Adams praise as Hartley sends PAFC back to Wembley

Plymouth Argyle central defender Peter Hartley courtesy & copyright DAVE ROWNTREEPlymouth Argyle FC manager Derek Adams lauded matchwinner Peter Hartley for the dramatic stoppage time winner which sealed the greens' League Two play-off place.

Adams' Argyle and an anticipated 35,000 fans will now make the Monday May 30 pilgrimage to Wembley, where the opponents will be Accrington Stanley or AFC Wimbledon.

Adams said: “It was a great ball in from Graham Carey and a great header by Peter at the back post. We're always difficult to deal with from set plays because of our height and delivery.”

Hartley’s last minute goal ensured a 3-2 aggregate win – 1-0 on the night - over south coast rivals Portsmouth, supported by 1696 fans in a 15,011 crowd.

Scotsman Adams, in his first year in charge at Plymouth, said: “It is a fantastic achievement for the football club, just to get to Wembley. It's 20 years since Plymouth Argyle have been there, and we're going back.

“The fans were fantastic from start to finish again."

Hartley's goal staved off extra time.

Adams said: “Jake Jervis hit the post, then we had a couple of chances over the bar and near-misses. Nearer to the end of the game you get a bit worried that Portsmouth might nick one at the other end.

"It got to that stage in the game where it looked like it was going to go to extra time but the players are always believing, and that's something we've drilled into them. They have got very good energy levels. They started off the season on the running track and it's prepared them well for the end of the season.

“But to score in the way we did is very good for us, because we've had hard times away to Exeter, away to Accrington, and if we hadn't lost those two games we would have won automatic promotion.

Adams praised his opposite number at Portsmouth: “I've got to say to Paul Cook as well: he was man enough to come in and speak to our players after the game and wish them all the best, and so did their chairman and backroom staff. Not an easy thing to do after you've been defeated. I'm very grateful for them to do that.”

SWSN star Peter Hartley

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