A happy return for Currie

IT may not have been the best of stays when Darren Currie lodged at Home Park as a Plymouth Argyle player, but he has had some great times as a not-so-welcome visitor, writes Derek Davis.

IT may not have been the best of stays when Darren Currie lodged at Home Park as a Plymouth Argyle player, but he has had some great times as a not-so-welcome visitor, writes Derek Davis.

Two goals for Ipswich doomed the Greens once more as the Blues extended their lead at the top of the Championship, with the midfielder snatching both.

Currie was brought in on transfer deadline day in 1998 to try to save the Pilgrims from relegation but, despite his best efforts, they failed.

He has never been forgiven since and, to compound matters, he has enjoyed great games ever since as a player with Barnet, Wycombe Wanderers and now Ipswich.

While Argyle fans vented their anger towards Currie, and the referee for awarding Town a penalty, the mastermind behind their demise was a quiet Irishman, who slipped on almost unnoticed 12 minutes into the second half.

Although Currie netted from the spot, with Tommy Miller having been replaced by Jim Magilton, and the new signing also scored with a well-taken volley, it was the skipper who turned the game.

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This was the perfect response to the disappointment of losing their unbeaten home record to West Ham, which had stretched back to last April.

Although not exactly sparkling in the first half against a dogged, well-organised Plymouth side, the Blues peppered the Argyle goal, although mainly long-range efforts from Kevin Horlock, Darren Bent and Miller.

Jason De Vos had a good chance to notch his second goal against Plymouth this season, when a loose ball fell for him, but his shot on the turn lacked the power and direction to trouble Romain Larrieu.

They should have had a 27th-minute penalty but, not for the first time recently, the Blues were denied.

Dermot Gallagher was a late change of official, with Northants whistler Peter Walton originally down to do the game but the league feeling a more experienced man was needed.

That decision will not be appreciated by the Town contingent, who were infuriated when Gallagher turned down a stonewall penalty, when David Friio clearly pulled back Ian Westlake as he attempted to reach a low Bent cross.

A furious Westlake was still arguing with the official some time after, to little effect.

Gallagher further enraged Town fans when he booked the debut-making Danny Karbassiyoon when he eventually recovered after treatment.

The on-loan Arsenal defender had collided with David Norris, and got hurt for his troubles, with the needless yellow card compounding the injury.

In the final analysis the decisions didn't matter too much, with Town finding the opener anyway.

Bent had missed a glorious opportunity to get his 12th goal of the season in the ninth minute when Horlock threaded a fabulous ball past Matthias Doumbe into the striker's path.

A confident Bent dummied before trying to round keeper Larrieu but the tall Frenchman snaked out an arm to snatch the ball away from his feet and held on.

Gallagher, the Premier League official, could not turn down a second Town penalty appeal when Larrieu mistimed another dive at Bent's feet midway through the second half as the England Under-21 collected a Magilton though-ball.

Currie was booed throughout but didn't bother the spiky-haired midfielder who smashed in his right-footed spot-kick, although the keeper went the right way.

His second goal since signing from Brighton for £250,000 last month sent the 1,300 Town fans in the stand behind the goal delirious.

Currie's third for the club was even spicier, as he hooked in a volley from 10 yards when Magilton picked him out with a cross after Bent had found his skipper in the right channel.

The Blues made two changes from the side which lost to West Ham, with Magilton and Matt Richards rested.

Both were restored to the side after 57 minutes, and the switch proved to be decisive.

Horlock might have notched his first goal of the season when Bent pulled the ball back to him but, with the keeper exposed, the midfielder mis-directed his 14-yard chip.

Kelvin Davis was marginally the busier keeper without ever really extending himself. The Town No. 1 was looking so much sharper after a good night's sleep, after his slumber was interrupted by a car crashing into the front of his Bury St Edmunds house on New Year's Eve.

He tipped a low, powerful Paul Wotton free-kick around a post and was well-positioned to take a Tony Capaldi volley in the first half. Friio flashed a 20-yard angled shot wide across goal and Davis was again behind a Capaldi free-kick.

New Pilgrims' signing Scott Taylor did well under pressure from the excellent De Vos to get a shot in but, again, Davis was in the right place to make the save.

The Blues keeper made a terrific save to block Micky Evans' initial header from a Paul Connolly cross but the ball went straight back to the Argyle striker, who nodded in the consolation from close range.

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