THERE will be many more dramatic, more special, more significant goals scored by Argyle in the next ten months than the Pilgrims’ otherwise meaningless fourth in a largely inconsequential 4-2 victory at Plymouth Parkway.
None, though, will be greeted with as much all-round happiness as Ryan Edwards’ header, his first goal in his first game back since being diagnosed with, and overcoming, testicular cancer.
The centre-back’s header of Gregg Wylde’s second-half corner at Bolitho Park was the result of a long, hard regime dedicated to rebuilding strength sapped by surgery and chemotherapy; Argyle’s pre-season training began on June 28, but Eddy – whose last previous match was at Doncaster Rovers in mid-January – has been on the go since being given the all-clear in April.
He said: “My pre-season started the day I got the good news because I missed half a season and I had to come back hitting the ground running; my fitness levels had to be up there. I’ve worked harder than I would do any other summer and I think it’s paid off.
“I knew what was coming, so I had a lot of time to train over the summer, which is what I’ve done. I usually get my rest in after playing so many games. I think it’s all come to my advantage – check the fitness levels on the scoreboards in the dressing-room and I’ll be right up there. I’m delighted with the progress I’ve made since April.
“I said I’d be back stronger and I feel stronger and I feel as fit as I ever have been. My fitness levels are really high; my strength levels are really high.
“It was great to be back to normal, back on the grass with the boots on; not just training but getting minutes in, proper minutes.
“You can train as much as you want but the only thing that gets you match-fit is minutes, and it’s important we keep getting them in, especially me – I’ve missed a lot of football.”
Argyle’s pre-season opener at Parkway saw them field a different 11 for each half. After Gary Sawyer and Conor Grant had given them a 2-0 interval lead, Eddy captained the second-half side and nodded home Gregg Wylde’s corner three minutes after Joel Grant had scored the Pilgrims’ third.
He said: “I’ve always said it – the delivery you’ve got in this team, as a centre-half, off set-pieces, you are always going to get chances. I’ve said to the new lads here that the likes of Foxy [David Fox], Graham [Carey], Gregg as it was today, are, nine times out of ten, going to put it where you want it and it’s up to you to put it in the back of the net. That’s what I’ve done.”