Sheridan targets Wembley adventure
PLYMOUTH manager John Sheridan has dangled the carrot of Wembley in a bid to inspire his side to book a play-off place.
The Pilgrims climbed back into seventh spot thanks to a nervy win over a Mansfield side looking over their shoulder at the drop zone following a fifth successive defeat.
Anthony O’Connor handed Plymouth a dream start after 98 seconds before Carl McHugh doubled their lead on 63 minutes.
But the Stags made a real fight of it and pulled one back when Vadaine Oliver was quickest to react after his header came back off the post.
Sheridan said: “This is a great result because it puts us back in the play-off positions.
“I can honestly say I am not bothered how we played just as long as we get the points.
“To get back in the top seven is all we aim for. But one or two need to buck their ideas up because I am not frightened of leaving players out.
“In four or five weeks’ time they could be playing at Wembley in front of 40,000 of our fans so that is something to aim for.
“Half of this division are playing for nothing, we are playing for something.”
Plymouth got off to a dream start when O’Connor met Bobby Reid’s corner with a header that flew into the far corner.
But the Stags mounted a spirited response and they were unlucky not to equalise after Reggie Lambe’s near-post header was pushed around the post by Luke McCormick.
The visitors threatened again after Jack Thomas wriggled his way into the box only to fire straight at McCormick.
Mansfield continued on the offensive at the start of the second half and Chris Clements was denied thanks to a smart save from McCormick.
Plymouth doubled their lead moments after Dominic Blizzard forced Sascha Studer into a brilliant save, before Lee Beevers threw himself at Olly Lee’s follow up.
From the resulting corner Reid supplied for McHugh to glance a neat header into the far corner.
Mansfield grabbed a lifeline within a minute, Oliver ramming home the rebound after his header from Beevers’ cross rattled the post, but that was as good as it got for Mansfield boss Adam Murray.
“I am frustrated and angry,” Murray said. “We are so close to being a decent team and getting results.
“We shipped two setpieces again and at the other end we are not clinical. The players are putting in maximum effort and I am not looking to blame people.
“But they need to hear the reality of it because you can’t hide from conceding from set-plays.”
STAR MAN LEWIS ALESSA