PERHAPS fittingly, the sun set on Argyle’s 2013-14 campaign with a couple of goals from a player who has led by example throughout the season.Captain Conor Hourihane took his tally to the season to nine with a strike in each half, his second gaining a point that saw the Pilgrims finish tenth in Sky Bet League 2 after having flirted with the play-offs over Christmas and into the New Year.
Argyle went behind three times at Fratton Park, thanks to Danny Hollands’ hat-trick. Reuben Reid equalised the first of his triple, before Conor clipped a free-kick around a defensive wall to level a second time – all four goals coming in a ten-minute first-half burst.
Hollands scored his third just after the interval and Portsmouth seemed to be on their way to all three points before Conor set the seal on a great full first season as skipper with an opportunistic 89th-minute points-sharer.
“I think Conor’s improved a hell of a lot,” said Argyle manager John Sheridan. “He’s got goals in him; he’s a great finisher; and he’s improved going forward – to score nine goals is a great comeback from him.
“I think he should be getting ten goal s a season. Hopefully, next season, he’ll be getting them, too; it’s always good to get goals from all areas. I expect him to be around that figure next season. Usually, when he gets a chance, he puts it away.
“He’s learning. Other than Wottsy [Paul Wotton], he’s probably the most vocal, and that’s something that goes with the armband. He’s led by example this season – you can’t say he hasn’t.
“He’s still a young lad; he’s got a lot to learn; and he has lots on his shoulder when you’re captain at a young age. As long as I believe in him, he can do the job.”