Taking Care Of Carlisle
Normal serviced was resumed for Argyle with an excellent 2-0 win against promotion rivals Carlisle at Home Park.
It was the old guard of Graham Carey and Jake Jervis who scored the first half goals to seal the deserved win.
It was a cracking but tense game of football - Carlisle had three goals disallowed and we hit the crossbar twice.
The feature of the game was the players chasing and harrying Carlisle into mistakes, Carey set the tone for this early in the game, his work rate is phenomenal, and the other players followed.
The penalty not awarded when Jordan Slew was 'fouled' against Notts County on Tuesday looked more obvious than the penalty decision given today against Carlisle when Ryan Taylor was brought down but no-one is complaining.
It was good to see David Fox back in the team after being physically assaulted at Luton last week and he made a huge difference - he kept the ball moving and passed into space. Carey, Jervis and Matty Kennedy all had good games and the defence and keeper Luke McCormick were rock solid.
Carlisle are a good team but rely too much on long throws and didn't have much of a cutting edge up front.
With Doncaster drawing and several teams behind us stuttering it was a good day for the Greens.
The white balls made a return after their winter hibernation.
Manager Derek Adams dropped Yann Songo'o and Craig Tanner to the bench and in came Fox and Jervis.
You could tell from the first minute the players were committed and determined to put things right after the shambles against Notts County.
Carlisle came at us from the start, Oscar Threlkeld was struggling to contain the tricky left winger Adams and several long throws caused some problems in defence.
We did have a couple of scares when two Carlisle goals were disallowed for offside, the first was very obvious but the second looked a very tight decision.
Slowly we got to grips with Adams and Carlisle, Carey's running and closing down unsettled Carlisle at the back and this led to some mistakes, from one of these Carey cut-out a loose pass, fed the ball to Taylor who waited and waited until the just the right moment and returned the ball to Carey, he was free and side footed home. 1-0 and the Armchair Managers at Home Park applauded.
Jervis was more and more threatening on the right and found himself with just the keeper to beat, however Gillespie was quicker to the ball and cleared the danger, if Jervis was a little braver he might have nicked the ball before the keeper or drawn a penalty.
Soon after Taylor hit the bar but we stretched the lead on the stroke of half time. Taylor jumped for a cross and was brought down, it looked a soft decision from the ref but we'll take it.
After a long discussion between Jervis and Carey it was the former who smashed home the penalty and the promotion train was back on track.
Songo'o replaced Jakub Sokolik for the second half, presumably because of injury.
We sat back and drew Carlisle onto us and relied on the pace and trickery of Kennedy and Jervis to play on the counter-attack and it worked a treat.
The long throws from Carlisle were still their best form of attack but by now Threlkeld had nullified Adams who had to wander inside to find the ball.
A brilliant run from Jervis finished with him skimming the crossbar, a third goal would have settled everyone's nerves because all it would take was one mistake and Carlisle would be back in the game. That one mistake nearly came from Songo'o who didn't look behind him when playing a back pass to McCormick but thankfully McCormick cleared the ball.
Carlisle did 'score' a third goal but this was ruled out for handball.
Jimmy Spencer replaced the tiring Taylor and Carlisle threw caution to the wind by pushing their two full backs further forward, to counter this Derek Adams replaced Jervis with Ryan Donaldson to shore up the right side of the team.
There were opportunities to get a third goal on the counter-attack but the final pass was lacking.
The game finished with Carlisle a well beaten team.
When Carey plays well, the team plays well and so it proved today. He had a brilliant first half, closing down, passing, leading the team and scoring.
He feeds off Fox very well, the two passers in the team kept probing and looking for openings.
Fox does the simple things, collect, look up and pass - usually forwards. It was thanks to him that we had more possession than Carlisle.
Jervis had a great return to the team and gave us pace on the right, Kennedy was tricky but does tend to make one trick too many and lose the ball instead of passing.
Taylor again led the line well, linking with the midfield and starting off attacks.
McCormick's handling was superb, Songo'o may have a mistake in him but he dominated the Carlisle strikers, much more than Sokolik did.
An excellent set of officials who spotted nearly everything, probably the best two linesmen we've seen at Home Park this season.
What a difference from the game against Notts County!
Man of the match: Carey.
McCormick 7, Threlekld 7, Sokolik 5, Bradley 7, Sawyer 7, Fox 7, Carey 8, Sarcevic 7, Jervis 7, Kennedy 7, Taylor 7. Subs: Songo'o 7, Spencer 6, Donaldson 6.