THE 2013-14 Sky Bet League 2 season was the best for Argyle in quite some time.In an occasional series during the summer, we shall be looking at some of our highlights of the 2013-14 campaign, starting with our Top Five list of games that took place at Home Park during the season.
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5) Argyle 5 Lincoln City 0 – FA Cup with Budweiser first round replay, November 20, 2013
You could argue that this was a facile win against inferior opponents, but a couple of points get this game into our top five. Firstly, Lincoln had proved tough opponents when we met them at Sincil Bank in the first game, drawing 0-0. A mid-table conference side they may have been, but we had to play well to beat them.
Second of all, Reuben Reid’s hat-trick saw him become the first person to notch a treble at Home Park since Vincent Pericard some seven-and-a-half years previously. To this point, Reuben had scored just three goals in 20 appearance in the season; this was the catalyst for him to achieve a fantastic tally of 21.
Finally, it was just so nice to see Argyle in free-scoring mode at Home Park, whoever the opponents. Reid and Lewis Alessandra were both on target in the opening five minutes, and it was 4-0 by half-time. A fifth was added late on, which was credited as an own-goal, but was in effect a second for Lewi. A great night.
4) Argyle 2 Torquay 0 – Sky Bet League 2, January 1, 2014
We all know the drill. Huge crowd at Home Park, expectations high...but the occasion fails to deliver.
That is not always the case, though, and it was not on New Year’s Day in PL2. More than 10,000 turned up for the first home Devon Derby of the season, and they were not disappointed as Argyle put in a strong performance to see off their closest geographical rivals.
This was Caolan Lavery’s final game in his astonishing mid-season cameo in a green shirt, and certainly his best. The Canadian-born forward was magnificent in scoring the opening goal and inspiring Argyle in a fluent attacking performance. Lewis Alessandra killed the game off late on with an impressive, improvised flying finish with his chest, and we completed a Christmas and New Year period that yielded 10 points out of 12.
3) Argyle 2 Port Vale 3 – FA Cup with Budweiser third round replay, January 14, 2014
It may seem odd to include a game in which we lost in a ‘Top Five’ list, but this was such an enthralling game, in which we more than played their part, that we felt it had to be included. If a neutral had watched all of our games this season, he may have ranked this as the best one to watch.
Argyle led within two minutes thanks to Andres Gurrieri’s header and, after Vale equalised through Jordan Hugill on the half-hour, renewed their lead through a stunning goal by skipper Conor Hourihane.
Vale, though, showed their class and scored twice in second half through Ben Williamson and the livewire Jennison Myrie-Williams. A late red card for Chris Lines gave Argyle a numerical advantage and a chance from the penalty spot to level the tie, but Reuben Reid’s shot was saved and Vale clung on.
The game followed a 2-2 draw at Vale Park in which Argyle recovered from a 2-0 deficit, and showed we could compete with a team who would go on to finish ninth in the division above them.
2) Argyle 2 Chesterfield 1 – Sky Bet League 2, March 18, 2014
A brace of goals from Reuben Reid saw us defeat the league leaders and leap into the play-off positions for the first time that season. Indeed, the first time in many seasons.
We know things took a downturn subsequently, but it was a fabulous feeling at the time, and a cracking performance against a team that would ultimately, comfortably, get promoted as champions.
Reuben put us in front after latching on to Lewis Alessandra’s flick, giving the Greens a half-time lead. Ritchie Humphreys levelled for John Sheridan’s old club on 57 minutes, but Reuben scored again within two minutes for what would eventually prove the winning goal.
1) Argyle 5 Morecambe 0 – Sky Bet League 2, March 1, 2014
We conclude the list as we began it, with a 5-0 win. This one, however, was a very different tale.
While the quintet of goals mentioned in our opening entry was a great deal of fun, this rout of a shell-shocked Morecambe side was part of the best week at Home Park in ten years, and continued a surge up the table.
Argyle had won at Dagenham the previous Saturday then blitzed promotion hopefuls Fleetwood 4-0 in midweek. If the Shrimps did not arrive at the Theatre of Greens shaking in their exoskeletons, they probably should have done.
If the notion of Argyle winning three games in a week was astonishing, starting a 5-0 rout with a Durrell Berry goal was implausible in the extreme. It happened, though, and Lewis Alessandra netted before the interval to make it two.
Second half goals from Curtis Nelson and Andres Gurrieri increased the advantage, and, when Alessandra added a fifth in injury time, it was against a Morecambe side bereft of confidence having been washed away by a Green tide.