A Round-up of Argyle News
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Greens on Screen's Daily Diary is a compilation of Argyle news, with help from these and other Argyle-related sites.
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Also included on the three most recent days, facts from Argyle's history.
Argyle's under 18's secured their first Football League Youth Alliance Cup victory by beating Torquay 2-1 after coming from a goal behind. Torquay opened the scoring with a Jordan Campbell goal in the 22nd minute. Louis Rooney equalised for Argyle in the second half, within 90 seconds of coming off the bench. River Allen secured the win with a free kick 5 minutes from the final whistle. The youngsters now have four points from their two cup matches with two group games still to play against Bristol Rovers and Newport County. Argyle: Hannah, Sargent, Hall, Allen, Summers, Purrington, Wheatley (Rooney), Miller, Stark (Palfrey), Lane, Hutchinson. Substitutites (not used): Bently, McHale.
Argyle and fans alike have been saddened to hear of the death of former Argyle director Ken Jones. Ken, 82, passed away over the weekend. Ken was a director of the club between 1998-2001, an Associate Director since then, and Argyle all his life. As well as serving on the Board, he was, at various times, an active member of the Plymouth Argyle Supporters Training and Development Trust, the Senior Greens, and the Plymouth Argyle Supporters Club. He was the force behind the establishment of the first Plymouth Argyle ladies team and, for many years, was involved with supporters' travel arrangements to away games.
In Argyle's five home fixtures in the league this year, they have managed just two goals: 1-0 wins over Rochdale and Bristol Rovers. Frustrating for everyone: for the players, the fans and, indeed, the manager, who spoke out about the team's lack of goals immediately post-Stanley. "The game should have been over at half time," said John Sheridan, "but we haven't taken our chances and we've made life difficult. The game was there if we wanted it, but we made very hard work of it. The game was more difficult than it should have been. I didn't think we got going in the second half, we've had good chances to score goals, and I mean good chances. If you take your chances and score goals, the outcome of the game is different and I think the performance would be different. It's a big downer because we haven't taken them. There's a lot of pressure on us now. We're not scoring goals and we're not winning games. People are getting very agitated. We've got to accept that it wasn't good enough. When you get a chance only two minutes into the game, you've got to bury that. I don't blame people for missing chances. You don't dwell on it, but it's ended with us not winning the game. Everyone's getting a bit ratty, including myself, because we want to win. I can't fault the players' effort – I think they put a lot of effort in – but it's not all about effort. It's about know-how and awareness." Due to the dearth of goals, Sheridan gave an indication that he may be looking at making notable alterations ahead of a big couple of weeks for Argyle. The Pilgrims travel to Devon neighbours Exeter City next weekend, followed by the first visit of dockyard rivals Portsmouth to Home Park in the football league for more than two decades. The starting line-up has remained largely unaltered over the past few games, and there are signs showing that this may not be the case for very much longer. "I'm picking the same players," said John. "I believe in them to score goals, but we're not are we? We created lots of chances last week and we created good chances today. But we're not burying them. Two blanks. And we all know if you don't score, you won't win games. It's a big problem at the moment. I'm trying to put belief in the players. I'm sticking up for them and trying to be on their side. But my patience is slowly going. We all want to win football matches. We need to start hitting the back of the net. Usually in this league, if you score the first goal, you win the game. Is it time for change? That's something I've really got to look at now. Am I losing patience? Well we're not winning games and we're not scoring goals. It might be time for big change to give people an opportunity to show me. There are one or two probably thinking 'When am I going to get a game?' Whether I bring people in, or throw in one or two that are already here, I'll look at that and think about it this week."
Paul Wotton has impressed John Sheridan on making his return to the starting lineup after injury. "I play him because he gives us experience and he gets on people's backs," said John, "but he's the only one I do hear talking. We need three or four of them on the pitch. Any side that's going to go anywhere needs them. We accept a lot of things on the football pitch, and we just let them go by. You can hear Wottsy – he's a talker and an organiser, and I thought he did well for his first game back."
Argyle have drawn 0-0 with Accrington Stanley in another frustrating goalless game for the greens. This is Argyle's first draw of the season and first since March the 12th, also a 0-0 at home to Bradford. Argyle: McCormick, Nelson, Wotton, Reckord, Alessandra (Gurrieri), Bencherif (Young), Hourihane, Boco, Reid, Morgan, Reid (Harvey). Unused subs: Cole, Blackman, Trotman, Blanchard.
Argyle are still looking for solutions to the lack of goals they have been scoring and John Sheridan admits that young Tyler Harvey may soon be due a start in a competitive match. Harvey has not scored yet for the first team this season in severell cameo appearances but has a very good record in friendly games and under 21 games as part of a development eleven. With strikers failing to fire, Sheridan hinted that the time to turn to Harvey may be soon: "He's scoring goals in the reserves and they are winning games, so he's not doing himself any harm. We all know what his pedigree is. I still think he has got a lot to learn in his game, but he's a confident lad and when he gets a chance in and around the box he will try to score goals. I have spoken to him and he has just got to keep pushing and pushing, and when his chance comes he has got to take it with both hands. He has got really good attributes to his game and he's scoring goals. We are not scoring goals and not winning matches. There are people itching for a game. It's up to me whether I change things and move everyone around, and give players opportunities. That's something I will decide and, hopefully, whatever decision I make we go on and win the game."
