New midfield role suits Plymouth Argyle captain Conor Hourihane
CAPTAIN Conor Hourihane admitted he revelled in a more attacking midfield role when Plymouth Argyle beat Barnet 2-1 at Home Park on Saturday.
Hourihane scored the first goal, a stunning 36th minute equaliser, and set up the second one for Ronan Murray as the Pilgrims came from behind to win the crucial League Two tussle.
Argyle moved up one position from the bottom-of-the-table, and are now only a point behind 21st-placed Barnet.
Manager John Sheridan tried out new tactics against Barnet, playing a 4-3-3 formation for the first time, and it paid off.
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The Pilgrims produced their best performance under Sheridan, with Lee Cox playing the deepest of the midfield trio.
That allowed Hourihane and Andres Gurrieri, who made his first start for two-and-a-half months, to push into attacking positions.
Hourihane told Herald Sport: "Playing 4-3-3 suits me a lot better.
"If the gaffer plays 4-4-2 and I'm playing, it's no problem as well, but I do like 4-3-3. It lets me get in the box a bit more, and make forward runs to push us up the pitch.
"It was a good result for us and we will enjoy training this week and go to (League Two leaders) Gillingham on Saturday with a lot of confidence."
Argyle started strongly against Barnet, pressing the opposition high up the pitch and winning the ball back.
But sloppy defending from the Pilgrims allowed striker Jake Hyde to put Barnet into the lead in the 21st minute. Hourihane said: "It was a shocking goal to concede – really, really poor.
"We started the game well and were on top. I think it was probably the first time they had got into our penalty area.
"It was not good enough, but we dug in and got the equaliser. Then we got a nice early goal in the second half, which we don't get often.
"We deserved to win it. We had the better chances and put in a good performance."
Hourihane's equaliser against Barnet was his fifth goal of the season, and put him joint top of Argyle's scoring chart with Paris Cowan-Hall.
The 22-year-old midfielder netted only two times in 42 appearances last term, but has increased that tally to five from 38 games in the current campaign.
Hourihane said: "I'm delighted. I wanted to get more goals this season and they are coming slowly."
Murray's winning goal for Argyle against Barnet came in the 48th minute and was the first of his loan spell from Championship club Ipswich Town.
A miscued shot fromGurrieri ended up with Murray and after one touch of the ball he slotted past former Argyle 'keeper Graham Stack from close range.
Hourihane said: "Ronan had to be in the right position and he took it well. We probably could have had a couple more towards the end, but it wasn't to be. We still got the three points."
Argyle have five more matches at Home Park this season, starting against Capital One Cup beaten finalists Bradford City next Tuesday.
They will be followed by visits from four teams chasing either automatic promotion or a play-off place – Fleetwood Town, Exeter City, Cheltenham Town and Rotherham United.
Hourihane knows Argyle's form in those fixtures will be vital in their fight against relegation from the Football League.
He said: "We have got some tough games coming up. If the fans come back and keep getting behind us, and we keep showing the spirit and the fight we did on Saturday, I'm sure we will be okay.