We got our just rewards against Barnet, says Plymouth Argyle boss John Sheridan
MANAGER John Sheridan thought Plymouth Argyle were good value for their 2-1 victory over relegation rivals Barnet at Home Park on Saturday.
The Pilgrims had to do it the hard way, though, after falling behind to a 21st minute goal from Barnet top scorer Jake Hyde.
Captain Conor Hourihane equalised before half-time and on-loan Ipswich Town striker Ronan Murray grabbed what proved to be the winning goal in the 48th minute.
Argyle had lost one and drawn two of their previous three home games, and not scored in any of them, but put in a much-improved performance against Barnet.
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Sheridan opted to try a 4-3-3 formation for the first time and it paid off.
Argyle had more of the possession, put pressure on the visitors when they were on the ball and forced them into mistakes.
Sheridan said: "I was nervous before the game but I don't think the players showed it.
"We know what is at stake and the importance of trying to get three points, but that's the way I want us to play.
"We showed endeavour and a will to win, and I thought we passed it when we had to.
"We were a threat and had good opportunities to score more goals. They (Barnet) are a good team but I felt we played them off the park at times."
Hyde put Barnet into the lead with their first attack of any note, beating Argyle centre-back Guy Branston to a low cross and steering the ball into the net.
Sheridan said: "The goal was against the run of play, which was a big downer. They are the type of team who can do that because they do move the ball well.
"It's always a good feeling for me when you go a goal down and you have got the character and courage to come back and win the game."
Hourihane's equaliser was a superb 20-yard shot which flew past former Argyle goalkeeper Graham Stack.
Sheridan said: "The first goal was a great goal. It came after a good passage of play.
"It was simple football and it's a great finish from Conor. To be fair to him, in training he usually hits the target.
"We do lots of finishing during the week. I don't mind people missing, but if you hit the target you have got a chance of scoring."
Murray's goal was his first in seven games since signing for the Pilgrims and earned three precious points.
He slotted past Stack after a mishit shot from midfielder Andres Gurrieri bounced to him.
Sheridan said: "I'm pleased for Ronan. He's a very intelligent footballer and I think the formation suited him.
"We passed the ball and played to his strengths. He has been in and out of the team but he has trained 100 per cent and his attitude has been spot on.
"I have thrown him back in for the last couple of games and I'm really pleased he ended up scoring the winning goal."
Argyle had lost dismally 1-0 to Oxford United in their last Home Park outing on February 16.
When it was put to Sheridan that Argyle had played some fluent football against Barnet, he replied: "Well, we couldn't play any worse could we?
"If we had played any worse than we have been playing at home I would have probably packed it in myself!"
Argyle had done their homework on Barnet and that was what led to Sheridan switching to 4-3-3 for the visit of the Bees.
Andres Gurrieri was recalled to the team as part of a central midfield trio which also included Hourihane and Lee Cox.
Sheridan had seen Barnet when they lost 2-1 at Bristol Rovers recently, while coach Gary Owers was at their 2-0 home win against Southend United last Tuesday.
"I thought Andres came in and did the things he can do," said Sheridan. "He's comfortable on the ball.
"We had worked on how we were going to play. We pressed the ball a lot better than what we have done.
"We put them under pressure and were winning things in the opposition's half, which gives us a better chance of causing them problems.
"I thought we worked really hard and you could see one or two lads were tired at the end. We got our just rewards."
Argyle moved off the bottom of League Two, above AFC Wimbledon on goal difference, after the victory over Barnet.
Wimbledon lost 2-1 at Cheltenham Town, while Accrington Stanley and Torquay United stayed in relegation trouble after scrapping out a 0-0 draw in east Lancashire.
Next up for Argyle is a trip to table-topping Gillingham, who drew 1-1 at Aldershot Town, another relegation-threatened team, on Saturday.
Sheridan said: "I know Gillingham are going well but they are a team we can go and beat.
"It's one game at a time and we will try to pick up three points from each one. We will see where it takes us."