Argyle 6
Whittaker 15, 45+4, 60
Scarr 35
Azaz 45+5
Cundle 90+6

Norwich City 2
Idah 72, pen 78

A mesmerising Morgan Whittaker hat-trick provided the gloss to an outstanding Argyle display in sweeping past Norwich City with a 6-2 victory at Home Park.

The Greens were the definition of ruthless in the first half, scoring four goals, all with precise and clinical finishing. Whittaker got his first on 15 minutes and Dan Scarr extended the lead.

Whittaker and Finn Azaz then scored in the space of two injury-time minutes to effectively kill the game. Whittaker had time for his treble on the hour, although Norwich did get some minor cheer with a consolation brace from Adam Idah.

The last word belonged to the Pilgrims, Azaz sweeping a wonderful pass for Mustapha Bundu, who instantly slid the ball to Cundle for a neat finish through the legs of Angus Gunn.

Argyle boss Steven Schumacher made six changes from the midweek defeat at Bristol City, with Bali Mumba, Jordan Houghton, Julio Pleguezuelo, Ryan Hardie, Whittaker and Azaz all returning to the side.

A dream first 45 minutes actually began in fairly sedate fashion, as Norwich showed some excellent control in possession and created the first opening, Gabriel Sara forcing a decent save from Connor Hazard with a shot from the edge of the box.

The Greens gave their first sign of the barrage to come when Adam Randell forced a good block from City ‘keeper Gunn after a well-worked corner, and Gunn was also equal to the rebound effort by Houghton.

Hardie glanced a header wide from Whittaker’s cross, and then the fun began.

Argyle pounced on a loose clearance, Hardie surged into space and fed the ball to Whittaker, who calmly judged the angles of an advancing Gunn to steer a lovely finish into the corner of the net.

The Canaries responded with another strong spell of possession but all the penetration was coming from the Pilgrims, and Scarr was the main beneficiary. Azaz fizzed over a vicious cross from the right, Lewis Gibson diverted the ball on to the bar and his centre-back partner was perfectly placed to convert the rebound.

If Norwich felt a little bamboozled by events, injury time in the first half left the visitors completely stunned.

First, Whittaker lashed a superb strike past the hapless Gunn after brilliant approach play from Hardie and the Green Army were still bouncing when Azaz made it 4-0, dancing into space before firing a low left-footer into an overworked net.

Norwich had no choice but to throw men forward in the second half and that opened the door for Argyle to hit them on the counter, starting with Randell releasing Azaz, who quickly shifted the ball to Whittaker and his shot was on target, but credit to Gunn for a good save.

A fabulous save from Hazard thwarted Idah on 57 minutes and, moments later, the Greens were bouncing again, as the electric combination of Hardie and Azaz tore through the Canaries, and the latter slipped a perfect assist for the onrushing Whittaker to complete a marvellous hat-trick.

Bathed in September sunshine, Home Park was rocking with joy, every pass, challenge and run greeted with huge cheers on a wonderful day to be a footballer.

Norwich did get some reward on 72 minutes and it was a fine finish from Idah, and the visitors almost pinched a second, Dimitrius Giannoulis ghosting in behind the Argyle defence but Hazard stood strong for a good save.

Hardie had mild shouts for a penalty waved away before Norwich were awarded a spot-kick at the other end. Mumba, playing against his former club, was penalised for a trip and Idah converted the penalty.

Matt Butcher and Kaine Kesler-Hayden replaced Whittaker and Mumba, a switch that was soon followed by the introduction of Cundle and debutant Bundu for Hardie and Randell.

The excellent Pleguezuelo was given a rest in stoppage time, Macaulay Gillesphey making his return from injury, as Argyle added a late sixth from Cundle.


Argyle: 21 Conor Hazard; 2 Bali Mumba (29 Kaine Kesler-Hayden 80), 4 Jordan Houghton, 5 Julio Pleguezuelo (3 Macaulay Gillesphey 90+1), 6 Dan Scarr, 8 Joe Edwards (capt), 9 Ryan Hardie (15 Mustapha Bundu 87), 10 Morgan Whittaker (7 Matt Butcher 80), 17 Lewis Gibson, 18 Finn Azaz, 20 Adam Randell (28 Luke Cundle 87). Substitutes (not used): 25 Callum Burton (gk), 14 Mickel Miller, 16 Lewis Warrington, 23 Ben Waine.

Booked: Scarr 68

Norwich: 28 Angus Gunn; 3 Jack Stacey, 6 Ben Gibson, 11 Adam Idah, 16 Christian Fassnacht (29 Adam Forshaw H-T), 17 Gabriel Sara, 23 Kenny McLean (capt), 24 Shane Duffy, 27 Jonathan Rowe (25 Onel Hernandez 67), 30 Dimitrius Giannoulis, 31 Ui Jo Hwang (20 Przemyslaw Placheta H-T). Substitutes (not used): 12 George Long (gk), 8 Liam Gibbs, 15 Sam McCallum, 21 Danny Batth, 35 Kellen Fisher, 42 Tony Springett.


Referee: Andrew Kitchen

Attendance: 16,469 (1,622 away