Owner James Brent today spoke of how he plans to repay the debt that he inherited from the club coming out of administration. Brent spoke about his plans to balance the issues of sticking to budget but remaining competitive until such a time as the new stand is built and the club has more of an opportunity to make its own money. Brent explained: "The income coming into the club will increase quite materially over the next couple of years. We will sort out the legacy debts as quickly as possible. There is no-one keener than me that would like to see us with not a penny of debt. The rest of the football creditor debt was owed to previous players, but over quite a period of time. "Clearly, they were on high Championship wages rather than League Two wages so it built up quickly. There is quite a large number of players. There was a big squad and all of them were due wages over quite a period of time. Clearly, some people left during that period, and some were higher paid than others. If you look at the structure off the pitch, some clubs are what I call Conference-League Two bounce. They tend to have quite a high proportion of volunteers doing quite a lot of work. Then there are the fallen angels who have aspirations to get back up to where they fell from. Argyle are very much in that category I hope. We have been conscious not to shrink our overhead to a position where it would inhibit our ability to get back up to where we would like to be. Finances are tight, and they are very tight across the Football League. I think the disproportionate allocation of wealth away from the lower leagues to the Premier League in particular is well documented, and it's tough for all." He also confirmed a similar payment method for the repayment of the loan to the club from the Argyle Supporters Training and Development Trust: "It's being paid off over a five-year period with modest interest."
Argyle have won their very first match in the inaugural Under-21 Premier League Cup, running out 2-1 winners over AFC Bournemouth at the Goldsands Stadium. A goal from Andres Gurrieri put Argyle into the lead early in the first half, with Harry Cornick soon equalizing for Bournemouth. Josh Carmichael was sent off for Bournemouth after picking up a second yellow card for a foul on Tyler Harvey, who scored what was to be the winning goal from the resultant free-kick. Argyle will now face a home tie to either Watford or Bristol Rovers. Argyle: Cole, Nelson (Sakyi), Blanchard, Richards, Purrington, Lane, Young, Blizzard, Gurrieri, Vassell, Harvey. Substitutes (not used): Wheatley, Allen, Hutchinson, Hannah.
Reuben Reid has admitted that goalscoring is a problem for an Argyle side who have only scored 6 goals in 8 league games so far this season, with just four of those coming in open play. Whilst Argyle's build up play is going well, Reid acknowledges that the cutting edge needs serious improvement: "It's got to change quickly if we are going to progress in the league. We've had a lot of possession in the final third but we have failed to create goalscoring chances, in my opinion. It was a much improved performance but, at the end of the day, we have not scored again. We played a lot better, got in the final third, and had good possession in the final third, but we're just not doing the final bit for the strikers, or whoever. You don't have to be a striker to score. It could be one of the oncoming midfielders or wingers – 'Go on – there you go: you've got a free shot.' It's still early doors. We have got to find that consistency."
John Sheridan called Argyle's 1-0 defeat at Scunthorpe "soul destroying" after watching his side fail to score for the second successive match, despite a display which was much improved on the previous loss to Wycombe Wanderers. "You need to score goals to win football matches and we haven't scored," said John, "but we've had chances and to come away with nothing is soul destroying. I think we really deserved something out of the game. We should have won the game, in my eyes anyway. We played well enough to win the game. It was a big improvement and I felt the game was definitely there to take. I didn't see us losing the game, but we have ended up losing it. We're all down in the dumps." Happy with the actual performance, he continued: "The performance was really good. We were the away team and we caused Scunthorpe lots of problems. We had good opportunities in and around the final third and, if we had used the final ball better and made decisions better, we could have won comfortably. We created lots of chances and balls into the box but just didn't get that break; Scunthorpe got a break for their goal, but I think that was down to Ejasas. He reacted well enough. The goal is disappointing. Again, people standing off people in our penalty box should never happen; people getting time and space to pass the ball when we could have got a bit tighter. When balls are going in and bouncing around in the opposition penalty box, I expect people to react. You have got to react quickly – it might be a little tap-in that wins you the game. We had some good opportunities to score goals, but we haven't. Performance-wise, it was very good, but we've lost. I've got to accept that. It's hard to take it." Argyle now return to Home Park looking to get back to winning ways against rock-bottom Accrington next week, and hopefully get on a roll to take them out of mid-table. John said: "There was a big improvement in the performance and we have got to take that into the game next week. We passed and moved the ball, but it's another defeat and we have got to win games if we want to be at the other end of the table. You can get on a run and get yourself in a healthy position. I don't think there's anything between the top and the bottom. We have just got to stick together. I can take some heart from the performance but the result is very hard to take."
