Town the perfect guests
Plymouth 2 Ipswich 1LIKE all good party guests Ipswich Town turned up, gave their hosts a couple of presents and joined in the entertainment without taking too much away from the celebrations.
By Derek Davis
LIKE all good party guests Ipswich Town turned up, gave their hosts a couple of presents and joined in the entertainment without taking too much away from the celebrations.
Town flirted with the idea of stealing the thunder and went ahead through Nicky Forster but then remembered their place and allowed the Pilgrims to run the show and level through Tony Capaldi and go ahead through special guest Micky Evans.
A well above average crowd of almost 16,000 turned up to say farewell to long-serving striker Evans, who has had two spells at Home Park, playing nearly 500 games since making his debut in 1990.
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Almost 1,000 travelling Blues fans joined in the standing ovation but were the only ones cheering 11 minutes later when Nicky Forster plundered his seventh goal of the season.
Forster got good height to reach a Chris Casement cross and nodded it goalwards, where it bounced up against the underside of the bar and past Romain Larrieu in the Argyle goal. It was Forster's fourth goal in as many matches as he equalled his own record of scoring in successive games.
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The Blues striker, who has been in red-hot goal-scoring form since coming back from knee surgery, was denied moments earlier when the keeper tipped his low 25-yard drive around a post.
But Town's attacks were rare and Argyle, who were battling relegation a few weeks back, showed more bite.
Wotton crossed and Evans headed it back across goal and at first it looked as if Tony Capaldi and Vincent Pericard had missed their chance until Capaldi managed to spin and shoot from eight yards.
Local hero Evans thumped in a 20-yard volley but Shane Supple secured the ball at the second attempt.
Ipswich escaped again when David Norris, who picked up Plymouth's player of the year award before kick-off, got a good cross in but the ball skipped up just before it reached Capaldi and it bounced off him to safety.
Evans gave the crowd what they came for when he nodded the Pilgrims in front in the 59th minute after some sustained pressure.
Casement fouled Capaldi, who took the free kick himself. It was flicked on by Pericard and Evans nodded in with a diving header, unmarked, from eight yards. It was a popular goal and every Plymouth player, including the goalkeeper who sprinted 100 yards to join in, mobbed the striker.
Supple denied Evans another moment of glory when he blocked the 33-year-old's one-on-one break as Town's defence crumpled again.
Scott Barron and Dean Bowditch did not make the trip while teenagers James Krause and Liam Trotter were given experience of the first-team squad with places on the bench.
Trotter made his bow for the final 10 minutes to become the latest Academy star to progress from the FA Youth Cup-winning team.
For an end-of-season game with nothing except pride to play for, it was an entertaining enough game with some good skills and a bit of bite.
For the Blues, whose 15th placed finish is their lowest final league position for 40 years, it was particularly pleasing to see Forster looking sharp and if he can begin the new season as he finished this one, then that will give Town a terrific boost.
Also encouraging was Chris Casement, who not only defended well but also showed he can be a menace on the attack, by providing Forster's goal.
It was also good to see Sam Parkin playing for the first time since he broke an ankle last November.
The striker tucked in a tidy 35-minute session without many chances, although he ballooned a shot over the bar but it was good to have him back.