Plymouth Argyle 3 Coventry City 2: Holloway hails Hayles as class act

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The Independent Online

Plymouth Argyle manager Ian Holloway saluted striker Barry Hayles last night after he claimed his 11th goal of the season in Argyle's 3-2 victory over Coventry.

Hayles, 34, was a £100,000 buy from Millwall in summer when Holloway first arrived at Plymouth. His 48th-minute curling shot from the edge of the penalty area proved to be the winner after Coventry substitute Michael Mifsud's 70th-minute volley threw the managerless Sky Blues a late lifeline.

Holloway said: "Barry's a born winner. If it's tiddlywinks, he wants to win and I think he is showing that. I don't know what I would do without him.

"His game is based on pace and power and he can go on and on now because he's got his hunger back, look at Teddy Sheringham. If he can keep playing at his age, so can Barry. That finish was top drawer, class. I am delighted with the quality I have got out there on the pitch.

"It was not the best of conditions, but given the conditions, I thought my lads were superb."

On-loan QPR striker Kevin Gallen fired Argyle into an 18th-minute lead from 18 yards on his home debut before recalled City winger Chris Birchall steered in Jay Tabb's left-wing cross to restore parity four minutes later.

Argyle's Hungarian playmaker Akos Buzsaky then scored with a sublime 20-yard drive and then teed up Hayles to make it 3-1 in the 48th minute.

Hayles nearly put Argyle further ahead but his header flashed just wide before Maltese international Mifsud gave Coventry a semblance of hope after his introduction.

Coventry caretaker boss Adrian Heath said: "I could not ask any more from the players. It was just sloppy goals and individual errors which have cost us again - as they have been doing in recent games.

"It's not always stopping the last shot but stopping the opposition from getting into those positions. I made changes because I had players champing at the bit to play and I thought that a lot of the players out there showed the desire to win.

"I can't fault them for effort given the conditions of the pitch, which was not the best. I would love to keep this job. People are very dispirited but we just need to pick ourselves up."

Plymouth Argyle: McCormick; Connolly, Seip, Aljofree, Sawyer, Norris, Buzsaky (Ebanks-Blake, 81), Nalis, Halmosi (Sinclair, 76), Gallen, Hayles (Fallon, 81). Substitutes not used: Hodges, Summerfield.

Coventry City: Steele; McNamee, Page, Hall, Whing, Birchall (Thornton, 62), Doyle, Hughes, Tabb (Mifsud, 61), John, Adebola. Substitutes not used: Lee-Barrett (gk), Kyle, Virgo.

Referee: S Tanner (Somerset).