After having two goals ruled out by the match officials and another penalty claim denied, Reuben Reid has been reflecting on the missed opportunity at Scunthorpe yesterday. Reuben said: "I'm going to have to watch the first on video and I think the second was a perfectly good goal. I looked at the linesman and he wasn't flagging, so I think the ref's given it. He gestured with his hands that I pushed the defender in the back. I'll have a look on the video. It would have been nice to score another goal. We would have been 1-0 up and obviously goals change matches. I was very disappointed that goal wasn't allowed to stand. Perhaps, if my goal, which I think is legitimate, stays and is not ruled out, maybe we go on to win the three points." As for the penalty appeal, Reuben said: "It goes around. In the game we won against Bristol Rovers, we had two stonewall penalties against us – one's hit Marvin's hand and one's hit me on the face which has clipped my hand on the way through. When things happen at speed during the game, it's hard for the referee. It was another decision which could have gone our way. If it is a penalty, I will always put my hand up to take it. I'm that sort of character."
Argyle could not turn plenty of possession into any goals as they lost 1-0 in an end-to-end game at Scunthorpe. It was a hard to take defeat for Argyle, who created some good chances but could not convert any of them. Striker Reuben Reid twice had the ball in the Scunthorpe net but both attempts were disallowed. The only goal of the match came in the 62nd minute when a shot from Winnall was blocked by Berry and the ball broke to Esajas who fired it past McCormick from six yards out. Argyle: McCormick, Berry, Trotman, Branston, Reckord, Alessandra, Bencherif (Nelson), Hourihane, Morgan (Harvey), Boco, Reid. Substitutes (not used): Cole, Blackman, Blanchard, Wotton, Gurrieri.
Durrell Berry has joined a string of Argyle players expressing their optimism for bouncing back from the Wycombe game and recent negative results. Argyle have responded to all three of their previous losses this season with much improved performances and Berry is sure that this will not break the trend. Berry: "I'm expecting a good reaction from the lads. We didn't get a good result last Saturday. Obviously, we all know that and we are all disappointed. Hopefully, we can go to Scunthorpe and get three points. We know they are going to press us high up the pitch, like most teams do in League Two. Basically, we have just got to be ready for what they throw at us. It's always good to try to bounce back after a defeat."
Meanwhile, John Sheridan has not ruled out the possibility of changes to the Argyle eleven after making it quite clear that the players out of the side were training and playing to impress. Sheridan said: "Everyone's fit, I've got a big squad to pick from. Everyone is fighting for places. I have made that clear in training all week. There are opportunities if I change my team for individuals to come in and, hopefully, help us get back to winning ways. I watched the reserves' game, I have watched training all week and then I will pick my team on Saturday." He also confirmed however, that there would not be wholesale changes being made: "I won't be changing much. I will stick to my beliefs and the way I want to go and the way that will be successful in this division. I don't change the way we are going to play week in, week out. I tell the players the same old thing: 'Go out; be positive; express yourself; don't be frightened of making mistakes; get on the ball; move the ball when you have to; put balls in the box when you have to; and defend.' I try to make my instructions simple, but sometimes we make them look difficult."
Injured Argyle forwaerd Matt Lecointe has put his faith in his teammates ability to drag the club out of trouble in their upcoming games after the shaky start to the season. The Plymouth born 18 year old also explained how it feels to watch from the sidelines from the perspective of a fan as well as a player. Lecointe said: "It's frustrating for the players, so I can understand how the supporters feel when things aren't going right on the pitch and I know just how good this team is. I'm a fan, too, so it's doubly frustrating. Honestly, I really believe it's only a matter of time before they kick on and start turning in the level of performance we all want and know the players are capable of. I just wish I was able to get on there and help, but instead I've got to bide my time. When I'm watching from the stands, I try to stay detached and look at performances clinically." He went on to say how he hopes to get the all clear to play football again before the end of the season, in the knowledge that his contract expires this coming June: "I try and stay positive, but it's quite scary as realistically it would be a bonus if I was passed fit to play before the end of the season. I see guys who I was in the youth team with at Argyle and they are now out of football, while I had visions of pushing for a first-team place this year. Hopefully, my time will come again and if I keep working hard I'll be rewarded."
After playing in the development match against Exeter yesterday, Andres Gurrieri is hoping his performance opens the door to a regular first team slot. "The weather was not the best for a game, but I enjoyed it," He said. "It was very windy, it's getting colder, but it was a good game. It is always nice to have a few minutes to get fitter and have some time with the ball. It is always a good opportunity to show to the manager that you are ready to get into the team. I was trying to do my best and do the right things, because you never know what the manager is thinking. You have to be professional and not be sloppy because if you go out without the right attitude and the manager is looking, then he will see that." Gurrieri was one of a number of Argyle players to catch the eye in yesterday's 3-1 win. Sheridan was there to witness it, but it remains to be seen whether the 24-year-old winger did enough to warrant inclusion at Glanford Park this weekend. "After a defeat, the manager is possibly thinking about changes. I don't know, but you have to be ready," the former Burton Albion player added. "You never know what is coming, you just have to make sure you are ready for the game, so you should always go out and impress the manager. I thought we played very well and moved the ball. If we play like this with the right attitude, then I think any of us can be in the first team." Argyle head to Scunthorpe looking to get the League Two setback against Wycombe out of their system. "After a defeat like that, I think there is always a reaction. But we are always trying to do the right thing," he said. "Even if we win, we don't go to training all relaxed because we have to try and improve. One win or two wins is not enough. We have to just work very hard to come back after the defeat we had last Saturday, do the right things and try to win. It's an away game and it will be a tough game, but we have to go there and try and get the points." Looking ahead to the weekend, Gurrieri added: "I know nothing about Scunthorpe! I do know it is a long way from Plymouth and we will have a long, long journey! It is a good opportunity to forget what happened last weekend and recover and give the fans a good win. It was a tough defeat at home last week and hopefully we can put things right."
