Schumacher's Accrington Reaction
Three points, three goals, and three strikers on the scoresheet makes for a trifecta that naturally pleases Argyle boss Steven Schumacher.
Niall Ennis put The Pilgrims in front in the first half at Home Park against Accrington Stanley, with Sam Cosgrove making it 2-0 just after the hour mark, and substitute Ryan Hardie sealing the deal in stoppage time.
It now means that, in all competitions, Hardie has seven goals, Cosgrove five and Ennis four, and all of Argyle’s striking options look in smashing form.
“They are all playing well at the moment,” said Schumacher, “and they complement each other really well. All three have a good relationship, they are playing well and scoring goals.
“I’m really pleased for Ryan Hardie to come and score in the last minute, he deserved his goal. He played well on Tuesday night. All three strikers scored, so it is a really good afternoon.”
It was a good afternoon by 5pm, but for the first 20 minutes or so of the game The Greens felt a bit of pressure as the visitors settled the better, and unsettled the league leaders, who boasted a record of six-out-of-six at home coming into the fixture.
Ennis’s goal, though, changed matters, and after Schumacher’s side got in front, it seemed the long the game went on, the more in command they became.
However, a 3-0 scoreline perhaps suggests an easier afternoon than was actually the case.
“We knew it wasn’t going to be easy before the game started, because Accrington are a good team, ninth in the league,” Schumacher said. “They rank first in the data for passes allowed per defensive action, which means that they are really aggressive with how they press.
“We said to the players that we are going to have to be really at it with the ball, because they are going to come after you. That’s what we did, and we gave the ball away too many times in the first half and I thought Accrington played really well until we scored.
“They score a lot of goals late on, and we expected them to come at us and pose a threat, which they did. If we were ahead and they had to commit bodies forward, we might have chances on the counter-attack, and have an opportunity to be clinical.”
Sendings off tend to be game-changers, and this game had two, one for each side. Confusingly, though, they both came for serious foul play, and both in the same incident, about ten minutes before the interval. Argyle defender Dan Scarr and Stanley captain Seamus Conneely both dived for a loose ball, got little of the football and plenty of each other.
It did seem, though, like two honest, if reckless, challenges. The referee, Neil Hair, sent both men off, which meant each team playing with a man fewer than anticpated for the remainder.
“The sending off was a bit of a strange one.,” said Schumacher. “It spoiled the game slightly, but we’ve done the job and managed to be clinical and ruthless with two goals in the second half and another clean sheet.
“The game became a bit more stretched. We had to go to a back four, and John [Coleman, Accrington manager] slightly changed their shape as well.
“If the referee shows a bit of common sense, he probably books both players because I don’t think there was any malice in it from either player, they both slid along the floor and both missed the ball and collided.”
The win means Argyle have now won four in a row, and have eight wins in unbeaten stretch of nine fixtures. October always looked to be a pivotal month, with eight games to be played in all, but The Pilgrims are three from three, having previously won against Wycombe Wanderers and Sheffield Wednesday.
The week ahead brings a rare midweek without a fixture, which offers a chance to freshen things before a trip to Milton Keynes Dons next Saturday.
Schumacher said: “That was a demanding game, 10 v 10 on a big pitch, so I’m glad we haven’t got a game on Tuesday. We’ll be able to regroup, reset, see how everybody is and prepare for a tough game at MK Dons. Then it is Saturday-Tuesday for the rest of October. It’s a busy month, but it has been a great start to it.”