Sheridan frustrated as a lack of confidence and urgency leads to stalemate
Plymouth Argyle manager John Sheridan was "very frustrated" after his side's goalless draw against relegation rivals Accrington Stanley at Home Park on Saturday.
Sheridan highlighted a lack of confidence among the players as he reflected on what was a very poor performance from the Pilgrims, especially before half-time.
It was his second match as manager, following a 2-1 home win against Morecambe a fortnight earlier. The size of the task facing Sheridan in trying to lead Argyle to Football League survival will be crystal clear to him now.
Argyle are only clear of the npower League Two relegation zone on goal difference after the draw against Accrington. Sheridan said: "We wanted to win the game. I was very frustrated with the way we played, the first half especially.
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"There was no urgency and I expect there to be, with the position we're in and the way we've been training.
"We've been bright in training but we just didn't get going at all in the first half. They [Accrington] dictated the game without causing us many problems. They had one cleared off the line but we didn't really create anything, so I was very disappointed with the way we played in the first half."
Sheridan thought there was an improvement from Argyle in the second half, particularly after Luke Young was sent on as a 65th-minute substitute.
Young replaced Maxime Blanchard in the centre of midfield and impressed the Pilgrims' boss. Sheridan said: "I think, when I brought Luke on, he changed the game.
"He was the best player on the pitch. He just looked confident in himself. He wanted to move the ball quickly and create things."
One of Argyle's best chances came moments after Young had entered the fray, when striker Reuben Reid fired high and wide from close range.
Sheridan said: "We had one or two opportunities in the second half. Reuben's chance was probably the best in the game. If he had scored there, I think we would have gone on and won."
One consolation for Sheridan was Argyle kept their first clean-sheet in eight games, and only their fourth in League Two all season. He said: "It's not the result we really wanted, but it's a clean-sheet and a point. I've got to just accept that now. It was a stop-start game, with all the injuries."
Argyle would have moved above Accrington on goal difference had they beaten them at Home Park. Instead, they remain three points behind them, having played the same number of matches.
Sheridan said: "Accrington will be pleased with the point because it keeps the distance between us. If we would have got the result we wanted, we would have gone above them.
"It feels like a defeat. It's going to be hard to try to get confidence into the players. We're trying our best. We want them to believe they can win games, but because of where we are everyone is on edge.
"The fans got right behind us again. It's a shame we didn't get the winner for them. We've got to get some confidence into the players as quickly as possible. We know we've got to win the game against Dagenham [at Home Park next Saturday] now."
Argyle were forced to change goalkeepers in the 43rd minute because of a hamstring injury to Rene Gilmartin. He was replaced by Jake Cole, who made an excellent save from experienced Accrington striker James Beattie deep into stoppage time at the end of the match.
Sheridan admitted: "I thought Jake did well when he came on. It was a great save at the end."