Schumacher's Portsmouth Reaction
When Portsmouth scored with about ten minutes to go in Saturday’s game at Home Park, to reduce their deficit to 2-1, Steven Schumacher probably thought he had seen the end to this movie before.
Portsmouth have made a habit of scoring dramatic late equalisers against Argyle to create 2-2 draws, but this time, despite sending tall defender Sean Raggett forward and sending balls into Argyle’s area, the Greens held out.
Not only, that Ryan Hardie scored the game’s fourth goal, in injury time, to give Argyle a 3-1 victory that, over the piece, they deserved. The Pilgrims’ 2-0 lead had earlier come via Sam Cosgrove’s first-half strike followed by a cool finish by substitute Finn Azaz.
“I was a bit nervous there for a few minutes, thinking here we go again,” Schumacher told Argyle TV. “It feels like every time we play Pompey, that's what happens.
“They end up launching loads of balls into your box. Raggett comes up and looks like a goal threat. They should start him up front every time they play against us! I was a bit worried, but I thought we played really well. We probably should have scored a couple of more of the chances, but the keeper made a couple of great saves. I'm just glad that we got over the line and got three points that we probably deserved.
“With the two centre forwards on the pitch - Ryan and Sam – and Callum Wright in behind, he's just class, always seems to pick the right pass. Mikel Miller on one wing, who you know was going to create opportunities for people.
“With the energy that we had in the team, I felt we would create chances. I felt in the first half it was probably an even game, but we probably created the clear opportunities. Felt we maybe could have had a penalty, but we didn't get it.
“We ended up going in 1-0, edged it maybe in the first half, and then the second half we started brilliantly, and if we had scored earlier it might have been an easier afternoon, but it took us a while to get the second goal. Then, unfortunately, we conceded from a set play, which makes everyone nervous.
“Ryan took his goal brilliantly for the third one, and it was game over. Thank God!”
Schumacher made eight changes to the starting 11 that began the previous Saturday’s 1-0 defeat at Sheffield Wednesday, but if anyone had questioned that call, a victory was all the justification the boss needed.
“It shows how strong the squad is” he said. “People might have raised a few eyebrows before the game: ‘oh my God, eight changes.’
“Two of them were enforced, in Michael [Cooper] and Dan [Scarr]. There's two changes straight away. The two centre forwards are our leading gold scorers. Mickel Miller is a signing that we've been desperate to get on the pitch.
“I'm not putting people in here who are unproven. Adam Randall's been one of our most consistent players. Whatever team we pick, first and foremost, they give us everything they’ve got.
“I'm comfortable in their ability. Whatever team that we pick, we do it for a reason. I suppose that's what I get paid for.
“Callum Burton was excellent. He deserved a clean sheet. His distribution was good, his decision-making was really good. We are gutted we’ve lost Michael, but we’ve got a brilliant number two, who is now number one.
“Matt Butcher has come in, I thought he was brilliant. I’ve had a couple of tough conversations with him in the last few weeks, saying: ‘you're missing out on the squad, you're not on the bench.’ It really is hard cause he's one of the best trainers at the club.
“His attitude, the way he is around the lads. He's a brilliant professional.
“I’m really pleased for Callum, really pleased for Butch, really pleased for Mickel - and everybody who came into the team.”