Argyle have beaten an Exeter eleven 3-1 in another development match, this time at Exeter's training ground. The game which is vastly becoming a regular occurrence for Argyle was played behind closed doors and the full squad was not disclosed. Argyle took the lead through a Max Blanchard header and Tyler Harvey scored another goal from the penalty spot to make it 2-0. An own goal from Exeter fill-back Conor Riley-Lowe completed Argyle's goals before a late Exeter penalty got them a consolation.
John Sheridan has commented on Argyle's home and away form so far this season. Wins by a single goal over Rochdale and Bristol Rovers have been sandwiched between disappointing displays against Fleetwood Town and now Wycombe Wanderers. Away from Home Park, fortunes have been arguably slightly better. Despite two league defeats, at Southend and Morecambe, Argyle have looked able to break teams down and threaten more often when on the road. "We might be a better away team," said John. "When you're at home, the crowd expect you to dictate how the game's going, and sometimes when it's not going the way you want it to go some people don't affect the game the way they should do. Maybe they can hear a shout from the supporters, but that's part and parcel of football. Grow up and be strong."
John Sheridan made a public apology to the Green Army in the immediate aftermath of the Pilgrims' 3-0 Home Park defeat by Wycombe Wanderers. "I apologise to the supporters," he said. "I expect a lot better, and definitely expect a lot more fight. Once the first goal went in, we just went under. That's what's disappointed me more than anything else." Sam Wood broke a deadlocked game in the 70th minute with a 30-yard strike and, within five minutes, Dean Morgan, who played under Sheridan at Chesterfield, made it 2-0. An injury-time third by Billy Knott completed a miserable afternoon for home supporters. "As a manger, I don't think I've lost many games to that sort of scoreline," said John. "There was a lot of belief before the game that we could win it and I expected a lot better. It's a shame that we came out with nothing and a poor display. There's no excuse. I'm not making excuses. Training's been brilliant all week. I can't fault the way we train. It's down to the players at the end of the day when they go onto the pitch. It was a poor first goal to concede. We were probably on top of the game at the time. The first half was evenly matched. For the second half, we came out and, for 15-20 minutes, we were probably the better team but, once the goal went in, we went to pieces. I'm struggling to explain myself because I just didn't see it coming. It was a frustrating afternoon. Wycombe came to frustrate us and, full credit to them, they did what they had to do. They have had three shots and scored three goals. I don't think Luke's really saved anything. Sometimes I have to say to myself 'Take it on the chin – you weren't good enough to win, to get anything out of the game' and I have just got to accept it sometimes. Probably the better team won on the day."
While some might have expected the John Sheridan to berate his players after the heavy loss to Wycombe, he insists his approach was more tactile – though he is refusing to hide his disappointment. "I haven't had a go at them," he said. "I don't think it's the time to have a go. But I'm very, very, very upset. I don't expect us to lose 3-0 at home. We've been in a decent position and have been on a decent run. This is me: dour. And I'll be dour until I know what we've done and then I'll have a big smile on my face and have a drink. At the moment, I'm up and down. I've got to stay focused because I know that we could go on a run and win four or five games. At the same time, I know we could lose four or five." Sat next to Sheridan on the bench was Paul Wotton and John praised Wottsy's ability to view a game, and expressed his wish that he could find a few more brains to join his squad and positively influence a game. Perhaps they will be brought in; perhaps they can be nurtured. All John knows is that they are needed. He said: "Sometimes they are a bit single-minded in what they've got to do on the pitch. I've said before – and he's 36 – but, as a player Wotton sees things on the pitch, and how we're expressing ourselves on the pitch or if the opposition are causing problems for us. He gets a grip of players around and I think he's the only player that does that. Some people may think they see it and do it, but they don't. That's not a criticism of them, but we need to get a few on the pitch. When someone's having a tough time and doing the wrong thing on the pitch, it needs a whisper or a quiet word from someone to tell him 'Stop doing that' and make the game look simple. But it seems to be me from the sideline all the time at the moment."
After a dismal performance against Wycombe Wanderers at Home Park this afternoon, ending in a comprehensive 3-0 defeat, manager John Sheridan apologised to home fans. Argyle: McCormick, Berry, Trotman, Branston, Reckord, Alessandra (Harvey), Hourihane, Bencherif (Gurrieri), Boco, Reid, Morgan (Blackman). Unused subs: Cole, Blanchard, Wotton, Nelson.
