Plymouth Argyle 3 - 1 Cardiff City. Match Report

Last updated : 21 January 2024 By BBC Sport

Ryan Hardie scored twice as Plymouth Argyle came from behind to deservedly beat Cardiff City 3-1 at Home Park.


Hardie's double either side of half-time turned the game as he guided the ball home from close range and then powered a finish past Cardiff City goalkeeper Ben Alnwick.

Morgan Whittaker made the points safe as Hardie turned provider and Whittaker slammed the ball home emphatically.

Defender Perry Ng's close-range effort had put Cardiff ahead on 10 minutes.

The victory will provide real encouragement to Plymouth fans who saw their new boss Ian Foster collect his first league win.

Foster handed debuts to two midfielders as both Adam Forshaw and Tottenham loanee Alfie Devine were given starts and both players produced excellent displays, providing impetus for the hosts.

Devine, 19, was recalled by Spurs from a successful loan spell with League One Port Vale and moved to Home Park, with Foster stating his excitement about working with a player he knows from the England age-grade set-up.

Foster's faith in Devine was rewarded on 31 minutes as he created Hardie's equaliser, reacting quickly to produce a pinpoint cross which Hardie swept into the net from six yards out.

Devine's influence on the game grew and his effort on the stroke of half-time was saved by Cardiff goalkeeper Ben Alnwick.

Plymouth gained momentum as the half wore on and Cardiff were left to rue not making more of a really strong start.

The Bluebirds took the lead on 10 minutes as Ryan Wintle's corner was headed into the path of Ng, who hooked the ball into the net on the turn.

Ng is having his best goalscoring season, with this his fifth goal, but his team-mates could not match his eye for goal and the hosts were allowed to work their way back into the contest.

Wintle did have an effort saved by Plymouth goalkeeper Conor Hazard on 15 minutes, but Erol Bulut's side failed to turn dominance into chances.

The hosts did not make the same mistake and only improved after regaining parity.

The Pilgrims seized the momentum after their equaliser and Devine fired just wide on 51 minutes before Hardie's second put them ahead a minute later.

Cardiff will feel aggrieved at their part in Hardie's goal as the forward turned past two defenders and powered home a finish that was straight at Alnwick.

The hosts continued to push for a third and Hardie saw an effort blocked and then fired wide as he chased his hat-trick before Bali Mumba's shot was blocked and Darko Gyabi headed over.

Plymouth's increased intensity looked like it might overwhelm a Cardiff squad that is in need of reinforcements, according to Bluebirds boss Erol Bulut, but Cardiff did have chances to level as an intriguing second half wore on.

Cardiff spurned a great opportunity on 79 minutes as first Kion Etete's header was blocked before subsequent efforts by Josh Bowler and Jamilu Collins were saved by Hazard.

That was the scare Plymouth seemingly needed and they ended hopes of a Cardiff comeback on 81 minutes as Whittaker swept home his 15th league goal of the season from Hardie's cross.

Plymouth rise to 15th in the Championship with the win, just four points behind Cardiff, who slip to 14th, with their manager Bulut threatening to quit the club in the wake of the defeat.


Plymouth Argyle: Hazard, Mumba (Randell 77’), Scarr, Hardie (Waine 90+2'), Whittaker ©, Miller, Devine (Edwards 77’), Gyabi, Galloway, Phillips, Forshaw (Houghton 84’). Subs not used: Burton, Pleguezuelo, Wright, Bundu, Sorinola.


Cardiff City: Alnwick, Ng, Goutas, McGuinness, Collins, Wintle (C), Rinomhota (Bowler 65’), R Colwill, Tanner (Romeo 46’), Grant, Méïté (Etete 65’). Subs not used: Rúnarsson, Sawyers, Siopis, J Colwill, Conte, Ashford.