When a football club appoints a new manager it often brings about a time of upheaval. New backroom staff and players come in, new tactics and formations are utilised and, as is so often the case, the new man at the helm wins his first game in charge. Thankfully, John Sheridan and his Plymouth Argyle side did just that on Saturday.
In the days leading up to his first Argyle match, a home game against Morecambe, Sheridan had spoken about how he planned to take the game to the Shrimps and attack from the off. Simply the mention of attacking football had Argyle fans excited for the game, but with limited attacking options in the side it was hard to see the low-scoring Pilgrims finishing off many more chances than they did under Carl Fletcher.
Yet, just 16 minutes into the game, and Sheridan’s reign at Argyle, the home side were two goals to the good after a blistering start to the game. As the rain came down on a damp Home park the nervousness and stress that surrounded the last few months lifted from the crowd and was replaced with a sense of disbelief. Was this really happening?!
It was indeed happening and during the next 10 minutes Argyle proceeded to pass the ball around confidently and not let Morecambe back in. New loan signing Ronan Murray looked like creating something every time he got on the ball and Guy Branston, playing for Argyle again 13 years since his last spell with the club, looked like the perfect replacement for Darren Purse, who has gone to Port Vale.
Morecambe had the better of the later stages of the first half and the second period as Argyle dropped deeper and deeper, but when the Greens had possession of the ball they looked dangerous on the counter attack and the pace of Murray and Paris Cowan-Hall caused the Morecambe defence serious problems. And elusive clean sheet was not kept in tact when Ryan Williams somehow managed to beat Rene Gilmartin from 30 yards but Argyle held out for a vital victory.
Sheridan, who had impressed the Green Army in his interviews leading up to the game, then gave a refreshingly honest post-match interview. He didn’t just focus on the positives that led to the three points but also things he felt the team could have done better with and will look to improve on in the next few weeks. It would have been easy for him to be jubilant in the wake of a victory in his first match in charge but instead he switched the focus to the match at Southend, saying how he has a good record at Roots Hall and Argyle will be going there looking to win.
It may seem very generic stuff for a manager to say, but for Argyle fans it is just so refreshing. Carl Fletcher never enjoyed talking to the media which resulted in the Green Army hearing very little than the same talk week in, week out from Fletcher. Now we have somebody in charge that says it like it is and won’t hide away his real opinions on aspects of the game.
We are only one game into John Sheridan’s reign as Plymouth Argyle manager, but the early signs look promising. A good performance led to three points in a vital home game against Morecambe, the new gaffer has already made what looks to be two very good signings and he speaks to the media with a sense of confidence. There is still a long way to go until the end of the season but there is a positive air returning to Argyle again.
One cup final down, 18 to go.
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