Schumacher's Morecambe Reaction
The weather was the big talking topic heading into Saturday’s game against Morecambe at Home Park. The playing surface, and manager Steven Schumacher, were both under it.
The sub-zero temperatures during the week made getting the pitch playable by 3pm on Saturday became a serious task, but a sterling effort by Chris Ralph and his hard-working ground staff meant the game passed inspection from referee Tom Reeves, and went ahead.
Schumacher was not feeling 100%, and had his side not broken down the visiting Shrimps, who came to Home Park bottom of the Sky Bet League One table, his seasonal sniffles would have been compounded by frustration as Argyle seemingly could not break Morecambe down, even having a Morgan Whittaker penalty in the first half saved by the outstanding Connor Ripley in the Morecambe goal.
Eventually, Morecambe were breached, and it was no more than Argyle deserved. In a game in which the Greens created 32 shots, a goal by Niall Ennis 20 minutes from time put Argyle ahead, and a second from Sam Cosgrove soothed residual nerves.
They probably returned a little when former Pilgrim Anthony O’Connor got one back in stoppage time, but the 2-1 scoreline, and the three points, were fully warranted.
“I thought we played really well,” Schumacher told Argyle TV after the game. “We played some nice football and created loads of chances: over 30 shots on goal. We probably should have taken more to make it more comfortable, but I felt overall it was a good day, a professional performance, because we knew it wasn’t going to be easy. The way Morecambe play can be frustrating.
“We said to players that we had to be patient. It might take until the 70th or 80th minute to get the goal, but as long as we keep trying to do the right thing we will be fine.
“Some of the football, especially in the first half, was excellent. It was nice to have Danny [Mayor] back, it gives us an option to attack on both sides of the pitch.
“Thankfully, we stuck to the plan, Niall slotted one in, and Sam Cosgrove made another impact from the bench.
“I always felt we were going to get the goal. I wasn’t too nervous that it wasn’t going to happen. I was more relieved when we got the second. At 1-0, we needed a cushion, as it proved. They produced a nice piece of quality at the end and scored to make the past couple of minutes more nervy than it should have been.”
The result, coupled with Ipswich’s 1-0 defeat against Wycombe Wanderers, meant Argyle returned to the summit of League One following a brief spell in second place.
With one more game before getting to the halfway stage of the campaign, the Pilgrims have 47 points on the board from 22 fixtures, and that is with just three points coming from the last four games.
“The lads played well, I am delighted we got three points and are top of the league for Christmas Day,” said the manager.
“Getting on to 47 points before the halfway stage is an incredible amount of points. The lads have done fantastically and deserve loads of credit. We needed to win today, as with the few tough away games we have had and the last performance here which wasn’t great, the win was the most important thing.
“I’m delighted that it is over. We’ve won a good game. It’s freezing cold. I’m sick. But we’re top of the league.”