ADAMS: WE CAN HAN­DLE THIS SET­BACK

Ply­mouth have lost three of last four

The Football League Paper - - LEAGUE TWO - By Matt Bam­sey

DEREK Adams hit back at sug­ges­tions his side are feel­ing the pres­sure of the pro­mo­tion race af­ter they slipped out of the top three for the first time since Septem­ber.

Jack Mar­riott did the dam­age with a 27th-minute win­ner to keep Lu­ton’s slim play-off hopes alive.

The Pil­grims have lost three out of their last four games and now Bris­tol Rovers have leapfrogged them into third place.

But Ply­mouth boss Adams is re­main­ing up­beat and in­sists his side have got the men­tal strength to bounce back.

He said:“When you lose a cou­ple of games, peo­ple are go­ing to ques­tion you.We have got nine games left and we are still in a very good po­si­tion.

“The way we played shows that we are not feel­ing the pres­sure. We con­trolled the game and we didn’t man­age to find the back of the net.

“It was one of those days when we didn’t have the cut­ting edge our play de­served. It just feels like we are not get­ting the breaks at the mo­ment. Hope­fully we can go on an­other run.

“We have got some dif­fi­cult games com­ing up but ev­ery match is winnable.”

Lu­ton en­gi­neered the first op­por­tu­nity with a slick move that ended with Mar­riott let­ting fly with a shot that was well blocked by Gary Sawyer.

Gregg Wylde caused havoc down the right with a turn of pace and his cross was head­ing into the path of Jor­dan Houghton un­til Dan Potts made a cru­cial headed clear­ance.

Lu­ton were forced into a change on 15 min­utes af­ter Craig Mack­ail-Smith suf­fered an an­kle in­jury and was re­placed by Paul Ben­son.

Hat­ters keeper Jon Mitchell got down eas­ily to col­lect Craig Tan­ner’s de­flected ef­fort as the game con­tin­ued to lack an at­tack­ing spark.

Ben­son was de­nied by Luke McCormick at his near post and Mar­riott’s an­gled drive crept nar­rowly past the far post.

The vis­i­tors took the lead when Paddy McCourt fed Mar­riott and he squeezed the ball in­side McCormick’s near post for his 13th goal of the sea­son.

Ben Pur­ring­ton wasted a chance to haul Ply­mouth level with a tame ef­fort that trick­led into the arms of Mitchell.

The Hat­ters keeper eas­ily gath­ered to deny Carey af­ter he let rip from the edge of the box be­fore tip­ping over the mid­fielder’s long-range ef­fort.

On the stroke of half-time, Lu­ton sur­vived a scare when Stephen O’Don­nell glanced Tan­ner’s cross a frac­tion past his own post.

At the start of the se­cond half McCormick was al­most left red-faced when he flapped at Danny Green’s cross but Glen Rea shot wide of an open goal.

But Ply­mouth used the es­cape to launch a blitz with Os­car Threlkeld’s cross land­ing at the feet of Wylde and his low drive was bril­liantly pushed around the post by Mitchell.

O’Don­nell blew a chance to seal the out­come on 72 min­utes when he scuffed an ef­fort wide af­ter Mar­riott sent him scam­per­ing into the box.

With Ply­mouth press­ing for a lev­eller, Mar­riott led a break­away which ended with the mid­fielder lash­ing the ball inches past the far post.

Sub­sti­tute Jake Jervis smashed an ef­fort over the bar and Tan­ner re­peated the trick with a wild at­tempt.

Hopes of a late equaliser were dashed when Jervis headed Gra­ham Carey’s cross wide.

Lu­ton boss Nathan Jones said: “I asked for an away per­for­mance and we got it. We were mag­nif­i­cent and I am very proud. At times it was a war and my play­ers put in a great shift.

“For all the ter­ri­tory and pos­ses­sion they had in the se­cond half, we had the best chances.

“It is dif­fi­cult for Ply­mouth, they have been at the top all sea­son and they are there to be shot at.

“Not many teams come here and win in the man­ner we did so I am very pleased.”

TIMELY STRIKE: Lu­ton Town's Jack Mar­riott scores past Ply­mouth Ar­gyle goal­keeper Luke McCormick

PIC­TURES: Gra­ham Hunt/Pro Sport

YOU WON’T PASS US: No way through. Lu­ton Town's Alan Shee­han and Lu­ton Town's Scott Cuth­bert pre­vent Ply­mouth Ar­gyle's Jamille Matt from get­ting to the ball for a shot

HIVE FIVE: Lu­ton Town's Jack Mar­riott cel­e­brates scor­ing

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