JOHN Coleman admitted it was no more Mr Nice Guy as his players got to sample the hairdryer treatment from the new Stanley boss.
While Dean Winnard, Andy Procter and Luke Joyce will be used to a Coleman half-time rant, it was a new experience for the rest of the Stanley squad.
But the Reds boss admitted it was needed – and it worked as Stanley held on for their second consecutive win with Coleman at the helm and their fourth in five games.
“There were some harsh words said at half-time,” said Coleman. “The players have only seen the nice side of me so far and they have quickly seen the other side.
“I want to see passion, fight and desire, and I wanted to see it in the first half. I did in the second half, it was a decent performance by the back four, but there is room for improvement. Saying that, it is a cornerstone to build on.”
In his short second reign so far at the Store First Stadium, Coleman has seen both sides of his new set of players.
Firstly there was the attacking flair in the 5-4 win over Northampton where the Reds were scoring spectacular goals for fun – but also conceding sloppy ones.
Then there was Plymouth on Saturday, where Kal Naismith scored what was something of a bobbly effort and then it was backs-to-the-walls for the Reds as they had to defend for their lives – but they did it.
“It was all about the attackers at Northampton and they got the defence out of jail,” said Coleman. “Against Plymouth, the favour has been repaid as the defence spared the attackers’ blushes.
“We didn’t reach the standards I know we can reach and things just didn’t come off for us.”
After the nine-goal thriller at Northampton, the Stanley fans were decked out with flags and banners expecting to see goals for Coleman’s first game back in the Stanley home dug-out.
But it was the visitors who were out of the blocks the quickest and tall striker Marvin Morgan should have made an early impression.
He got on the end of ex-Morecambe winger Lewis Alessandra’s cross and it was a free header but he thankfully guided it over.
Then debutant keeper Aaron Chapman, who signed on loan from Chesterfield last week, produced a wonder save to push away Nathan Thomas’s fierce blast which was heading for the top corner.
The Stanley attacks were rare but they only needed one to put the ball in the net on 13 minutes. In a neat passing move, Josh Windass found Naismith to the right of the area and he stroked the ball home – although keeper Luke McCormick will be disappointed he didn’t stop the effort at his near post.
From this point on it was all Plymouth. Curtis Nelson sent a free header over on 35 minutes while Carl McHugh also headed over from a corner.
Alessandra could only find the side-netting with the final action of the first half while Chapman denied Thomas again with his legs after the restart.
Argyle substitute Deane Smalley had a header cleared off the line by Naismith while, in a rare foray into Plymouth’s half after the break, John O’Sullivan could have doubled the lead but McCormick redeemed himself with a superb save in the final 10 minutes.
With four minutes to go, Kelvin Mellor’s run and shot ended with Nicky Hunt hacking the ball off the line and Stanley’s goal led a charmed life – but they held on.
“We won’t get away with being put under that amount of pressure every week,” added Coleman. “We have got to defend from the front and we need to address that in training. We have got to get things right.
“We are going in the right direction but this league is tight and we said at half-time that three points in this league is like gold dust and you have to fight for every one.”
Stanley: Chapman 7, Hunt 8, Aldred 8*, Atkinson 8, Winnard 7; Procter 6, Joyce 7; O’Sullivan 6 (Mingoia 84), Windass 6 (Carver 69, 6), Naismith 6, Maguire 6 (Hatfield 80). Subs: Bowerman, Goulding, McCartan, Mingoia, Simpson.