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So Nearly Three Points

Argyle Denied at the Last

23 March 2019

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LIKE the rest of the Green Army at Home Park on Saturday, Argyle manager Derek Adams ran the gamut of emotions during the 2-2 Sky Bet League One draw with Bristol Rovers.

The Pilgrims were twice ahead. Ruben Lameiras became the first player in more than seven and a half hours of football to breach the Rovers’ rearguard; then, three minutes after a spectacular drive from Jonson Clarke-Harris had levelled matters, they went back ahead when Tony Craig headed a Lameiras corner into his own net. 

Argyle, who played with Joe Riley and Gary Sawyer operating as wing-backs, looked value to hang on for the victory until, in the first minute of four added on by referee Roger East, Gavin Reilly flicked a close-range header passed Matt Macey.

“It feels like a loss because we were up with injury-time to play,” said Derek.

“We obviously outwitted them at the start of the game the game with the formation that we played and took control of the match from that by getting our full-backs on the ball.

“We dominated their centre-forwards, in [Tom] Nichols and Clarke-Harris, and that allowed us to get on the ball and move it, and Lameiras and [Freddie] Ladapo to play further forward.

“It was a very good performance at home for us. We should be sitting here with three points. I knew we would score. I said to everyone before the game that we would score – we scored two goals; I said we would score off a set-play – and we scored off a set-play – because we know that they are weak, defensively, from set-plays.

“I didn’t see them scoring the way they did from Clarke-Harris, which was an unbelievable strike and we should have made a tackle before that, and we could have done better in the first half with the opportunities inside the 18–yard box, but we didn’t.”

Reilly’s late leveller came from a throw-in on the Pilgrims’ right and Derek said: “I didn’t see them scoring. I didn’t see how they were going to score. We were dealing well with them through the middle of the pitch and, if it was going to be something, it was going to be from a cross, and that’s what happened.

“You get to that stage of the game when you aren’t really allowing Bristol Rovers to see sight of your goal, and they put one ball into the box – there were a lot of players inside the box – and Reilly’s been able to get a flick on it into the bottom corner.

“We probably went too deep, just in the last minutes of the game, or we didn’t clear our lines properly. If we had done that, we would have seen out the game. Reilly is always on the front foot and gets himself into these positions.

“It was a good spectacle; 2-2; goals were scored again at home. Over the piece, we are happy with the performance.

“We are performing well and creating opportunities. We were the team that was in ascendancy in the first half; when we went back to winning 2-1, Bristol Rovers pushed back against us.

“We’ve added to our points total today; we’ve taken our unbeaten run at home to eight games; and we feel that it’s another point gained.”

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