AN excellent Argyle display secured their biggest win of the season, a 5-0 victory over Hartlepool United, as Derek Adams perfectly prepared his side for the play-offs.
The Greens netted five times for the first time in over two years to finish the regular Sky Bet League 2 season, and were put on the right track after just six minutes. Tyler Harvey dropped into space just outside the box, picked up a pass from Kelvin Mellor and fired past Trevor Carson, into the far corner. It was Tyler's first Argyle goal of the season, and helped settle a young side that featured seven changes from the Pilgrims' 2-2 draw with Cambridge United.
"I think when we scored early," said Derek, "that obviously helped us. It gave us a wee bit of confidence and it gave the younger kids in the team that confidence to go on and do well. The experienced players really helped them today."
Harvey doubled his, and Argyle's, tally after 25 minutes, getting on the end of a Gregg Wylde cross at the far post. Come the second half, though, it was the turn of another Argyle youngster to take centre stage.
Louis Rooney, making his debut for the club, scored an outstanding, long-range effort 13 minutes after the break, and got his second with a poacher's effort seven minutes from time. Curtis Nelson also got himself on the score-sheet between the two goals from the debutant, as all the more unfamiliar names in the starting 11 impressed, including goalkeeper Vincent Dorel, making his first appearance for the Greens.
"I think that the goals: two of them were outstanding," said Adams. "From Tyler, his first one, and Rooney, his first goal, were very good strikes. The other two goals were well worked from a wide area, and then Curtis Nelson scores with a ball from a corner.
"It was good that we gave debuts to three players today: Vincent Dorel, [Louis] Rooney and obviously Tyler Harvey - it was his debut under me. I think that he [Dorel] wasn't troubled greatly, but when he was called upon from long-range efforts, he dealt well with the shot-stopping."
An outstanding showing from players who have spent much of the season on the periphery, then, but Derek will not be making any knee-jerk decisions in terms of picking a side for the play-off semi-final against Portsmouth. More likely to feature against Pompey is Graham Carey, who picked up the club's Player of the Year award before the Hartlepool game.
"They've done well today," said Derek. "They've been able to get four goals between them, but they're not going to start on Thursday. But don't take anything away from their performance today.
"We made seven changes today and we got a very good performance out of all the team today. Some good goals, we got a lot of the younger kids a chance today, so it was a good all-round day.
"Graham's been able to come here: he's scored a lot of goals, he's created many assists this season as well, and he's been a top performer for us this season, but there's many players in the squad who have done likewise.
"Only one person can get recognition and I'm delighted for him, but there's a lot more in the squad as well as him that deserve recognition - and they get recognition from me and the supporters."