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

DEREK Adams toasted his side’s ef­forts at the half-way point of the sea­son as Ply­mouth rock­eted back to the top thanks to a hard-fought win.

The Pil­grims ended 2016 where they started it af­ter goals from Os­car Threlkeld and Craig Tan­ner saw the Devon side leapfrog Don­caster at the sum­mit.

Ply­mouth made the early run­ning last year be­fore an endof-sea­son slump saw them drop into the play-off places.

But Adams in­sists the Pil­grims look in good shape to ban­ish that heartache.

He said: “Ev­ery game in this league is dif­fi­cult to win. But to win 15 games from 23 is a very good record.

“This was an­other hard­fought win and I am de­lighted with the run we are on.

“We have got good com­pe­ti­tion for places and it is an­other clean sheet.

“In the first half we were very dom­i­nant but we didn’t move the ball quick enough. But we took our goals re­ally well in the sec­ond half.

“We have got lit­tle time to pre­pare for Bar­net on Mon­day. So it is a quick turn­around.”

Arnold Garita’s phys­i­cal pres­ence was the home side’s most po­tent weapon in the first half and the on-loan striker outmuscled Mark Con­nolly be­fore test­ing Glenn Mor­ris with a low drive.

But Craw­ley grew in con­fi­dence and James Collins wasted a chance when through.

Ply­mouth im­proved af­ter the break and Gra­ham Carey brought a save out of Mor­ris.

And they made the break­through on 69 min­utes when David Fox’s cross was de­flected into the path of Threlkeld, who tucked the ball into the cor­ner.

Craw­ley were scream­ing for a penalty two min­utes later as Enzio Bold­ewijn went down un­der a chal­lenge by Sonny Bradley.

And their frus­tra­tions grew when ref­eree Bren­dan Malone only showed Con­nor Smith a yel­low card when he wres­tled Bold­ewijn to the floor.

Ply­mouth keeper Luke McCormick pulled off a stun­ning save to deny Jor­dan Roberts an equaliser in stop­page time be­fore Tan­ner then fired past Mor­ris to seal it.

Craw­ley boss Der­mot Drummy was forced to stay at home due to ill­ness so as­sis­tant man­ager Matt Gray took charge.

He said: “Der­mot hasn’t been feel­ing well and he took a turn for the worse over Christ­mas. Hope­fully he will be bet­ter for the Yeovil game on Mon­day.

“We looked re­ally solid and worked hard to get back into our shape.

“When I saw James (Collins) run through, you ex­pect him to score.

“Nine times out of ten he does score, but he lifted it and it went over. “There were some sur­pris­ing de­ci­sions from the of­fi­cials. If one or two of those had gone for us we might have got some­thing out of the game.”

PIC­TURES: Gra­ham Hunt/ProS­ports

PLY­MOUTH PILE: Argyle play­ers toast the goal scored by Os­car Threlkeld with the fans ON THE UP: Gra­ham Carey of Ply­mouth Argyle leads the charge

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