Since his appointment as Argyle manager, John Sheridan has largely increased the number of development squad games that take place to give the players who do not start in the first team some match practice. The man himself today spoke of their usefulness in keeping back-up players fresh and prepared. Sheridan said: "It's important that we get players games time, especially for those who haven't played on Saturday. There's nothing worse than training all week and then not playing on Saturday so it's important that we arrange games and keep them on their toes. It doesn't matter who it is against – it's just getting them football and keeping them nice and bright. It's going to be a squad game throughout the season – I've said that to the players who aren't in the team; they're going to be needed somewhere along the line and I want them to be ready."
Paul Wotton has spoken of his happiness at the quick healing of an injury that has not been as bad as first feared as well as praising the role of Performance Manager John Harbin in his recovery. Wotton said: "It has gone okay. It was four weeks when I joined back in with full contact training. It was quite a quick healing process, and I have been working hard with John Harbin anyway. My fitness is okay, but you need games. It was good to get a run-out at Torquay. "I felt fine after the game. I'm running fit but I'm not match fit. They are two different things. It was a chance to open my lungs up, and the first half was a decent standard. The second half fizzled out a bit. We had a strong team out, to be fair, but everyone showed a good attitude. You don't always get that in reserve games so it was pleasing."
Tickets for the Devon Expressway Derby at Exeter City on October 5th go on sale to full club members tomorrow. Tickets will be allocated to white and pilgrim members at a later date and members are only permitted one ticket per membership.
Tickets for the first league Dockyard Derby for more than 21 years have now gone on sale. Portsmouth visit Home Park next month in the league for the first time since their 3-2 defeat on New Year's Day 1992. The game, on Saturday, October 12, is being shown live on Sky TV and kicks off at 12.15pm. Tickets are now available from the Home Park Ticket office, or online.
One of the most successful Argyle sides of recent years will be reunited for the first time in more than a decade when Paul Sturrock hosts a charity event. The weekend will begins on Saturday September 28th with the title-winners returning to Home Park for a lap of honour, the day Argyle take on Accrington Stanley. That evening, the old boys will be guests of honour at a Gala Dinner at the Eliot House Hotel, Liskeard. On Sunday, the players will take on Liskeard Athletic in a match at the Cornish club's Lux Park ground. The final line-up is still being put together, but Paul Wotton, Romain Larrieu, Brian McGlinchey, Jon Beswetherick, Ian Stonebridge, Lee Hodges, Michael Evans, Steve Adams, Joe Broad, Kevin Wills and Martin Gritton are among those who have already confirmed their attendance. All profits from the weekend will be donated to Liskeard Athletic.
An Argyle eleven today beat a Torquay United development eleven 2-0 in a friendly game at Plainmoor. The Argyle side was made up entirely on professionals and the game was decided by two Tyler Harvey goals just after half-time with one coming from the penalty spot. Argyle: Cole, Blanchard, Wotton (Asumadu-Sayki), Richards, Purrington (Lane), Gurrieri, Young (Hutchinson),Nelson (Allen), Blackman, Vassell (Wheatley), Harvey. Unused Sub: Hannah.
Argyle's agents fees have dramatically reduced this season to below the average for this division. They have gone from being the side that paid the third most on agents fees (£28,005 on 42 transactions) in the 2011/12 season to only the tenth most last season (£16,500 on 48 transactions). Chief Executive Martyn Starnes has been quoted as saying: "Argyle paid £16,500 in agents fees, well below the average for the division of £28,085. We will always endeavour to negotiate the best terms we can in order to secure the services of a particular player. The fees we paid to agents last season are not excessive and we will look to continue that trend this season. Agents can be very influential with the players they represent and the clubs for which they sign. We cannot ignore this reality in football. It is important we engage with certain agents and remain willing to pay reasonable fees in order to attract the type of players to Home Park that will bring success on the pitch."
In the first round of the new Under-21 Premier League Cup that has been introduced for youth development sides this season, Argyle have been drawn against Bournemouth away. The game will take place on Tuesday September 23rd and the winners will face the winner of the tie between Watford and Bristol Rovers.
After Argyle were drawn to play Swindon Town away in the second round of the Johnstone's Paint Trophy, it has been announced that the tie will take place on Tuesday, October 8, kick-off 7.45pm. Tickets for the tie at the Country Ground will be priced at £10 for adults and £5 for concessions.
