Plymouth Argyle keeper Jake Cole is delighted with 'massive win'
GOALKEEPER Jake Cole is doing all he can to ensure Plymouth Argyle escape relegation from the Football League.
Cole produced another impressive performance for the relegation-threatened Pilgrims in the 2-1 win against Fleetwood Town at Home Park on Saturday.
The 27-year-old has been in fine form since the end of January, when he returned from a spell out of the side.
Cole was dropped by former Argyle manager Carl Fletcher after a 2-1 home defeat by Burton Albion in early November.
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Rene Gilmartin took over from Cole and stayed between the posts for the Pilgrims for the next three months.
However, Cole was recalled after Gilmartin suffered a hamstring injury at the end of January.
Cole told Herald Sport: "I have been pleased with the way I have played all season. I made an error for a goal in the Burton game, but that happens to all keepers here and there.
"If you have a look at the amount of games I have played I wouldn't say there have been too many mistakes."
Cole showcased his shot-stopping ability with a stunning save on the stroke of half-time.
Argyle were leading 2-0 at half-time when Fleetwood's Junior Brown got on the end of an inviting cross from Ryan Crowther.
Brown seemed certain to score as he chested the ball towards goal from close range.
However, Cole stuck out his left leg and not only got a touch to the ball but kicked it over the bar for a corner.
Had Fleetwood scored then, so close to half-time, it could have been a damaging blow for the Pilgrims.
Cole said: "It was a great delivery in, to be fair, from the guy (Crowther). I have just reacted and threw my leg at it.
"It has come off my toe and gone over the bar. It was a good reaction save. It went my way."
Fleetwood did eventually cut the deficit in the 75th minute, with a goal from striker David Ball, but they could not come up with an equaliser.
Cole said: "I had a couple of good saves throughout the game – one up high in the second half.
"I was pleased with my day's work for the team. That is a massive win for us and, hopefully, we can build on it."
Argyle had slumped to the bottom of League Two after losing 2-1 away to leaders Gillingham the previous Saturday.
They moved up one position to 23rd after drawing 0-0 at home to Bradford City on Tuesday, and are now 21st after beating Fleetwood.
All of the bottom five clubs in the table are on 40 points, though, so it is incredibly tight.
Argyle took the lead with a penalty from centre-back Paul Wotton in the 25th minute after a foul on captain Conor Hourihane.
Jason Banton and Reuben Reid were both keen to take the spot kick, but the responsibility was assumed by Wotton and he blasted the ball into the net.
Cole said: "That's experience. He struck the ball nice. I would have put him down to take it straight away."
Wotton, 35, has played at centre-back in the last couple of matches because of a groin injury to Anthony Charles and performed creditably.
Cole said: "Wottsie was excellent again. He's experienced, and good at organising and helping others around him.
"It has been good playing with him the last two games."
Argyle doubled their lead in the 39th minute when Jason Banton scored his fifth goal in nine games on loan from Championship club Crystal Palace.
Banton sent a low left-foot drive past keeper Scott Davies and into the net from 20 yards.
Cole said: "He's a positive player. He doesn't mind shooting and taking a chance, and he's really good running at players. That's a good tally as well, to get five in nine. Hopefully, there will be more of the same for him."
There was some frustration for Cole that he did not keep a second successive clean sheet.
Ball fired past Cole from a tight angle to make it 2-1, and moments later he made a crucial save to push away a shot from substitute Barry Nicholson for a corner.
Cole said: "I take pride in keeping clean sheets and we nearly had it.
"The guy has got a good finish on it and it made for a few tense moments at the end, but we held strong and got what we needed."