Green Barmy: Midfield maestro Friio starred in Argyle's magnificent seven
GREEN BARMY boldly travels back in time each week, recounting the history of Plymouth Argyle from their formation in the late 19th century.
However, after recent struggles, it is worth reminding ourselves it was not that long ago a performance at Home Park was being labelled as one of the best in the club's history.
Chesterfield visit Home Park this afternoon and supporters of the Derbyshire side will not wish to be reminded of their last visit to Plymouth.
It was the 2003-04 season, and Paul Sturrock's Pilgrims were powering themselves towards the Second Division championship. With the manager having agreed a new deal to stay at the club, everything was looking positive.
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With the 2004 calendar barely ruffled, the first Saturday in January saw a crowd of just over 13,000 drawn to Home Park.
Argyle had shown their goal prowess already that season. Tranmere Rovers were beaten 6-0 in Plymouth, Port Vale were humbled 5-1 in Burslem.
A win against Chesterfield would be the eighth in succession, which had taken the advantage over Queens Park Rangers at the top of the table to four points.
The festive period had already seen Paul Wotton score the club's 5,000th Football League goal in a 2-0 win at Bournemouth, followed by the same scoreline at home against Brentford.
Chesterfield, despite being under the charge of the experienced Roy McFarland, were languishing in the bottom three and presumably had nightmares about how to keep out an Argyle side that had already notched 52 goals during the league campaign.
But, the Spirerites did come into the game on the back of their first away win, a week earlier at Barnsley.
Midfielder David Norris was on the substitutes' bench as Sturrock decided not to tamper with his line-up.
There was no place in the starting 11, either, for Wotton who was available, as was Norris, after serving a one-match suspension.
Barely four minutes had passed when Argyle took the lead, thanks to an embarrassing moment for visiting goalkeeper Carl Muggleton.
Martin Phillips was released down the right win by a not uncommon pinpoint through ball by David Friio. The winger's left-foot cross after cutting inside full-back Alan O'Hare should have been easy pickings for Muggleton.
But the 35-year-old left behind all his experience when he fumbled the ball under pressure from Michael Evans, only for the handily placed Lee Hodges to tuck the ball into an empty net for his second goal of the season.
Seven minutes later, Hasney Aljofree took a free-kick from the halfway line.
His delivery was floated into the Chesterfield penalty area and Evans got the first touch to instigate a goal-mouth scramble.
The ball fell to Tony Capaldi, and the Northern Ireland international took his tally to seven as he scored for a second successive match.
Any spectators who were late for the game were made to pay for their poor time keeping.
The inquisitions had barely got under way in the visiting defence when a third goal was conceded within a minute of the re-start.
A corner from the left saw Graham Coughlan stretch for the ball, but it just glanced off the Irishman.
The first to react was Nathan Lowndes, who chased to the opposite side of the penalty area, and was allowed to pick his spot as he turned toward goal.
Only 12 minutes had been played, and the Pilgrims were three to the good.
With the men in green in such rampant form, the fourth goal came just four minutes later.
A Capaldi corner, this time from the right, saw Friio powerfully rise in front of central defender Steve Blatherwick and head the ball past the beleaguered Muggleton.
That took his season's total into double figures, but there was plenty more to come from the Frenchman.
As soon as Chesterfield kicked off again, they gave away possession.
Cue goal number five.
Argyle took possession and the ball was played to Evans on the left. He spotted the run of Lowndes, whose run of form saw him clinch his fifth in seven games.
Just 17 minutes played, and Argyle were 5-0 ahead. Five goals had come in a devastating 13-minute spell.
The press box denizens were already thumbing through the record books. Careful, of course, not to take an eye off the action for too long.
But it was not until 19 minutes after the celebrations of goal number five that Friio scored his second, and Argyle's sixth, after Paul Connolly's cross was expertly headed down by Evans.
Perhaps even the most pessimistic Argyle fan could enjoy their half-time refreshment safe in the knowledge, if maybe tinged with a hint of disbelief, that the points were as good as safe.
Chesterfield, allegedly attacking the Devonport End during the first half, had only a Mark Allott speculative shot and Glynn Hurst close-range header over the crossbar to show for their 'efforts'.
After the break, Chesterfield did their best to reduce the arrears as they tested the Argyle defence after McFarland made changes to his personnel.
Luke McCormick was forced to push away a strong shot by Chris Brandon, and as the former Torquay United player attempted to follow-up his effort, he found Aljofree who had retreated to the goal line to clear away.
In a similar position was Connolly, who was able to nod away a header by the new signing from Derby County, Marvin Robinson.
With the three points guaranteed, Argyle admittedly eased off during the second period, but another goal did come, a minute from time.
Ian Stonebridge, on the field as a substitute, took a corner which was met by Friio to complete something very rare in recent years – an individual hat-trick.
The Pilgrims, in recording a fourth clean sheet in a row, were two wins away from creating a club record number of consecutive wins.
Argyle: Luke McCormick, Paul Connolly, Graham Coughlan, Hasney Aljofree, Peter Gilbert, Martin Phillips, Lee Hodges, David Friio, Tony Capaldi (Ian Stonebridge, 73), Michael Evans (Marino Keith, 83), Nathan Lowndes. Subs not used: David Norris, Paul Wotton, Blair Sturrock