After developing the habit of starting well, only to fade in the second half, Argyle had the opposite scenario in the 1-0 win over Bristol Rovers. "We've changed it around today," said John Sheridan. "I thought we were slow first half and picked up second half. I don't think we played well first half. We need to get out and hit the ground running, especially when we're at home and we need to get the crowd going, because we know they'll support us if we get them going. I thought it was important to get off to a quick start. Rovers had a big derby game in the week that they worked very hard in. I thought we were a bit flat, but I don't think they really had any chances. We just didn't really get going. I expect a lot better. We were just too direct and didn't make openings. Luke McCormick was getting it and everyone was turning their backs and expecting him to just kick it." The notable change at half-time was a shift in shape, rather than personnel. Argyle shifted from a 4-4-2 system to a more fluid 4-2-3-1, with Marvin Morgan asked to play down the left. In turn, Rommy Boco played in the 'hole' behind Reid. This, plus Sheridan's words at half-time, made the difference. "I told them to express themselves a bit more," John continued. "I changed it around. I just thought the two strikers weren't getting much joy against their two big centre-halves. I think that's what changed the game, really. I moved Marvin out to the left, and I think Rommy caused problems in the middle, getting in those little areas, and you could see their two centre-halves didn't really want to come out. He's good in there. And I thought Marvin was a handful on the left. He puts a shift in. We just got them on the back foot. I think, once we scored the goal, you could see the confidence in the way we played. I think we played at a much better tempo in the second half. If we play at that tempo, we'll win games. You could see the difference in the second half. We had enthusiasm and a will to win, and the crowd got behind us. We retained the ball for longer in their half of the pitch. We did even the littlest things, like Luke throwing the ball out to Durrell and we start playing from the back a bit more and stretching the game. It enables my attacking players to get more informed in the game. I think we deserved to win the game in the second half, although I thought Rovers were the better side in the first half. The most pleasing thing is the result. I thought it was important that we got the three points. With two successive home games, we're looking to get maximum points. Full credit to the players after disappointment last week."
John Sheridan was pleased with Reuben's third goal of the season, but was also happy with the contribution by Conor Hourihane, which ultimately resulted in the breakthrough. "I'm pleased Ruben got the goal," said John. "But the delivery was what made the goal. There were three or four deliveries from Conor today. I think we've been very good with deliveries this season, Conor especially. We're working hard and it's important that we score goals from corners and set-plays. The delivery was a great ball and Reuben's there at the right place at the right time. At the end of the day, it's about the delivery and who wants to score the goal and attack it. Sometimes there are too many people wanting the same ball. You've got to attack it in different areas. I think we've been a handful and a threat. We give the players four or five set plays before we go out, and we work on them in training. I like players to see the situation and do what feels right. When there's a short corner on, do it. I thought it was on today a few times. We've got good people. Hamza Bencherif can attack it; Neal Trotman's very good in the box; Marvin Molrgan and Reuben are there, too. I don't just want to be the type of manager that relies on set plays," said John, "but you can get goals from them and pick up points. There are teams that have got out of this league before, picking up 15-20 points from scoring goals from set-lays. It's vitally important." John was also, as you would imagine, buoyed by the fact that Argyle kept a clean sheet for the second home game running, having also won 1-0, against Rochdale, in the previous Home Park outing. He said: "It's always a good habit to keep clean sheets. It's pleasing for the defenders and the 'keeper, they get the rewards and we win the game. You've got to guard and scrap for it, but you need clean sheets. I've said before, we will score goals."
Argyle recorded their second consecutive 1-0 home victory today against Bristol Rovers. Reuben Reid scored the only goal of the game from a Conor Hourihane cross in the 81st minute leaving Argyle with a record of 3 wins, no draws and 3 defeats from the opening six games. Argyle: McCormick, Berry, Branston, Trotman, Reckord, Alessandra, Bencherif (Young), Hourihane, Boco, Morgan, Reid. Unused subs: Cole, Blanchard, Gurrieri, Blackman, Harvey, Blizzard.
Hamza Bencherif has spoken with happiness about his debut goal at Cheltenham and his all round start to his Argyle career. As well as sharing his delight with his positive first week at the club, box to box midfielder Bencherif has explained how his goal at Whaddon Road came about and explained his versatility as a player. The Algerian said: "A friendly game last week; a few training sessions; a full 90 minutes on Tuesday: even though it is hard on the body, you feel good about it because, as a professional footballer, that's what you want to do. That's what I wanted. Once you miss pre-season training, you really miss football. You can't imagine how much. I'm always happy to score. It was a very good free-kick, a good delivery. Credit to Reuben, who, literally two seconds before the free-kick, told me 'Just get in the middle of the goal'. I ran in towards where he told me to go and scored." He went on: I have played centre-back a few times in my career. It's been a long time and I quite like it so it was no problem, but it was hard and the goals we conceded were a bit cheap. Hopefully we'll sort that before Saturday. I think we will do really well on Saturday. Team spirit is spot-on. I think we made it hard on ourselves and we could have finished the game more comfortably. Apart from that, we have got the quality in the team to do well. Once we sort out those little dysfunctions, we can look forward to performing and try to play for the top of the league. The manager has shown me his plans – we see eye to eye – and it's a great club to be at. If I am called to play, or to come on – whatever part I'll take on Saturday – I will make sure I will be there and give it everything."
John Sheridan has stated that he believes that Andre Blackman can continue to be a very useful player for Argyle on the left hand side of midfield. After playing at left-back for Argyle's first three games, he has since played entirely in the left midfield position. Sheridan praised his performance at Cheltenham: "I thought Andre did well on Tuesday night. I played him further up the pitch and I think he has got that in his locker. He can get at people and he's a threat. It would have been a wonder goal had he scored in the last minute. His workrate was a lot better."
