Super-sub Hardie helps Plymouth open four-point lead at L1 summit
Ryan Hardie came off the bench to score twice and send Plymouth four points clear at the top of Sky Bet League One following a thrilling 4-2 comeback win over Devon rivals Exeter at a rain-soaked Home Park.
Hardie fired into the roof of the net on the turn in the 70th minute after collecting Morgan Whittaker’s incisive pass into the penalty area.
And the Scottish striker latched onto another through ball from Whittaker to slot home a killer fourth after 84 minutes to clinch Argyle’s ninth successive home league win.
Exeter opened the scoring when Jay Stansfield shrugged off Bali Mumba’s challenge on the left flank to tee up Archie Collins for a far-post tap-in after 26 minutes.
Argyle hit back immediately as Whittaker spun on Adam Randell’s inch-perfect ball into the box to fire past goalkeeper Jamal Blackman.
Stansfield again split the Argyle defence to put Sam Nombe in on goal and he rounded Michael Cooper to put the Grecians 2-1 ahead in the 52nd minute.
City celebrations were again short-lived, though, as Mumba met a clearance from a corner with a thumping 25-yard strike off the slick surface and into the corner, with Hardie going on to steal the show.
Both teams are back in action at 3pm on Saturday November 5 in the FA Cup first round. Plymouth travel to Blundell Park to take on Grimsby, while Exeter face Port Vale at Vale Park.