Pilgrims boss bemused by collapse after break
MANAGER Carl Fletcher admitted he was 'shells-hocked' after Argyle lost 3-1 to Port Vale on Saturday despite scoring the opening goal.
It was the Pilgrims' second defeat in three home League Two games this season and dropped them to 19th position.
They had led 1-0 at half-time, courtesy of a superb 30-yard strike from left-back Robbie Williams.
Argyle dominated the first period, with some of their passing football the best seen from them at Home Park for some time.
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But Vale hit back after the break, scoring three times between the 66th and 78th minutes to leave with maximum points.
Fletcher said: "I'm a little bit shell-shocked. You come out of the game thinking 'how have we lost that one?'
"We controlled the first half, played some real nice stuff and got a deserved lead.
"It eased off a little bit at the end of the first half but we were still fully in control and we tried to push on in the second half, but it wasn't to be.
"We got sucker-punched and from a game we were in control of and winning we have come out with a defeat."
Fletcher continued: "We speak to the players about trying to keep the ball. We have got some good players and they took it on board and really did well in the first half.
"We had some good movement from Macca (Alex MacDonald) and Baz (Onismor Bhasera), and we played some nice stuff, which was pleasing.
"It's just disappointing that when you lose the goals in the second half you get away from doing that.
"It's important to do the right things, whether you are winning or losing, or you are having a good day or a bad day.
"If it's the right thing to do in the first half when you are winning and getting joy from it, it's the still the right thing to do later on in the game."
Fletcher was asked why he thought Argyle had struggled in the second half after leading at the break.
He replied: "It's hard to put your finger on it. Losing goals makes a difference. After the first one, it went downhill from there.
"We will look at the DVD, put our finger on things and speak to people, and we will move on to tomorrow (when Argyle are at home to Bristol Rovers)."
Fletcher was not surprised Vale put in a much-improved performance after half-time.
The visitors equalised in the 66th minute from the penalty spot, after a needless foul by Argyle midfielder Luke Young.
"They (Vale) were a goal down and had nothing to lose," said Fletcher, about the start to the second half.
"From my point of view, we still had good control of the game and weren't too troubled until the penalty went in.
"We lost our shape and lost our discipline a little bit, and didn't do the things we should be doing, which was disappointing.
"I enjoyed watching us in the first half," added the Pilgrims boss. "We got the ball down and kept it.
"There were some real plus points, but in certain periods of the game it was disappointing we weren't where we needed to be.
"You are not going to control a game for 90 minutes and it's important when you have those little periods you see them through and then come out the other side, but we didn't do that."
Williams' goal was his third of the season in only his fifth appearance – a good strike rate by any standards.
Fletcher said: "We know Willo has got a good strike on him. It was good for us to score the goal. It came when we were in control of the game and deserved it, I think.
"We were in the ascendancy and we played some nice football.
"It wasn't a case of keeping the ball for the sake of it, we were actually getting somewhere with it and getting the chances."