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Hurst: Point was the least we deserved

5 October 2019

Manager Paul Hurst felt a point was the least his side deserved for their performance in the 2-2 League Two away draw at Plymouth Argyle on Saturday.

Alex Gilliead, early on, and Abo Eisa, in the third minute of second-half stoppage time, both notched their first goals for the club as United claimed a hard-earned point at Home Park.

Hurst said afterwards: “Both teams had chances but I did feel we had some really good spells in the game. We were in front once and also had chances to go ahead again at 1-1, and then who knows what might have happened.

"If we hadn't have got at least a point with the way we played, that would have been very rough on the players and undeserved. At least in the end we got something to take back on the long journey home.

“I’m just really pleased with the players, as I felt it was an excellent performance with a team where there were a couple of lads getting their first 90 minutes for a while. There are people still carrying some knocks and they got through it, and never gave it up. Kev (Kevin van Veen) is still feeling his ribs too and you could see that the longer the game went on.

“The never say die spirit was highlighted by the goal where Eisa has come on and done what we said we need to do if we win that first header, where there needs to be someone running beyond. He did that and took his goal extremely well to earn a deserved point.

"Levi (Sutton) was one of those playing his first 90 minutes and he really put a shift in. He grew into the game and did better on the ball in the second-half alongside Yann (Songo'o). He also had to do a bit of a job today on Danny Mayor who, for me, is arguably the best player in the division and causes teams endless problems. He still had one or two moments but Levi did really well and it showed what type of lad he is to be honest. It's the first time I've had him available for a league game and he can certainly stake a claim going forward.

"I'm pleased for him because he lost a bit of form, and perhaps a bit of confidence. We've had some words with him and hopefully that's the start of better times for him.

“I felt there was some very good football played by both teams. Plymouth are known for that and I think today we showed we can play some good football as well. For all the good football we played though, it was a direct ball, a flick on, forward run and good finish that got us the point.

“Our first goal was the best of the game with numerous passes to get in, and a really good run by Alex Gilliead to get across the front, and a good finish.

“I was delighted with the players who gave the fans who’ve travelled this far a bit of a reward there, and I think we deserved it.”

The manager explained more about the reasoning for James Perch and Ryan Colclough coming off, and also hopes to have Andy Butler and Jamie Ward back available for selection next weekend following illness this week.

“It was a hip flexor issue for James, which came when he was shielding the ball out of play at one point. He was really stiffening up at half-time,” added the boss.

“Ryan caught the studs of an opposing player and has a couple of cuts on there, and it’s a bit numb where he was caught at the moment. I think the early signs are, having spoken to him and the physio, he’ll be okay. He’s missed a lot of football and the last thing anyone wants is for him to miss more.

“Andy Butler and Jamie Ward should hopefully be back next week, and Kgosi (Ntlhe) woke up this morning struggling with illness too. With Perchy having to come off, we had to bring him on at half-time and I thought he was very good for us when he came on. You have to get on with these things, and there will be other managers and teams up and down the country dealing with things, but it would be nice to have one week where we’re injury-free and get everyone back.

"If that happens, I'm going to have some really really tough decisions to make. I'm confident in the squad moving forward and don't see anything but positive times for us, if we can get people fit and for a number of games.

“As we’ve shown today, we have got a good squad. Our league position currently isn’t showing that but more performances like that and I’m sure we’ll yield a lot more points.”

"It's a long, long trip for the fans and we are very grateful for the support. I'm just pleased we managed to get that late goal and send them home with something," the boss concluded as he showed his appreciation for the 110 supporters who made the trip.

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