Steven Schumacher

Schumacher's Palace Reaction

Sync Fixtures

‘Job done’ was the message from Steven Schumacher after Argyle beat Crystal Palace Under-18s 1-0 to confirm progression into the next phase of the Papa Johns Trophy.

The Argyle boss declared himself satisfied with a functional performance and a positive result after what was, in truth, a scrappy encounter. It took Niall Ennis’s 90th minute goal to seal the victory, although a draw would have sufficed. The win, though, means Argyle have won the group, and are into the next round for the first time since the competition took on its current format in 1996.

“I’m pleased to get through, first and foremost,” said Schumacher. “We knew what we needed tonight, we need a point, that’s why we went for experience down the middle of the pitch, and youth on the outside.

“It got the job done. It wasn’t pretty; the conditions weren’t easy to play in. We turned the ball over a few too many times. We were rubbish in possession, for the first 55 or 60 minutes, but after that we passed it a bit better.

“I am pleased for Niall Ennis to score. A draw was enough anyway, but Niall keeps his run going.”

Ennis was one of several senior players to come off the bench, with Finn Azaz, Ryan Hardie, Adam Randell and Bali Mumba all being introduced from the bench. Others, such as Dan Scarr, Brendan Galloway, Sam Cosgrove, Matt Butcher and Conor Grant, started the fixture, alongside several young Pilgrims gaining vital experience.

It was great, in particular, to see Grant, who started a game for the first time since April following a lengthy injury lay-off.

“I thought the seniors went about the game well,” said Schumacher. “They defended really well, Scarrsy in particular.

“I thought we were organised with our press and made the goalie kick it all the time, which is meat and drink to Dan Scarr.

“Conor gets an hour, which is good. It will only make him better, and he is getting stronger week-in, week-out.

“There are some positive signs, which is what we said this tournament would be all about.”

Another positive is the simple matter of being in the hat for the next round, and though Schumacher has admitted that Argyle have greater priorities this season, the prospect of going deep in the competition is an appealing one.

“I’m pleased we are in the next round, and it gets exciting now I suppose,” he said.

“You want to keep a winning mentality going, because we are in a great run of form. Today, we’ve won a game with five or six seniors in there, and some came on and did well to see the game out for us. It keeps the winning habit going.

“As we go towards the quarter-final, or the semi-final, if we get there, then I’m sure excitement will start to build because at the end of it is a trip to Wembley. I’d love to go there.”

World Cup at Home Park