Cardiff downed 3-1 in disappointing display at Plymouth
Ian Foster claimed his first win as Plymouth boss as Argyle came back from 1-0 down to earn a first win in six league matches with a 3-1 victory over Cardiff.
Perry Ng fired Cardiff ahead just 10 minutes in but Ryan Hardie’s double either side of half time and a fine finish from Morgan Whittaker secured Foster’s first win at Championship level.
Victory lifted Plymouth to 15th and four points behind Cardiff as the Bluebirds lost for the third time in four matches.
Ng profited as the ball bounced off home debutant Ash Phillips’ shoulder from a corner, leaving the defender with the simplest of tap-ins from close range to give the Bluebirds an ideal start.
Much changed Argyle could have responded in the next attack but Hardie’s whipped cross from the right just eluded top-scorer Whittaker as he slid in on the six-yard box but just failed to connect.
Whittaker – playing in a front two alongside Hardie – fired high and wide in the 22nd minute after good approach work by Bali Mumba and new signing Adam Forshaw.
Plymouth were level after 31 minutes when home debutant Alfie Devine, on loan from Spurs, cut in from the left and his cross was turned in from close range by Hardie.
The goal spurred on Argyle and Ng did well to cut out a cross from the left from Mickel Miller as the hosts gained in confidence.
Bali Mumba made a couple of superb runs and then set up Hardie’s second with an incisive pass into the penalty area. Hardie still had plenty of work to do but spun magnificently, losing his marker before rifling the ball in past Cardiff goalkeeper Jak Alnwick.
Argyle’s Northern Ireland keeper Conor Hazard did well to claim a couple of aerial crosses as City tried to turn the tide but still Argyle pressed.
Mumba was having his best home game in a while and was denied when his goal-bound shot was turned away for a corner by Ng. From the corner, Darko Gyabi’s header flew just over the bar.
Phillips and Hazard did brilliantly to stop City from scoring in the 79th minute.
England Under-19 skipper Phillips blocked Josh Bowler’s shot, then Hazard made a great save to turn away the City attacker’s follow-up drive which seemed destined for goal.
As Argyle scrambled to clear their lines, Hazard made another top drawer save to keep out a Jamilu Collins effort from the edge of the box.
Within seconds Argyle were 3-1 up, following a lightning counterattack.
The ball was played up to Hardie, who turned provider by putting in striker partner Whittaker for his 15th Championship goal of the season. The in-form striker swept home with his left giving Alnwick little chance.
Whittaker went close with a left-foot shot from the edge of the box and Hardie was denied a hat-trick by Alnwick’s near-post save in stoppage time.
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