Plymouth Argyle 3 (MacLean 6, Mackie 76, Mackie 85) - 0 Barnsley
If you thought Leicester was good, last night's match must have blown your mind. it had everything: debut goals, first goal, calamity refereeing, sendings off, farcical linesman, and the return of the stalwart.
With confidence running high, Argyle scored the opening goal after just 3 minutes following a bizarre incident around the Barnsley Penalty box when Nyatanga brought down Easter. The linesman flagged the incident but his flag broke meaning the referee missed it, eventually the game was stopped and after a long consultation on the touchline the ref sent off Nyatanga, surely a penalty to follow, but no it was just outside the area and a free kick was awarded. MacLean stepped up and in a Wotton-esque way fired it low and hard straight into the net. What a start, what was left to follow was Barnsley, now down to 10 men but playing with the determination of 12 were held siege inside their area as Argyle used the extra space to their advantage. The referee was getting in on the action to as he decided he wanted to touch the ball and slide over as much as the players.
A series of near misses followed by both sides, and Argyle started to lose their was over the break allowing Barnsley access to the goal including one very unlucky shot that hit the underside of the crossbar and bounced out, but thankfully once again McCormick kept the Greens in the game. As the game was slowing down Sturrock brought off Easter for new young striker Mackie who took 11 seconds to make an impact with his debut goal in front of the Devonport. And it didn't stop there, 10 minutes later he was at it again. However Sturrock remarked that although he has gone from zero to hero in quarter of an hour the rest of his game needed shaking up as he lost every pass to a Barnsley player. The 85th minute saw the long awaited return of captain Paul Wotton after 15 months out injured, he was rightfully welcomed back with rapturous applause and a standing ovation.
In 2 weeks Argyle have gone from Hull and back with a series of very weak performances to being overwhelmingly good, which is something we've all seen before - not least the "week of hell" last season followed by 5 winning games. Now 8th in the table and two places of a play-off place will Argyle have the determination to aim higher?