REPORT: Argyle 5 Lincoln 0Argyle 5
Reid 4, pen 24, 35, Alessandra 5, Boyce og 65
Lincoln City 0
by RICK COWDERY
ARGYLE eased into the second round of the FA Cup with Budweiser as Reuben Reid became the first Pilgrim to score a hat-trick for seven and a half years.
The first-round replay was effectively over as a contest before the fifth minute, by which time Argyle were two goals to the good, having spurned at least three chances before, first, Reid and, then, Lewis Alessandra, netted.
Reid’s second came from the penalty spot midway through the first half, after full-debutant Tope Obadeyi was fouled, and, ten minutes before the break, he completed the first treble by a Pilgrim since Vincent Pericard’s starting home debut against Coventry City in February 2006.
With four goals in the first 35 minutes, the Pilgrims had equalled their scoring efforts in the previous 720 at Home Park this season.
A fifth goal, scored by Alessandra but wrongly credited as an own goal by Andrew Boyce, came midway through the second half in which the Pilgrims understandably took their foot off the gas, job done.
Argyle will now play Welling United – like Lincoln, a Skrill Premier League side – in the second round, over the weekend of December 7-8.
Pilgrims’ manager John Sheridan had made four changes to his starting personnel from the weekend’s Sky Bet League 2 game at York, as well as reverting to a 4-4-2 line-up.
Andres Gurrieri came in for his first start of the season on the right side of a midfield to which Luke Young was recalled and which saw on-loan Obadeyi make his first home appearance in place of Rommy Boco.
Young’s inclusion and the 20% trimming of the engine-room saw Curtis Nelson drop back to become Neal Trotman’s central defensive partner in preference to Guy Branston. Jamie Reckord’s illness that forced his half-time substitution in Saturday’s 1-1 come-from-behind draw meant Durrell Berry was switched to left-back, with Max Blanchard on the right side.
Lincoln’s starting 11 showed two changes from the one that had started the 0-0 draw in the first game between the two sides 11 days previously. Forward Nick Wright and midfielder Todd Jordan dropped to the substitutes’ bench, swapping places with Mo Fofana and Luke Foster.
Argyle’s line-up was clearly designed with attack in mind, and it took only moments for the players to live up to the expectation.
Reid’s powerful run took him away from the Lincoln defence, only for goalkeeper Paul Farman to stop his low shot. The under-pressure custodian did similar with Gurrieri’s long-range drive – though none too convincingly – before the Argentinean teed up Alessandra to drive to the bye-line and set up another half-chance which Farman spilled.
The creaking dam was burst after another mistake by the hitherto error-prone ’keeper, who, as he attempted to start a Lincoln attack from a backpass, kicked the ball straight to Reid. Argyle’s leading marksman returned the ball with maximum interest, driving a pluperfect shot past Farman snugly into the corner of the goal.
Less than a minute and a half later, the Pilgrims were two to the good, with Reid this time the provider. His pass over the top of the defence was sweetly timed for Alessandra’s whippet run through the middle, and an imperious lob from the edge of the penalty area took the ball high over the on-rushing Farman and dropped inside the same post as Reid’s shot.
The Pilgrims’ slickness continued to cause problems for City, although the visitors were not without their moments and Cole provided ammunition for the argument that Argyle have the two best goalkeepers in the division with a splendid save from Tom Miller.
Miller played the villain’s role in Argyle’s third goal, bringing down Obadeyi – who, moments earlier, had almost literally left him standing – in the penalty area. Reid confidently converted his third spot-kick of the season to put him on a hat-trick with three-quarters of the game still to go.
It took only another 11 minutes to lay the ghost of Pericard, (another loan striker) to net three goals in one game, back in the mists of time (February 18, 2006 to be exact). Gurrieri made it relatively easy for him with a pass that did not so much ask to be finished off, as implored.
The half ended with the increasingly involved Gurrieri firing in an angled shot that Farman did well to push around his post and Argyle in complete control of proceedings.
The second half began in heavy rain, which was blown around Home Park by an icy wind, but, as it eased, so Argyle eased back into their first-half stride and Alessandra fired just over from outside the area.
Cole made his second save of the match to keep out Ben Tomlinson’s raking drive from distance before Reid was withdrawn, to unanimous applause, in favour of teenager Tyler Harvey.
The visitors showed their game side by taking the match to the Pilgrims, who were understandably on cruise-control, and Cole was called on to keep out Alan Power’s placed side-footer before Tomlinson nearly capitalised on substitute Jake Sheridan’s low cross.
Alessandra added goal number five just after the hour, although the strike was cruelly taken away from him by the good gentlemen of the local Press, who decided that Andrew Boyce’s attempts to keep out the on-target shot merited it being credited as an own goal. A crucial vote came from Danny Salman, a former Pilgrim himself, which makes it even more of a shame.
And that, apart from a brief cameo by Dominic Blizzard which saw Conor Hourihane fail to complete a full 90 minutes for the first time this season, was really that.
A first Argyle win in the competition for six seasons; a first hat-trick by a Pilgrim for seven and a half years: the Pilgrims’ Cup (with Budweiser) indeed runneth over.
Argyle (4-4-2): 1 Jake Cole; 4 Maxime Blanchard, 16 Neal Trotman, 17 Curtis Nelson, 2 Durrell Berry; 27 Andres Gurrieri, 14 Luke Young, 6 Conor Hourihane (capt, 11 Dominic Blizzard 65), 26 Tope Obadeyi; 7 Lewis Alessandra (8 Rommy Boco 73), 9 Reuben Reid (18 Tyler Harvey 58). Substitutes (not used): 3 Andre Blackman, 5 Guy Branston, 20 Hamza Bencherif, 23 Luke McCormick (gk).
Lincoln City (3-5-2); 1 Paul Farman; 5 Andrew Boyce, 27 Luke Foster (12 Jake Sheridan 58), 23 Nat Brown; 2 Tom Miller, 19 Jon Nolan, 6 Mamadou Fofana, 8 Alan Power (capt), 3 Sean Newton; 22 Marlon Jackson, 11 Ben Tomlinson (10 Nick Wright 86), Substitutes (not used): 4 Todd Jordan, 7 Waide Fairhurst, 15 Dan Gray, 17 Bohan Dixon, 31 David Preece (gk).
Booked: Tomlinson 11.
Referee: Darren Deadman.
Attendance: 3,324 (99 away).
Details of ticketing for the second-round match against Welling United on the weekend of December 7-8 will be posted as soon as we have them.
To enjoy Home Park’s renowned hospitality at the second-round game, contact James or Elaine on 302204, email firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.