Argyle manager Ryan Lowe was delighted with the performance of his team in bouncing back from defeats on the road to overcome high-flying Lincoln City 2-0 in the Emirates FA Cup.
The Pilgrims got off to the perfect start at Home Park on Saturday afternoon, with in-form striker Luke Jephcott nodding George Cooper’s impeccable in-swinging corner beyond former loanee goalkeeper Alex Palmer on six minutes.
The Greens had to work hard to preserve their lead before the interval, as the Imps looked to force their way back into the match, before a fast start to the second-half was capped by a Ben Reeves screamer, which proved to be the killer.
Lowe said: “Very pleased. First-half it wasn’t quite us – the fluidity, we kept giving the ball away in cheap areas, and we worked our socks off to keep it compact.
“Second-half, I rallied the troops on a bit, because they did have some good players coming on the pitch – we were mindful of that, we couldn’t let anything slip. Overall pleased - when you lose two games on the bounce, you just want to find a winning formula, and tonight we found a way to win, which was very pleasing.”
A half-time tactical switch from Lowe and his coaching staff proved pivotal in helping the Greens to get further up the pitch after the interval, resulting in a very strong second-half showing.
He explained: “We were too eager at times, so first-half we were pressing too soon.
“Second-half, we were asking them to press on the next [touch]. We were pressing too early and they were bouncing it around a little bit – so we had to make sure we changed that at half-time. Changing those little minute things, they certainly helped.”
Having dominated the opening exchanges after the break, Reeves’ sweetly struck volley handed the Greens the crucial second goal.
Lowe said: “When it’s come down, I thought ‘is he really gonna hit that?’
“We know Alex is a top cat, he’s a good keeper and he can get them, but he’s hit it that sweet I don’t think two keepers would’ve got it. Pleased for 'Reevesy', he’s been champing at the bit, he’s been top drawer in training, and he’s warranted that opportunity tonight.
The Greens’ impressive victory over their high-flying opposition was the perfect response to a challenging week on the road, and Lowe was delighted to see his side keep a clean sheet.
Lowe said: “We’ve worked hard all week, and the minutes we’ve had on the pitch has benefited us. It’s pleasing to keep the back door shut, but it’s also pleasing to score two goals."
With the Emirates FA Cup third round draw taking place on Monday night, Lowe is, like the rest of the Green Army, hopeful that the club draws a Premier League giant. Whichever number is drawn out of the bag to accompany Argyle, though, the Pilgrims’ manager was keen to point out the importance of reaching the next stage.
He said: “It’ll help us, because we have had no income, and we’ve been lucky with our fans in terms of the season-tickets, any sort of financial help helps us along the way.
“To be in the third round is great – I can’t promise that we get past the third round, depending on who we get, but we do want to get a big team and test ourselves against these big oppositions. Hopefully the draw is kind to us.”
Before any prospective glamour tie in the third round, though, the Greens have the more pressing task of facing Rochdale on Tuesday night – and Lowe’s focus is now firmly on that fixture.
He said: “We’ll have to recover the lads properly now, and have them in over the next two days to do the bits we need to do, the games are coming thick and fast. For us now, it’s work on Rochdale.”