Exeter Thumped 3-0 At Home Park
Natural order was resumed with Argyle easily beating Exeter City 3-0 in the Devon Derby at Home Park.
Devon will always be Green!
The result today was huge, a thumping defeat against Exeter - a team who had won seven in a row plus heavy defeats for Carlisle and Wycombe means that while Argyle may not have one foot in League One we at least have a little toe!
It was the most complete home performance of the season and while Exeter were guilty of missing at least two clear cut chances you have to ask just how have they gone 12 games unbeaten? The answer is probably they are not used to going behind in a game because during those 12 unbeaten games they were never behind and once we got in front they just couldn't cope with us.
All four new players making their home debuts played a part in the win, especially Ryan Taylor and Matty Kennedy but the best player on the pitch was Graham Carey who is returning to form at just the right time.
It was also a successive clean sheet helped by a new tactical change when defending corners. The players now mark zonally with Taylor, Yann Songo'o, Jakub Sokolik and Sonny Bradley standing on the edge of the six yard box not marking any player. It was obvious this change was worked on during the training sessions in Marbella and it worked!
The first battle once again took place off the pitch with the guy in charge of the playing the music over the PA trying his best to ruin the atmosphere, it seemed every time the fans tried to chant he would increase the volume. The club never learn from this.
He couldn't spoil the terrific atmosphere once the game started.
The team was unchanged from the win against Cambridge, although Jimmy Spencer replaced Nathan Blissett on the bench, the former Torquay striker did take part in the pre-match warm-up.
We had to weather Exeter pressure at the start of the game, they looked a confident and attacking team. Once we survived the onslaught and several corners we grew into the game and Exeter found it difficult to contain the front four of Taylor, Sarcevic, Kennedy and Carey.
Our first goal came from a superb team move finishing with Carey finding Kennedy with a through ball that only he could play, Kennedy waited and waited before slotting it past Pym in the Exeter goal.
1-0 and Home Park erupted!
Taylor, despite no protection from the referee, was causing problems for Exeter, he led the line well and brought other players into the game. He had a great chance at the far post from a Carey free-kick but Pym made a good save.
Reid chased down a back pass to McCormick and nearly scored when McCormick's kick hit him but luckily bounced wide.
The fussy ref disallowed an Argyle goal for a foul on Pym.
We increased our lead just before half-time, always a good time to score but especially sweet against that lot up the road. This time it was Kennedy who was the provider and Taylor slotted in a similar goal to the first goal.
2-0, half time and surely game over?
As expected Exeter came at us at the start of the second half, helped by Carey giving away the ball in dangerous areas - twice!
Luke McCormick made a great save from Brown and Reuben Reid headed wide after being left unmarked, it would have been easier to score - he's still a Pilgrim!
Although we were not at our attacking best of the first half we still created chances during the second period, we did live dangerously and there was always the nagging feeling that if Exeter got one goal they would get a second.
Kennedy and Carey swapped wings and Ryan Donaldson replaced David Fox in midfield.
Just as we entered injury time Pym brought down substitute Jake Jervis, after a long chat between the ref and his assistant the penalty was confirmed and Jervis thumped the spot kick high and into the net to make it a 3-0 thumping and 5-0 on aggregate, most of the team celebrated with the fans in the Devonport End.
Was there every any doubt Carey is a class player? He ran the show today and most League Two teams will struggle to contain the front four of him, Taylor, Kennedy and Antoni Sarcevic.
Taylor battled and fought upfront but also has a great touch, the complete striker.
Kennedy is an exciting player, he has a low centre of gravity and keeps the ball close to him and gets fans on their feet, he's not afraid to move inside rather than just get white paint on his boots on the wing.
Sarcevic had a good game and made some fantastic runs but wasn't always found.
Sokolik looks very composed and for a defender he has good distribution.
Songo'o was better without the ball rather than with it, he gave away several passes during the first half but recovered to have a better second half.
Today a huge message was sent out.
Exeter fans spent most of the second half abusing McCormick rather than supporting their team.
Man of the match: Carey.
McCormick 7, Threlkeld 7, Sokolik 7, Bradley 7, Sawyer 7, Fox 7, Songo'o 6, Sarcevic 7, Carey 9, Kennedy 8, Taylor 8. Subs: Donaldson 5, Jervis 6, Slew n/a.