PILGRIMS ARE BACK ON TRACK
BOSS Derek Adams labelled title-chasing Argyle’s performance as the ‘best of the season’.
Plymouth had won one of their last six matches, threatening to derail their run to the top three.
But second-half goals from Sonny Bradley and Graham Carey got them back on track and condemned play-off-chasing Mansfield to their second defeat in 14 matches.
Adams said: “It was a topclass performance from a group who have done exceptionally well this season.
“The 11 who started and the 11 who finished were terrific. It was outstanding, our best of the season.”
Midfielder Carey was the Argyle smash-and-grab hero with two moments of quality from set pieces that punished Mansfield for wasting a hatful of chances – including six in the opening 26 minutes.
Bradley headed in Carey’s dinked 69th-minute free-kick at the far post – Argyle’s first effort on target. Five minutes later Carey curled in a 25-yard free-kick to secure secondplaced Argyle’s 11th away win.
Adams added: “Carey is the best player in the league, there is no doubt about it. He has got the ability to play and is the most talented and creative.
“He has played a lot of games this season and has a lot of assists and a lot of goals. He has done well for us, but other players in the team and the substitutes did well also.
“To come here, keep a clean sheet and score two goals tells you how good an afternoon it was.”
Mansfield had 15 attempts at goal – eight on target – compared to Argyle’s three, but are without a goal in three matches.
Boss Steve Evans said: “I feel sorry for my players. There was only one team playing proper football and one team making all the chances.
“Then our centre backs don’t pick up from a set play and they take advantage, which is what good teams do.
“The second goal is one worthy of winning any game at any level. It was a piece of quality from a top player at this level.
“Our inability to take a chance is proving costly. They were not halfchances, they were good chances – we absolutely slaughtered them.
“It’s the lowest I’ve felt since I became gaffer here.”
Mansfield could have been two goals up in the opening three minutes. Matt Green failed to head in a Ben Whiteman cross and Alex MacDonald was denied by Luke McCormick.
In the ninth minute Green’s lob was clawed away by McCormick and the keeper then held MacDonald’s firsttime volley. Whiteman wasted two further first-half opportunities, scooping over and then side-footing wide from 12 yards.
MOB RULE: Plymouth hail Graham Carey’s fine free kick HEADS WE WIN: Sonny Bradley puts Plymouth ahead