Pil­grims go three clear at the top

The Football League Paper - - LEAGUE TWO - By John McDougall

PLYMOUTH boss Derek Adams rated Ar­gyle’s per­for­mance in the win over Carlisle at Ewood Park as one of the best in their ta­ble-top­ping cam­paign so far.

Ryan Brunt’s sublime free-kick gave Ar­gyle a first-half lead, while his sec­ond in in­jury time went in via a Troy Archibald-Henville de­flec­tion to seal Plymouth’s fourth suc­ces­sive win.

And the Ar­gyle boss sees no rea­son why his side can­not be play­ing League One foot­ball next sea­son.

“It was an un­be­liev­able dis­play. It ranks up there with one of the best we’ve had this sea­son,” said Adams. “It was ex­cel­lent from start to fin­ish.

“In the sec­ond half we had a num­ber of good op­por­tu­ni­ties to add to the score­line, but over­all it’s a thor­oughly de­served vic­tory.

“We’ve had to deal with a lot of long balls, throw-ins, and we knew that be­fore the game.We set up to deal with it and tac­ti­cally, it was down to per­fec­tion.

“Of course we can gain pro­mo­tion, there is no doubt about it. Our form tells you that.”

Carlisle’s Alex Gil­liead cut in­side to fire just wide within the first five min­utes, his side play­ing their first foot­ball since be­fore Christ­mas.

Ar­gyle replied through Jake Jervis’s tenth-minute free-kick which curled over the wall but into Mark Gille­spie’s arms. But the dead­lock was bro­ken by the visi­tors through ex-Bris­tol Rovers man Brunt’s su­perb curl­ing 26th-minute free-kick which flew into the net with Gille­spie rooted to the spot.

Carlisle cap­tain Danny Grainger was again the source of prob­lems for Plymouth af­ter his deep 39th-minute cross into a crowded box found Derek Asamoah, who failed to con­trol at close range.

Two min­utes af­ter the break, Antony Sweeney con­trolled Michael Raynes’s header and turned to fire from close range and drew Luke McCormick into a sublime fin­ger­tip save from Carlisle’s best chance.

Plymouth sub­sti­tute Craig Tan­ner nearly capped off a bril­liant pas­sage of play when he pulled the trig­ger while free in the box, but Mark El­lis was on hand to make a vi­tal chal­lenge, while the for­mer Crewe de­fender saw his ef­fort saved mo­ments later at the other end.

The Blues con­tin­ued to search for an equaliser, with Gary Dicker’s lofted 71st-minute ball find­ing Asamoah whose header was saved.

Mo­ments af­ter a Carlisle chance, Plymouth broke for­wards with Tan­ner thread­ing in Wylde who fired a pow­er­ful 73rd-minute ef­fort at Gille­spie.

El­lis should have lev­elled af­ter ris­ing high­est from Grainger’s 75thminute cor­ner but nod­ded off tar­get with the goal gap­ing.

Brunt at­tempted to recre­ate his magic from the first half with an 87thminute free-kick but his ef­fort cleared both the wall and Gille­spie’s cross­bar.

But Ar­gyle did dou­ble their lead in stop­page time when Brunt’s shot took a wicked de­flec­tion off Archibald-Henville to loop over a stranded Gille­spie, though Gregg Wylde may have got a touch from close range. Carlisle boss Keith Curle re­vealed top scorer Jabo Ibehre was miss­ing as he was with his daugh­ter who had been rushed to hos­pi­tal, but pin­pointed Plymouth’s de­fend­ing as key to their win.

“We built it up in the chang­ing room as a chal­lenge and a test against the top of the league team that are play­ing with con­fi­dence, play­ing with di­rec­tion and get­ting re­sults," he said.

“It was a good op­por­tu­nity to pit our­selves against them and com­pete, and I don’t think it was a chal­lenge that we shied away from.

“Their back line, how they de­fended the 18-yard box and some­times in­side the six-yard box, won them the game and no way is that to be deroga­tory to our play­ers.”

PIC­TURES: Me­dia Im­age

GO­ING WYLDE: Plymouth mid­fielder Gregg Wylde cel­e­brates af­ter Ar­gyle for­ward Ryan Brunt’s de­flected shot, inset, makes it 2-0

FIRST BLOW: Plymouth for­ward Ryan Brunt fires in a su­perb free-kick to net the open­ing goal


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