Argyle 2 – 1 Morecambe
Hourihane 10. Williams 80
Gilmartin 5, Berry 6, Nelson 7, Branston 7, Bhasera 6, Cowan-Hall 8, Hourihane 7, Blanchard 7 (Young), Lowry 6 (Wotton 7), Feeney (Harvey 6), Murray 6.
Subs not used: Cole, Williams, Lennox, Griffiths.
A win at long last, although we were hanging on for most of the second half against a very good Morecambe side who played decent passing football.
Several positives can be taken from John Sheridan’s first game as Argyle manager, the win was so important and the players worked very hard to grab the win, although there is a concern that the team sat back after gaining the early 2-0 lead and spent most of the match defending.
The difference between this match and most of the matches this season is that we scored when we were on top; our usual ‘purple patch’ of 20 minutes produced two goals whereas under Carl Fletcher we played well for brief periods but didn’t score.
Max Blanchard anchored the midfield with Jamie Lowry playing on the left, these were not their usual positions but both players played a part in the win.
We dominated the opening 20 minutes and played attacking football to feet rather than hit and hope. The only low point was Warren Feeney going off early with an injury to be replaced by teenager Tyler Harvey up front.
For the early exchanges we witnessed players actually got to the byeline to get a cross in, with dangerous balls zipping across the six-yard box.
Under the previous manager crosses would be from deep and directed in the general area of the penalty box but today the crosses were low and fast across the six yard box.
A mistake from Morecambe defender Nicholas Fenton allowed Hourihane to score a great goal from 18 yards out; he rifled the ball into the far corner to give Argyle a deserved lead. The second goal followed soon after when new loan signing Ronan Murray got to the byeline and put a low cross in for Paris Cowan-Hall who finished well from close range.
Crosses, byelines, attacking football and a two goal lead – unheard of words around Home Park for most of the this season.
But then we sat back, sat on the lead and invited Morecambe onto us.
For the second half Morecambe dominated the possession and we played on the break with Cowan-Hall our best chance of a third goal.
Wotton replaced Lowry and played deep with Murray moving to the left in a 4-1-4-1 formation.
Morecambe got the goal they deserved when Williams tried his luck from 25 yards out and somehow the head height shot went over/through the 6-foot 5-inch tall Gilmartin. A mistake and one of several in this match from Gilmartin.
We got a break when Parrish picked up a second yellow card but we still played with one striker against 10-man Morecambe.
Murray hit a post with a curling shot late in the game; at that point it was against the run of play and would have sealed the win for Argyle.
Tactics, formations etc do not matter, we simply had to win and we did and are now out of the relegation zone but Sheridan still has a lot of work to do.
Nelson and Branston were immense – Nelson will be a top player one day, while Branston got his head on almost every high ball into the area.
Blanchard looks a good bet to stay in midfield and while Lowry will not go bombing down the wing he does offer shape and cover on the left side.
Murray is a tricky player and set-up the winner for Cowan-Hall although he did go missing for parts of this game.
Cole needs to come back for the next match, both Cole and Gilmartin do not dominate their area but Cole is the better shop-stopper.
Sheridan and Owers were very animated in the dug-out, barking out instructions and encouraging the players.
We’ve played better over 90 minutes this season and not won, against Torquay for example. Just two shots on-target but they counted!
A good win, Sheridan is off and running but we sure made it hard for ourselves.
Well played, well defended!
Man of the match: Cowan-Hall.
Sheridan’s First Win With More to Combe
Argyle 2 – 1 Morecambe