niall has been superb in his central-defensive duties alongside the likes of Scott Wootton, Gary Sawyer, Josh Grant and Will Aimson.
The Grant case epitomises the togetherness and attitude at Home Park under Lowe, as the man on loan from Chelsea seamlessly slipped back into defence against Stevenage after a run of games in midfield.
“He [Niall] is different class, along with Scotty, Gaz, Will, when he’s fit, and Josh has gone in at centre-half again,” said Ryan. “We know they’ve been a rock at the back.
“His [Grant’s] versatility is good and sometimes when you’re a player, you don’t know where you’re best position is but we know he’s been fantastic in the midfield role. I told him yesterday that he’d be slotting in on the left-hand side and he just said ‘no problem gaffer’.
“That’s what you want, he’s a diamond and he’s going to play at a high level in years to come. He’s been fantastic for us, a top pro to work with, a level-headed lad and getting better every day.”