FOR the last few games, John Sheridan's major gripe with his Plymouth Argyle side has been the lack of second-half performance. After an amazing game in the Johnstone's Paint Trophy at Cheltenham Town, there were echoes of those feelings, but surely not as strong as before. "I didn't like it ending up the way it did," said John, referring to letting a two-goal cushion slip-away. "I'd like to see the game be a little bit easier. You make things hard for yourself from 3-1 up. I'd like my team to be in control of the game and dominate. I think we should be talking control of the game. We were in comfortable position. The game shouldn't have ended 3-3. We're though, anyway. We scored three goals again. I look at the negative things, and we are conceding too many soft goals for my liking. But I'm not going to be hard on the players. I thought it was a good effort. We created chances, and – full credit to Cheltenham – they tried to play as well. We have a sending-off and they get back in it with the penalty; they've worked hard to get in the game. But I think we deserved to win." There were five changes from the Argyle line-up that started in the 2-1 defeat at Morecambe three days previous and John was pleased with the contribution of everyone who stepped in, but singled out Blackman, who started the game on the left side of midfield for the first time in an Argyle jersey, and gave his marker numerous headaches throughout. "I think Andre did well tonight," said John. "I played him further up the pitch. I think he's got that in his locker; he can get at people and he's a threat. His work-rate and work ethic was a lot better tonight. It was his opportunity because of circumstances and the competition. I thought I'd throw one or two people in and I don't think anyone let themselves down. I wanted to give players a game tonight, give them a bit of football time. The most important thing is the league programme, and I would have liked to have played one or two more, but the sending-off didn't help. I was thinking about putting Youngy, Andres or Tyler on, just to save one or two's legs. That's why I took Reuben off, really. Previous times when I've had a man sent off, I've gone 4-3-2; I've never gone 4-4-1. But it worked out alright." Sheridan is looking forward to the next round draw, "It's nice to be in the next round," said John, "no matter what the cup and how we've done it. I thought our penalties were very good. The lads picked who wanted to take them and when, so it was down to them. If anyone is confident enough to take one, I won't stop them. We're doing alright with penalties so far, so hopefully that will carry on."
Jake Cole is enjoying being the hero in the penalty shootout which saw Argyle through to the next round of the Johnstone's Paint Trophy last night. "I fancy myself on penalties whenever I'm up against them," said Cole after the game. "I saved one in the game, it's a just a shame the guy's managed to get the rebound. I look forward to penalties, to be honest. You can be a hero. I'm just happy we got through it. Our record in penalties hasn't been good, but it's good to be through. It's nice to be part of a winning team. I dived to the right in the four previous, trying to plant a seed in their head that from the first penalty I'd dive right, and after the second one, I thought one would change their mind and go that side. The next couple ended up going right and it didn't work out. So, I changed the last one and it worked." Jake also acknowledged the continuing battle to keep goal for Argyle that he is having with Luke McCormick this season, and had some positive words for the five Argyle players who stepped up to take penalties – all of whom were successful. "They did very, very well," he said. "That's what we need to see – the ball being smashed into the net. Even if the 'keeper's getting a touch on it he can't keep it out. Very nice to see that. I always enjoy when I play and I just want to play well. That's the only thing on my mind when I get an opportunity; just to play well for me and the team. It's a good standard of goalkeeper at the club. Luke's been excellent and I've been pleased with myself. We work well together and get on really well. That can only be a good thing."
Marvin Morgan began Tuesday evening on the Plymouth Argyle substitutes' bench at Cheltenham Town but, before the night was over, he would make a telling contribution by scoring the decisive penalty. "I was actually quite nervous," Marvin said, of the Whaddon Road shoot-out. "Normally I'm so cool with penalties. I'm happy it went in. A win, however you do it, is what you want. It's good for the Plymouth fans, for those that travel, a bit of excitement with the six goals and a penalty shoot-out. The reason why Reuben took the penalty at home to Rochdale was that he hadn't scored yet. So when we got one at Morecambe, he asked me if I wanted the penalty. I said there was no way I was taking them off him when he'd already scored one. 'Keep it going, and when you miss, I'll take them'. Coming off the bench, even if you are winning 5-0 or losing 5-0, it's difficult to get up to match tempo. You can be the fittest lad in the world, but you have to get off the ground and running. I think I should have scored at the end; the 'keeper came out and I should have done a bit better. It's just one of those things. It was good to hang on because they had a lot of pressure. Saying that, we were 3-1 up away from home, we should not be conceding a goal, let alone letting them back to 3-3. But it's all part and parcel of the game. I'm enjoying every little bit here, so hopefully I can get a few more goals and maybe get Rubens some more assists for penalties!" Argyle will want to use the nominal victory as a stepping stone as they face successive home fixtures against Bristol Rovers and Wycombe Wanderers in the coming weeks and is confident the latest signings will play their part. "Hopefully we can go on from this and take it into Saturday's game, because we've got a great opportunity with two home games in a row," said Marvin. "That's why Morecambe was so disappointing, because you look back at it and I really do think we should have got something better out of the game. No disrespect, but we should be beating them. It's still a learning-curve for us. We've still got quite a young team; we're growing each game. We've got two great signings in Jamie and Hamza. I've known Hamza for a while having played with him when he was at Macclesfield and Notts County, and he's always left one on me! He's a good addition."
