Banton celebrates key role in vital win
Jason Banton stole the show for Plymouth Argyle by scoring both of their goals in a 2-1 win away to relegation rivals Aldershot Town on Saturday.
The vital victory moved the Pilgrims up two positions to 20th in the League Two table, while Aldershot dropped to 23rd place.
Banton was making only his second appearance for Argyle after signing on loan from Championship club Crystal Palace. He opened the scoring in the fifth minute, with a deflected 20-yard shot.
Then, after Aldershot had equalised, Banton restored the Pilgrims' lead in the 40th minute with a fine finish. They were Banton's first goals of his senior career, and could not have come at a better time for Argyle.
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Banton said: "We knew the importance of getting a win so to get the three points, especially away from home with a great support, is massive."
Banton's first goal came after Argyle captain Conor Hourihane played a short free-kick to him. He said: "To be honest, I didn't think Conor was going to play it across but he eventually did and I just got my head down and put my foot through it. I think it took a deflection [off Aldershot defender Sonny Bradley] but I'm still claiming it."
Aldershot were on level terms in the 11th minute when midfielder Peter Vincenti found the net. The Shots were applying some sustained pressure when Argyle caught them on the counter-attack shortly before the break.
Striker Reuben Reid made a 60-yard break before crossing the ball to Banton, who controlled it and cut inside right-back Ben Herd. He then curled a shot past goalkeeper Jamie Young into the bottom left corner of the net. Banton said: "Reuben did really well to pick me out, especially after that long run. I'm just glad I could finish it."
It was superbly controlled shot from Banton, giving Young no chance to make a save. The loan signing added: "We do quite a lot of that in training at Palace, and we have done a bit at Plymouth. That was my opportunity to do what we practice."
Argyle had to defend resolutely in the second half as they were bombarded by a series of long throws, crosses and corners. But they held on to their slender lead and secured only their third away win in League Two this term.
Banton admitted: "We were under the cosh for most of the second half. When you're down there, you've got to do the nitty-gritty stuff, and sometimes you ride your luck.
"Obviously, we're not in the best of positions but we're not in the worst of positions. To get the three points was the main thing. Sometimes you just have to grind it out."
Banton made his debut for Argyle in their 0-0 draw at home to Dagenham and Redbridge the previous Saturday. He said: "Personally, I think I've done well. That's two games and now two goals.
"I feel like I have got off to a good start. We've not lost yet so, hopefully, I can just carry that on."
Banton is one of seven signings made by manager John Sheridan during his five weeks at Argyle. All of them were included in the match-day squad against Aldershot, with Banton one of five of them who were in the starting line-up.
Banton said: "The manager has definitely brought in players he believes can keep Plymouth in the League.
"I'm sure, if we carry on this way, in a couple of weeks' time we won't be down there. We will be looking to just push on and be safe."
Reid led Argyle's attack on Saturday in a 4-1-4-1 formation, with Banton and Paris Cowan-Hall either side of him. On-loan Reading striker Gozie Ugwu made his debut for Argyle as a late substitute for Reid. Banton said: "We've got a good shape defensively and we've got the pace of me, Paris, Reuben and Gozie, when he came on, so we can get in behind teams."