Argyle 3 Huddersfield 1 | Hardie's Reaction
Ryan Hardie’s goal against Huddersfield Town on Saturday, which sealed a 3-1 victory for Argyle, was the 50th for the Scottish striker since moving to Home Park.
That milestone has come up in 164 games – 109 starts – for the number 9, who has top scored for the Greens for the last two seasons.
He has had a little delay, stuck on 49 since a goal against Derby County in March, but he picked a fine time to bring up the half-ton. Morgan Whittaker’s early goal had put Argyle in front, and although Huddersfield equalised on the stroke of half-time, Bali Mumba scored a stunning solo goal to give the Pilgrims the edge once again.
Only three minutes later, Hardie was running through to a Whittaker throughball to slot home in style.
Interestingly, it was a perhaps unlikely source who gave Hardie inspiration for the particular finish he performed.
“Credit to our goalie coach, Darren Behcet. He said, yesterday in the meeting, that when you do get through on goal, you might have a bit more time than you think because the keeper makes it hard for you by staying on his line.
“I had that in my mind when I looked up, he was on his line and I had a bit of space to the far corner.
“I just pulled back a bit. My first thought was to take it round him. I thought he must be on top of it.
“It reminded me a bit of the Exeter goal, where Morgan slid me through the middle.
“[To score 50 goals] is unbelievable. I would never have thought that when I first signed here on loan. That's one that I'm extremely proud of, and hopefully there’s many more to come.
“It really annoyed me last season, at Accrington away when I hit both posts. I've been desperate to get it and thankfully I've got it the first game of the season, and it’s a milestone ticked off.
“It's a ladder I want to keep climbing. I’ve signed a three-year deal here, so there's going to be plenty of time to try and keep going. Let's see how high I can get.
“The most important thing of the day was the three points, and to get the third goal in the game I think it kills it off a bit, and it saves a bit of nerves towards the end.”
Mumba, Whittaker and Hardie have played in the same team on numerous occasions, playing as a front three was a new thing. For them to all get on the scoresheet on the season’s first game was a perfect beginning.
“I think it's going to be an exciting three,” said Hardie “Everybody's going to chip in from all sorts of areas on the pitch. Morgan and Bali are a delight to play in front of.
“Bali's goal epitomises it. He just drives and drives and drives. I tried and make a run to give him an option, and it drags the defender away which lets him get through on goal. He just jinks, jinks, keeps jinking and he scores.
“I know the boys that are behind me are going to feed me with chances, so if I can keep getting in the right position, keep making the runs, I'm going to get those chances.”