Argyle have progressed to the second round of the Johnstone's Paint trophy, beating Cheltenham on penalties after a highly eventful game which finished 3-3 in normal time. Cheltenham took an early lead through Steven Gillespie but the deficit was overturned following two goals in a minute from Romuald Boco and Lewis Alessandra. Shortly after half-time, debutant Hamza Bencherif gave us a two goal lead before a foul from Curtis Nelson gave Cheltenham a penalty for which he was dismissed for preventing a clear goalscoring opportunity. Cheltenham scored the resultant penalty and went on to equalise 6 minutes after that. However, Argyle held on until full-time and won 5-4 in the shootout. Boco, Alessandra, Hourihane, Reckord and Morgan dispatched penalties successfully. Argyle: Cole, Nelson, Branston, Blanchard, Reckord, Alessandra, Bencherif, Hourihane, Blackman, Boco (Morgan), Reid. Unused subs: McCormick, Harvey, Gurrieri, Young.
The draw for another cup competition has also been announced today: Argyle will begin the defence of the Devon St Luke's Cup with an away game against Bideford on Tuesday October 1st.
John Sheridan has boosted his squad on transfer deadline day with the signing of Algerian Under-20 international midfielder Hamza Bencherif. Hamza, 25, joins on a short-term contract following a successful Home Park trial and completed his registration in time to be able to play in Tuesday night's Johnstone's Paint Trophy first-round tie at Cheltenham. Hamza has played in England since 2007, most lately for Notts County, who released him at the end of last season. He has been on trial at Home Park for the past week, and played 78 minutes of the development friendly against Bristol City last Tuesday. After the game, John Sheridan said: "Fitness-wise, he is way behind the other players – he needs to be playing games – but I know what he's all about and he's a good player at this level. He has played against my teams a couple of times and he has been strong. He has got a presence about him." He was released by Forest at the end of the 2008–09 season and joined Macclesfield Town, for who he made 68 appearances and scored 16 goals in two seasons. He joined League 1 Notts County at the beginning of the 2011-12 campaign, and made 40 appearances for the Magpies over the last two seasons, scoring twice.
Defender Jamie Reckord has also signed for Argyle on a three-month loan from League 1 leaders Wolves and, like midfielder Hamza Bencherif, has completed his registration in time to be able to play in Tuesday night's Johnstone's Paint Trophy first-round tie at Cheltenham. Jamie, 21, is a left-back who turned professional with his home-town club in 2010 and is a product of the Molinuex Academy, having previously represented England at Under-16 and Under-17 level. At the end of the 2010-11 campaign, Jamie was loaned out to League 2 Northampton Town, for who he made seven appearances including a losing debut on the eve of his 19th birthday against John Sheridan's Chesterfield. He made his Wolves debut at the start of the following campaign in a 4-0 League Cup win over his former temporary employers at Sixfields. Another loan spell followed later in the season, when played 17 times for League 1 Scunthorpe United. Jamie, who is contracted to Wolves until the end of the current campaign, began last season on loan to League 1 Coventry City.He made 12 appearances for the Sky Blues, including a memorable one in the Capital One Cup at Arsenal. He also played in the first round of this season's Capital One Cup, when Wolves were beaten 1-0 at Morecambe.
The 2-1 scoreline by which the Argyle lost at Morecambe does not tell the full story of what John Sheridan described as a 'chance missed'. Reuben Reid put Argyle in front from the penalty spot, only for Morecambe to equalize through Kevin Ellison within seconds. A late winner by Padraig Amond in an almost chanceless second half sealed the win for Morcambe. "The biggest let down is losing the lead," said John, "I thought we were the better team. We get the lead, and then it's unbelievable to concede ten seconds after we've just scored. How can you concede ten seconds after you score? That's mentally switching off and not organising from a kick off. We've just scored, and if you keep the lead for five or ten minutes, you have the belief that we can get something out of the game. Instead, it puts them on the front foot. It's a joke the way we conceded that goal. Even then, just get a point out of the game. Other than Neal's chance, I didn't think we were going to score." John is concerned about the performances in the second half, after a good showing in the first 45 minutes. "We just didn't get hold of the ball. Too many players went missing second half. The biggest problem is that I'm trying to preach into them the mentality of some of them," he said, "It's just not what I want. It's not the mentality I want. I want winners, and I think the game was there was there if you wanted it today. In the second half we just did not get going. The ball was in the end and all around. It was scrappy. They put us on the back foot like we did to them first half. We just didn't get going at all. We had one chance from Neal Trotman and their keeper's made a great save. I thought it was a great opportunity to get ourselves something out of the game. Even if it's a point, let's get something out of the game. The way it went first half, and when we scored, I thought it was three points. But it wasn't, because they worked harder than us for the win. They believed that they could win more than us, Morecambe, and that really disappoints me. I'm watching players who are performing really well in the first half. I can only talk and say the same old things. We played well in the first half and in the second half I didn't know what I was watching. It's a mindset, it's a mentality. The mentality is to get out of this league you've got to do the ugly things and compete. They were in your face, playing forward quickly with the wind, but the game was there if we wanted it. But we didn't want it enough."
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