Plymouth manager Ryan Lowe was happy to see Luke Jephcott prove a point at his expense after coming off the bench to net an 86th-minute winner in the 2-1 FA cup second-round victory against Rochdale at Spotland.
The Pilgrims were under the cosh after Aaron Morley had cancelled out Jordan Garrick’s first-half opener but Jephcott came off the bench late on to score with virtually his first touch.
“That’s the magic of the FA Cup, we get a goalscorer who comes on the pitch off the bench and is in the right place at the right time,” said Lowe.
“I took him off last week as I wasn’t quite happy with one of his performances, but he’s been excellent all week in training and he’s come on and done the business and he’s proved a point to me, which I like. When you get taken off the pitch and then you don’t get picked you have to show the manager your enthusiasm to go again.
“We haven’t played as well as we normally would, we’ve played a lot better in games and lost. So we weren’t great but we’ve managed to win an FA Cup tie. Credit to Rochdale, they are a good footballing side and they pushed us further than we expected.
“Luke has said he’d like Liverpool in the next round and I think that’s because he knows I want Liverpool and he probably thinks I’ll pick him for that! It is a squad game though and whoever we get in the next round, we’ll relish it.”
Garrick had headed Plymouth into an 18th-minute lead when he met Ryan Broom’s cross and guided a finish inside Jay Lynch’s near post.
Morley brought Dale level after 55 minutes, curling home a stunning finish from 25 yards.
James Wilson and Danny Mayor both hit the woodwork for Plymouth, but Dale had chances of their own and were on top in the closing stages.
That was until Jephcott struck after 86 minutes, making the most of Jake Beesley’s mis-control in attempting to clear a corner and rifling into the roof of the net from close range.
Rochdale boss Robbie Stockdale was disappointed to concede a late goal.
He said: “That was a tough one to take. When we analyse the game, I didn’t think in the first half we were at our best, I’d have liked us to have done better though I didn’t think we were particularly poor – we just lacked our normal composure.
“In the second half I thought we were excellent, we were very good.
“I know Plymouth hit the post a couple of times but in general play, I thought we were the stronger team.
“I was thinking we were going to win it late on with momentum building, so to lose it feels very disappointing.”
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