Superb Argyle Beat Sorry Reading
Argyle 4 Reading 1
Judge 13(pen) 63. Sigurdsson 62.
Larrieu 6, Duguid 7, Arnason 9, Johnson 7, Sawyer 7, Judge 8(Noone 6), Fletcher 7, Summerfield 6(Folly), Clark 8, Mackie 7, Fallon 7(Barnes 7).
The Great Escape is still possible!
A superb team display from Argyle sealed the three points in a must-win game.
It wasn't just the win and the score-line that was impressive, it was also the entertaining way the team played and attacked Reading that caught the eye, this was easily the best performance of the season and probably the best attacking display since the days of Ian Holloway.
The players usually leave the pitch at half time and full time with boos and jeers ringing in their ears but not today, the team fully deserved the standing ovation at the end of each half; the fans' hands were stinging red - not from the bitter cold but from the constant applause given to the team!
The Paul Mariner-John Carver partnership kept the same winning team and formation from the surprise win at Cardiff on Boxing Day, which meant the failed 4-3-1-2 formation has finally been laid to rest in favour of the good old 4-4-2 line-up.
Argyle were up for this from the first whistle, a Clark cross was met by Judge but his shot went straight at Federici in the Reading goal. The crowd could see that the players meant business and were fully behind the team creating a good atmosphere around Home Park.
Summerfield showed some nice touches in midfield with good passing and timely interceptions.
Clark and Judge hugged the touchline and gave some width and every attacking move seemed to go through these two, highlighted when Clark got involved in the first of Argyle`s four goals. His through ball found Mackie advancing into the area and despite going towards the byline and away from danger Reading defender Ingimarsson hauled him down, the ref pointed to the spot. A soft penalty from Reading's point of view but that's not Argyle's concern in the middle of a relegation battle.
Judge stepped up and thumped it down the middle in a Wottonesque style to give Argyle a deserved lead.
Reading enjoyed some pressure after that goal and forced several corners and free-kicks but apart from one goalmouth scramble the Royals failed to trouble Larrieu in the Argyle goal.
Clark again was Argyle's main attacking threat and yet another cross from him found Mackie but his header flew wide, if the striker had been a few inches taller his effort might have been on target.
A Bertrand free-kick found its way through a crowd of players but Larrieu scrambled it away at the expense of a corner and shortly after McAnuff had a mazy run through the Argyle defence and had a shot that Larrieu pushed away for another corner.
The Pilgrims kept their lead and left the pitch at half-time to loud applause.
If you thought the first half was good, hold on for the second half!
Argyle started the second half in the same attacking vein, a clever lay-off from Fallon left Clark with a clear 20-yard shot on-goal but his effort whizzed just wide and might have even scraped the post?
Still not to worry because ArgyleBrazil kept attacking and scored another two goals in four minutes but also conceded one.
A corner from Judge was met by the impressive Arnason who thumped a header in to give Argyle a 2-0 lead. Plain sailing now - get the pipe and slippers out!
Hold on, Reading won a corner that was taken by McNuff, a goalmouth scramble followed with the ball partially cleared back to McNuff whose cross was met by Sigurdsson who headed in just like his fellow Ice man did for Argyle just a few minutes previously.
Nevermind, we'll just go right up the other end and score another goal and what a superb goal it was. Mackie, the chaser of lost causes supreme, chased another lost cause near the touchline, he played in Clark who fired in a near post cross that was met by the flying Judge who headed in to make it 3-1. Fantastic, simply fantastic!
Home Park was rocking!
Fletcher had a 30-yard volley (a difficult skill made easy) saved by Federici, while the injured Judge was replaced by Noone. An attacking substitution from Mariner, a recent Argyle manager would have sent on a defensive-minded player with the team winning 3-1. Clark switched to the right and Noone played on the left.
Fallon soon followed Judge off the pitch and was replaced by Barnes.
A Reading free-kick from Sigurdsson was saved by Argyle. Reading were now looking a poor and beaten team.
A clever header from Summerfield sent Barnes away on goal but his shot was pushed away by Federici at the expense of another Green corner.
Summerfield then swapped places on the bench with Folly; the midfielder looked to have picked-up an injury.
Clark was again involved in an Argyle goal, this time his quick free-kick was rolled into Mackie who had a shot saved by Federici but he fumbled the ball and there was Barnes to tidy up and stab the ball in from close range. Argyle 4 Reading 1.
Argyle saw out the last few minutes with no alarms and left the pitch to a second standing ovation.
We've been waiting all season for this! Argyle looked to score on every attack, something that could not have been said in other games this season. Today the team just 'clicked', everything went right, the players were a team and were backed and cheered by the crowd.
Arnason was a class act at the back once again; he never panics but just keeps playing it simple, the worry is that he's free to talk to other clubs in the next few days. Please, can we keep our transfer embargo?
Clark was a revelation on the wings; he started on the left but moved to the right when Noone came on. He was involved in three of the goals but his workrate also caught the eye.
Summerfield had a steady game; he started off really well but became anonymous as the game wore on. He`s very good with the ball at his feet but suffers when the game becomes a battle, he also looks skinnier.
Duguid played well at right-back, perhaps this is his position now. He picked-up an injury in the pre-match warm-up but was able to carry on.
Johnson and Sawyer played their part and never let the team down. Mackie looks back to his best and was full of running, while the team simply cannot do without Judge, fingers crossed that Blackburn do not recall him in January.