Ian Stonebridge shines as Plymouth Argyle's 2001/02 title winners reunite
MEMBERS of Plymouth Argyle's 2001/02 title-winning squad ended a weekend reunion by beating Liskeard Athletic 3-0 at Lux Park on Sunday.
Ian Stonebridge, now part of the Pilgrims' youth academy coaching staff, scored two of the goals and Mickey Evans grabbed the other one.
Paul Sturrock took charge of Argyle, as he did in 2001/02 when they won Division Three (now League Two) with a record-setting 102 points.
Argyle had the benefit of the steep Lux Park slope in the first half and they led at the break after a goal from Stonebridge.
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Evans put the Pilgrims 2-0 up before Stonebridge, who retired from professional football in 2007 at the age of only 25 because of injury, completed the scoring.
Romain Larrieu was called upon to make some excellent late saves as Argyle tired in the closing stages but still came away with a clean sheet.
Funds raised from the match, as well as a gala dinner on Saturday night, will be donated to cash-strapped South West Peninsula League club Liskeard.
In addition to Evans, Larrieu and Stonebridge, Argyle's team also included Steve Adams, Jon Beswetherick, Brian McGlinchey, David Worrell and former physio Paul Maxwell.
Lee Hodges was ruled out by an injury but still attended the game, which was attended by around 150 people.
Kevin Wills was also set to take part but suffered a broken leg and ankle playing for south Devon side Galmpton in a match on Saturday.
So, instead of making the trip to Lux Park, he was in hospital.
Paul Wotton was Argyle's captain in 2001/02 while Luke McCormick was one of the club's young players at the time.
Both are now back playing for Pilgrims after time away from Home Park and they attended the game at Lux Park as spectators.
Two former members of Sturrock's backroom staff – Geoff Crudgington and Ian Pearce – were also there.
Sturrock was thrilled with the success of the reunion weekend, which he hopes will have raised a sizeable four-figure sum for Liskeard.
He enjoyed watching the game, and one of the players caught his eye.
"Stoney was a bit special," said Sturrock, who was the manager of Southend United until March. "I can't believe he has retired.
"He looked fit and hasn't put on a pound. He has still got all the touches."
Sturrock rallied around Liskeard 'in their time of need' after being invited to take a couple of training sessions and arranged the reunion at short notice.
The past Pilgrims attended the FanFest in the Green Taverners Suite at Home Park on Saturday, before Argyle's game against Accrington Stanley.
They were also introduced to the fans at half-time, and paraded the Division Three trophy which they won 2001/02 around the ground.
There was warm applause for all of them, and a particularly loud cheer for the mastermind behind the title success – Sturrock.
"It was very nice," he said. "I was appreciative of it, and I know all the players were as well. They had a fantastic weekend."