PIL­GRIMS TOP OF THE TREE AT XMAS

The Football League Paper - - LEAGUE TWO - By Barrie White

PLYMOUTH man­ager Derek Adams believes his at­tack­ing sub­sti­tu­tions to seal a smash-and-grab win at Ac­cring­ton were re­warded as Ar­gyle head into Christ­mas top of League Two.

On-loan Read­ing striker Craig Tan­ner scored the only goal 15 min­utes af­ter com­ing on as a sub­sti­tute to give the Pil­grims top spot back af­ter Don­caster won ear­lier in the day.

Adams – who told the play­ers the Don­caster re­sult [1-0 v Grimsby Town] – was de­lighted to grab the win at what he called a “hard place to play”.

“We’re de­lighted to be tak­ing the three points home,” he said.

“They did have a lot of pres­sure and we soaked it up well, but we should have been two-up in the first half.

“They had chances in the sec­ond half, where they put a lot of pres­sure on us.

“With the three at­tack­ing sub­sti­tu­tions, I thought we could win the game. At the start of the match, it was im­por­tant we looked af­ter Ac­cring­ton and not come out all guns blaz­ing.

“It’s put us back top of the ta­ble. We knew that Don­caster had won ear­lier in the day, so it was good for us to win.

“We told the play­ers they’d won, and that only a win would get us back there.”

On 40 min­utes, Luke McCormick made a su­per save, tip­ping Jor­dan Clark’s halfvolleyed ef­fort over the bar.

The hosts kept knock­ing on the door, as skip­per Sea­mus Con­neely’s ef­fort was de­flected through a crowd of play­ers and re­bounded off McCormick’s post.

But, to the dis­may of Stan­ley’s fans, Ar­gyle scored the ul­ti­mate against the run of play goal on 76 min­utes to lead.

Sub­sti­tute Tan­ner slot­ted through Par­ish’s legs af­ter fel­low sub­sti­tute Davd Good­willie – once of nearby Black­burn Rovers – fed him a near-per­fect through ball.

Clark looked to be fouled in the box in stop­page time, but ref­eree Scott Dun­can’s whis­tle never came for a penalty, be­fore he nearly grabbed a fully-de­served point for Stan­ley, but his ef­fort fell into McCormick’s arms.

A vis­i­bly-hurt John Cole­man was down­beat af­ter­wards, but full of praise for his play­ers’ ef­forts and urged them to keep fight­ing.

He said: “I’m hurt­ing – the play­ers are hurt­ing. We’re in a crit­i­cal si­t­u­a­tion, but we don’t de­serve to be there.

“I’ve got to take my hat off to the play­ers as I thought they were fan­tas­tic.

“There seems to be a curse on that goal – we’ve had Sea­mus’s shot which has taken a de­flec­tion and onto the post. Then Jor­dan’s shot which also gets de­flected, but the keeper is ly­ing on the floor and it falls into his lap.

“They hit a pea-roll of a shot and it goes through our keeper’s legs.

“I’ve got to be proud of how the play­ers played.

“I thought the fans were fan­tas­tic – they tried to drag us over the line and stuck with us.”

PIC­TURES: Me­dia Im­age

STAR MAN LUKE McCORMICK Plymouth TAN’S THE MAN: Plymouth play­ers cel­e­brate af­ter Craig Tan­ner scores the win­ner, be­low

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