MANAGER John Sheridan was delighted with a ‘very good team performance’ as Plymouth Argyle started 2014 with a Devon derby win.
Second half goals from on-loan Sheffield Wednesday striker Caolan Lavery and winger Lewis Alessandra saw the Pilgrims beat Torquay United 2-0 at rain-lashed Home Park.
Argyle picked up 10 points out of a possible 12 over the busy Christmas and New Year period, and scored eight times along the way.
They are now up to 12th in the League Two table, and within range of the play-off positions.
Sheridan said: “I think we should have scored one or two goals in the first half but we didn’t take our chances.
“I asked the players to pick it up five or 10 per cent at half-time.
“Full credit to them, I thought we came out and were quality in the second half. We really got them (Torquay) on the back foot.
“My front four were causing them problems. It stretches the game and enables us to move the ball and get higher up the pitch.
“It was a very good team performance again. I think you can see the will-to-win, and the desire to try to get something out of the games at this moment in time.
“We are showing a bit of consistency. We all know what we are doing.”
Lavery fired Argyle into the lead in the 60th minute and Sheridan praised his anticipation for reacting first to a loose ball inside the Torquay penalty area.
The 21-year-old beat ‘keeper Michael Poke with a low first-time shot at his near post.
Sheridan said: “It was great anticipation from Caolan. We were pushing for the goal, and we got it, and we had them on the back foot.”
Alessandra put Argyle 2-0 up in the 85th minute when he got on the end of an inviting cross from captain Conor Hourihane.
It took Alessandra’s goal tally for the season to seven in all competitions.
Sheridan said: “It was a great ball from Conor and Lewi has got in there and scored a great header.”
Torquay were fortunate not to have Poke sent-off in the first half for a wild challenge on Lavery.
The incident took place outside the Gulls’ penalty area and referee Keith Stroud only deemed it worthy of a yellow card.
Sheridan said: “I don’t want anyone getting sent-off. I just don’t understand the rules – that’s what I’m puzzled with.
“Anywhere else on the pitch, he (Poke) would have got sent off. He has nearly killed Caolan, to be fair.
“Fortunately, he’s a tough lad. He got up and hasn’t milked it. It was a terrible challenge.
“It could have been really bad – say he had broken his leg – and the lad gets a booking. It was very reckless.”