Sunderland (A) Foster's Reaction
For 45 minutes at the Stadium of Light, Argyle’s longest trip of the season looked set to be one of the happiest.
The Greens led Sunderland 1-0 at the break via a beautifully taken Ryan Hardie goal, which came towards the end of a first period in which Argyle had plenty of meaningful possession while keeping their play-off-chasing hosts at bay.
After the interval, Sunderland turned the tide, and scored via a Pierre Ekwah free-kick, Jack Clarke’s curled effort and a goal from Jobe Bellingham before the midway point of the second half, essentially putting the game beyond Argyle.
“It was a disappointing second 45 minutes in terms of the manner of the goals we conceded,” said Argyle Head Coach Ian Foster. “We're disappointed with the manner of the goals.
“The set play is a disappointing one because the players haven't done what we've asked them to do in those moments. For the second one, we're disappointed that the referee hasn't allowed Adam Forshaw to come back onto the pitch.
“Overall, I'm proud of the group in terms of their efforts and their application. We just need to get better in individual moments, because big teams and big players will punish you.
“It was an outstanding first half; I thought we were excellent. I thought we showed bravery in possession. I thought it was a really effective and disciplined away performance.
“There's plenty of things for us to look at, in terms of the positives in the game, and loads for us to build on. We have to learn from the mistakes that ultimately cost us. We'll do that; we'll review the game on Monday with the group and then we'll make sure that we're ready for Coventry on Wednesday.”
Argyle’s home game against Coventry is the first of three in a row at Home Park, in a seven-day period. All come against sides in the top half, with promotion ambitions.
Those games will contain more packed houses at the Theatre of Greens. Meanwhile, at Sunderland, 1,200 of the Green Army backed their side throughout, in what is the joint-longest trip in the EFL this season.
Foster shared his admiration for the travelling fans. “[The away support], it's incredible,” he said. “I'm sure they were on buses at 3.30 in the morning, which is a fabulous effort from them all. Trust me, the staff and the players respect them and their efforts. It's a valiant effort to come all this way.
“I'm just disappointed they didn't have more to shout about in the second half, but they stayed behind and clapped the players off, which is fantastic.
“Coventry, Leeds and West Bromwich Albion will be really difficult games. Coventry City are flying, so are Leeds United and so are West Bromwich Albion, so it'll be a really challenging and really testing time for us, but they are games that we embrace, games we look forward to.
“The players and staff that were here last year have earned the right to have these games at Home Park. We’re all certain that the crowd will get behind us and we look forward to them."