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'He put his head into mine and he probably regrets it' – Nick Chadwick

By Western Morning News  |  Posted: December 24, 2012

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Plymouth Argyle manager Carl Fletcher was pleased with "a hard-earned point" from his side's npower League Two trip to Accrington Stanley.

The Pilgrims took the lead in the first half with a goal from Onismor Bhasera on Saturday before conceding an equaliser after the break. Argyle substitute Warren Feeney then had a 79th-minute penalty saved by home goalkeeper Paul Rachubka, who was sent off in the closing stages.

Fletcher admitted his team had not been at their best but he praised his players for digging deep in difficult conditions, with the match played on a rain-soaked pitch. He said: "We didn't play that well, but it's a great point for us.

"We had six-and-a-half hours on the coach yesterday. The lads rolled their sleeves up and dug in for one another, and could have won it at the end, but we will take a point. I'm really delighted with the lads' efforts," he added.

The Pilgrims' boss admitted: "When you go a goal up away from home, you know the home side are going to come at you. There were certain things we didn't do great. There were certain basic things we could be better at.

"We recognised it was a bit of an off-day for us, but we dug in and worked hard. It's a great point for us and we will look forward to Wednesday [when Torquay United are at Home Park for a 1pm kick-off].

"After going in front, I'm disappointed we didn't hang on to all three points, but you have to give credit to Accrington. They came at us and out us under a lot of pressure but we dug in for one another in a real tricky game," the Argyle boss said.

The match ended in controversy after Rachubka was sent off by referee Mick Russell in the 89th minute. Argyle striker Nick Chadwick slid in when Rachubka failed to hold on to a shot from Paris Cowan-Hall and made contact with the on-loan Leeds United 'keeper.

With the pair on the soggy ground and the ball out of play, Rachubka put his forehead on to Chadwick's. There was no force involved but Russell deemed it as violent conduct and produced a red card – while also booking Chadwick for his challenge.

The Pilgrims' striker said: "I thought I was going to score us a winner, but their 'keeper did really well to get up and finger tip it away. Then, for some reason, he got a little bit angry that I wanted to go and try to score.

"He put his head into mine and he probably regrets it," Chadwick added. "It was handbags, really. The referee booked me for my slide, but he said to me he knew I had to go and try to win the ball."

As for the overall contest, the Argyle striker said: "The game had a little bit of everything. With the weather, we always knew it was going to be a scrap and that's what it turned out to be.

"It was just unfortunate, after being ahead and getting the penalty, we didn't take all three points. In a way, I think it's a good thing we're probably a little bit disappointed. Maybe at the start of the season we might have not got anything out of that game.

"It was an awful pitch, awful conditions and a long journey. It had all the hallmarks of a home win. But I think we are a lot tougher mentally now. You can tell we're coming off the back of some half-decent results. We're getting things out of games and I think that mentality is a good thing."

Argyle's most eye-catching performer on the day was goalkeeper Rene Gilmartin, who made some excellent saves in the 1-1 draw.

Afterwards, the Irishman said: "That was probably the busiest I have been in a game, and that's credit to the defence and how we've played over the last few weeks.

"I was just doing my job, trying to keep the ball out of the net. They are just saves. I don't look for praise.

"I feel good about myself when I know I'm training well, and then a game like this one comes along where I felt ready," Gilmartin added.

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