Taking Care Of Morecambe
A fantastic goal from talisman Graham Carey gave Argyle a deserved 1-0 win against Morecambe at Home Park.
We may not have one foot in League One just yet but we definitely have a big toe!
Today was the day where a win for us and other results going our way put the Greens 11 points clear of fourth place with just eight games left to play.
The game against Morecambe was a strange one - the first half was like a training exercise, Morecambe didn't close us down and were content to defend the 18-yard line and give us the freedom to play, I've never seen a team play so open.
With the shackles released we played some cracking football with David Fox and Carey at the heart of it and should have scored more goals from the many chances we created.
Morecambe played their part in going forward and at times it was end to end football.
We had to settle for just one goal - a Carey 20 yard shot (with minimal backlift) that deceived the Morecambe keeper.
Surely we would score a bucket load of goals in the second half?
The second half was a lot different due to a combination of a couple of things - we retreated into our shell, not helped by the anxiety flooding down from the stands and Morecombe closed us down and threw caution to the wind and attacked us.
At times we were hanging on but there was also some great defending and we also created chances but the carefree play from the first half was a distant memory.
At the end of the game the crowd got behind the team to help get them over the line and the atmosphere felt like a promotion cliff hanger where everyone understood just how important this win would be.
Argyle manager Derek Adams kept the same starting line-up from the Wycome game although Ryan Taylor and Gary Sawyer returned to the squad and Craig Tanner and Naurius Bultivis dropped, which was a shame because his family visited from Latvia to watch him.
Morecambe were the better team in the early stages and attacked us from the first whistle, we withstood the early pressure and the game settled into a pattern of Argyle controlling the game and Morecambe playing on the counter-attack.
It was unbelievable that Morecambe would play in such an open manner, they gave us the freedom of Home Park and at times it felt like a testimonial game.
Fox and Carey got on the ball and dictated play and the goal finally came when Carey controlled the ball with one touch and from 20 yards out and without warning unleashed a shot that flew past Roche in the Morecambe goal.
Jimmy Spencer nearly added a second goal from a Carey free-kick but instead of stooping to head the ball he waited to shoot and hit the side netting.
Matty Kennedy was causing problems on the left and just like at Wycombe Oscar Threlkeld got into some promising positions but his lack of a good left foot let him down at crucial moments.
There was one scare at the other end when Luke McCormick made a good save but the Morecambe move had already been stopped for offside.
The freedom of Home Park disappeared for the second half, Morecambe strode through our midfield at will and put us on the back foot.
Now it was our turn to contain Morecambe and play on the counter attack, much to the annoyance of some fans.
Mullin and Molyneux both should have scored when put through but didn't compose themselves and shot wide and high.
Taylor replaced the tiring Spencer who had already produced a great shift against Wycombe so soon after returning from injury.
There was a hush around the stadium when Carey went down injured but he returned to his feet and looked to be ok.
Morecambe brought on panto villain Ellison who spent most of his time playing a game of verbals with Sonny Bradley while Adams swapped Kennedy for Jordan Slew.
There were chances for Jake Jervis, who opted to head back instead of heading towards goal, and a few shot from Carey and Antoni Sarcevic were blocked or sailed wide.
McCormick made a great save to preserve the clean sheet.
Jervis missed a great chance from a Slew cross but a defender in front of him might have got a touch just as Jervis was about to shoot.
With the minutes ticking away and other scores coming through on the phone apps we simply had to win this game and Adams thought the same by bringing on Yann Songo'o to shore up the midfield.
With the crowd cheering and the four minutes of injury time just about over Morecambe launched one final attack but Bradley rose the highest to head clear, as he so often does, and the win and probable promotion was secured.
The proverbial game of two halves - total football for the first half to total anxiety for the second half, however credit to the players for digging in against a good away team.
Fans were complaining that we do not leave a player up front when defending corners but since Adams switched to zonal marking and every player defending we haven't conceded a goal from a corner.
Before that fans were complaining what we conceded too many goals from corners!
Carey ran the show for us, not only with his skill and technique was also his phenomenal work rate and closing down.
Fox was neat and tidy as always and Gary Miller had a strong game despite just returning after nearly three months out with injury.
Yakub Sokolik had one of his best games in a green shirt and was our best defender, he and Bradley have formed a good partnership.
Kennedy saw a lot of the ball but you just wish he would cross it instead of trying to beat one player too many.
Overall, an entertaining game that should have been won easily in the first half but it's still three points.
Man of the match: Carey.
McCormick 7, Miller 7, Sokolik 8, Bradley 7, Threlkeld 6, Fox 7, Carey 9, Sarcevic 6, Jervis 6, Kennedy 7, Spencer 6. Subs: Taylor 7, Slew 6, Songo'o n/a.