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

DEREK Adams saluted the bril­liance of match-win­ner Gra­ham Carey af­ter his mo­ment of magic moved Ply­mouth a step closer to pro­mo­tion.

The mid­fielder bagged his 13th goal of the sea­son with a stun­ning 25-yard strike as the Pil­grims bounced back from three de­feats in their last four home games.

Hav­ing taken seven points from their last three games, Ply­mouth have edged 11 points clear of fourth-placed Steve­nage.

Pil­grims chief Adams said: “The first half was one of the best per­for­mances since I have been here.

“We had lots of shots on tar­get and it was a fab­u­lous fin­ish from Gra­ham.

“More­cambe pushed us all the way and it was up to us to be res­o­lute.

“It’s a big win for us be­cause we have been able to open up a gap on third place.

“We have won 22 games out of 38 this sea­son and it shows you what a good squad we have.

“We are in a good place and the play­ers will have a cou­ple of days off now.”

Carey served no­tice of his in­ten­tions in the early stages, send­ing two long-range ef­forts past the post.

And af­ter a swift Ply­mouth coun­ter­at­tack ended with Barry Roche sav­ing Jake Jervis’ piledriver, the hosts struck the opener.

Carey col­lected Matty Kennedy’s pass, shifted the ball on to his left foot and bent a pearler into the top cor­ner.

With Ply­mouth dom­i­nat­ing pos­ses­sion and car­ry­ing a greater threat, More­cambe did come close to an equaliser when Lee Molyneux’s bounc­ing shot flashed past the post.

Gary Miller tested Roche with a fierce drive and Os­car Threlkeld’s loop­ing header landed on the roof of the net as the Pil­grims fin­ished the half in the as­cen­dancy. Paul Mullin then wasted a glo­ri­ous op­por­tu­nity to snatch an equaliser.

Michael Rose’s de­fence-split­ting pass sent the striker rac­ing into the box only for Mullin to shoot high and wide.

More­cambe posed a greater threat and Rose’s curling free-kick forced Luke McCormick into a smart save low down.

Roche went full stretch to push Jervis’ shot around the post and the Shrimps keeper showed good re­ac­tions to cling on to Jervis’ close-range ef­fort.

More­cambe’s slim play-off hopes suf­fered a blow af­ter los­ing their fourth match on the spin.

Shrimps chief Jim Bent­ley con­ceded: “We knew we were com­ing to a top side in the di­vi­sion – and they are where they are be­cause they are very good.

“They have been good through­out the sea­son and have a nice blend with top play­ers all over the park.

“They have a very good home sup­port, who get right be­hind the team, and it’s a long jour­ney for us – so we knew we were in for a tough game.

“I thought we started the game quite well but af­ter that Ply­mouth showed their class, got on top and cre­ated a lot of good chances.”

PIC­TURES: Gra­ham Hunt/ProS­ports

MA­JES­TIC: Ply­mouth mid­fielder Gra­ham Carey nets a mag­i­cal goal to de­cide the game

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