2013-14 in Review: Top Five Away Games
LAST week, we brought to you our selection of the top five fixtures to have taken place at Home Park in the 2013-14 season.You can peruse and critique our selections at this link.
It could certainly be argued that many of our best moments in the season actually came whilst on the road. The loyal and vociferous travelling Green Army saw plenty of cracking performances away from Home Park, as a reward for the 11,000 miles - give or take - they collectively endured.
Let us know on Twitter or Facebook and join in the debate using the hashtag #PAFCTopFive is you would like to take issue with, or endorse, our lists. We will have plenty more to come during the close-season.
For now, let us set off beyond the sails of Marsh Mills, past the Somerset triumvirate of Humphrey the M5 camel, the Willow Man and the garish (yet green) Morrisons depot, stop off at any service station of our choosing (yet always Gordano on the way home) and delve into our top five.
5) Wycombe Wanderers 0 Argyle 1 - Sky Bet League 2, Tuesday, March 11, 2014
This may not have been the most barnstorming away performance of all time, but it was a most satisfying evening out in Buckinghamshire. Argyle, playing at the home of Rugby giants Wasps, did not swarm their opponents, but found the necessary sting in the tale via Conor Hourihane's 48th-minute goal to claim a vital three points.
With Olympic gold medallists (Greg and Jonny Searle) and a Rugby World Cup winner (Ben Purrington's uncle Richard Hill) in the Argyle end, the Pilgrims put in a disciplined and controlled performance. The Green Army, meanwhile, who comprised more than 20% of the 3,000+ crowd, had an outstanding night, roaring an encouraging their heroes. Everyone did their job, and the 1-0 victory was thoroughly deserved.
4) Portsmouth 3 Argyle 3 - Sky Bet League 2, Saturday May 3, 2014
A meaningless game. Last day of the season. Nothing to play for. Odds for for a bore-fest in front of basically nobody, right?
If that is the way you think - behave yourselves. Over 18,000 packed out Fratton Park - including 1,600 Green Army - in the May sunshine and demonstrated the (we are not frightened to say it) potential of the two clubs. Pleasingly, the players on either side lived up to their ends of the bargain and served up a six-goal finale that promised much for either side in the new campaign to come.
The real story, in truth, was in the stands. The atmosphere was spot on. Banter, barbs and insults traded, but never spilling over beyond mere words, and mutual respect shown at the conclusion of the contest as supporters and players of either side acknowledged the others. Football - done the right way.
3) Cheltenham 1 Argyle 3 - Sky Bet League 2, Saturday, August 17, 2013
A mile from Cheltenham Town's Abbey Business Stadium sits Prestbury Park racecourse, home of the finest exhibition of horse racing in the world - the annual Cheltenham Festival. On this day, Argyle leapt spring-heeled over every hurdle in front of them, and dominated the Robins like AP McCoy riding a favourite against the donkeys that ride along Blackpool beach.
That is not to categorise Cheltenham Town as donkeys, you understand. It is merely to point out the vast difference between the two sides in the first half. Argyle shot away from the tape on the bridle, leaving their rivals - a side who the previous season had come close to escaping the division via the play-offs - a dot on the horizon, clamouring desperately to get back on the bit and in the race.
It never happened. Argyle's three first-half goals - from Marvin Morgan, Conor Hourihane and Rommy Boco - were answered by only one second-half effort by Cheltenham, who were a furlong and a half back as Argyle breezed past the judge. No photo finish here; no stewards inquiry required. It was the Pilgrims' maiden victory of the season, and possibly the best 45 minutes they played in the entire campaign.
2) Oxford 2 Argyle 3 - Sky Bet League 2, Sunday, December 26, 2013
Oxford United, second in the league at Christmas, billed the visit of Argyle as 'the Big Match'. The festive timing of the game and their own lofty spot in the division - plus the knowledge of the famous travelling Green Army - saw Oxford mobilise themselves in a big way. They did a decent job off the pitch; pyrotechnics and a (pretty good) opera singer greeted the players as they entered the three-sided arena, while flags waved from all portions of the vast home support.
On the pitch, though, Argyle did a number on them. All five goals in the game came in the second half, but, crucially, three of them were ours, with Caolan Lavery's opener being added to by a Reuben Reid brace. It was a high-quality game, and of course one more fondly remembered by us - after all, it gave us the impetus of extra merry Christmas. Oh what fun it is to see...
1) Fleetwood 0 Argyle 4 - Sky Bet League 2, Tuesday, February 25, 2014
A night 150 or so Pilgrims will never forget. Argyle travelled to Fleetwood, a team cruising along in the play-off positions, having been thumped 4-0 just ten days earlier. A battling win at Dagenham had softened that impact, but it prepared no-one for what was to come at Highbury Stadium. Argyle were dominant, magnificent and unplayable. Their mobile line-up and fluid use of 3-5-2 completely undid Fleetwood, as goals from Reuben Reid, Luke Young, Max Blanchard and Conor Hourihane saw us record our best away result of this season and many others before it.
The result preceded a 5-0 hammering of Morecambe that we placed at number 1 in our list of exciting home games during 2013-14. It really was a pretty good week, was it not?