ARGYLE’S first-team coach Kevin Nancekivell admits he is feeling “as low as you can get” after the Pilgrims’ relegation to Sky Bet League One.
The Greens battled valiantly in their 3-2 final day victory over Scunthorpe at a packed-out Home Park, but a late winner for Southend against Sunderland meant it was all in vain, with the Pilgrims relegated on goal difference.
“[I’m feeling] as low as you can get,” said Nancekivell. “Like the rest of our supporters and all the members of staff and players. We’ve won the game today, but over the course of the season we haven’t done enough to keep ourselves out of the bottom four.”
Nancekivell found himself in the hot seat after the dismissal of Derek Adams last weekend, and he and his players dealt admirably with the pressure of the high-stakes date with destiny. Despite only having a few days of training to implement his plans, Nancekivell was proud of the team’s efforts.
He said: “Listen, the lads carried it out to the letter, scored early, got ourselves 2-0 up and fought back when it was 2-2 to go and win the game. Like I said, it’s not been lost today, it’s been lost over the course of the season.
“I think the boys have all done their part today. Yes we won the game, but it’s a very disappointing, sad day.”
The Pilgrims’ best-laid plans were thrown into disarray on the hour mark, when their hard-earned lead evaporated in controversial circumstances. Josh Morris intercepted Matt Macey’s attempted throw out of play, with the Arsenal loanee having picked up an injury that saw him play no further part. With many players having stopped play, Morris took it upon himself to collect the ball and curl it at goal, over the crocked Macey, and into the net.
“I’m not going to make a comment on that, I’ll leave that to Scunthorpe,” said Nancekivell. “All I’ll say is that the boys responded terrifically well to go back up the other end and score a great goal to win the game. I haven’t got anything else to say on it.”
The Greens looked on course for a dramatic final day survival, until Southend snatched a winner with three minutes left in their season. Through a mixture of crowd reactions and mobile phones in the dugout, Nancekivell and his players were aware of their fate by the full-time whistle.
“We knew, obviously there was a mobile phone in the dugout,” he said. “Obviously the fans as well, sometimes that message is quicker than when it gets to us in the dugout.
“They’re a good bunch of lads, they’ve done everything that we could have expected of them today – unfortunately that wasn’t enough.”