Dunne strikes to give City Devon-derby honours
St James' Park
James Dunne's superb strike just seconds into the second-half plunged Plymouth Argyle even deeper into relegation trouble.
The Grecians dominated for long periods against their arch rivals before Dunne smashed home from inside the box to score what proved to be the games only goal.
Knowing that victory could all but relegate Argyle, City produced a professional, committed display in front of a packed St James' Park to put the gloss on another impressive season.
The atmosphere inside the ground was electric in the build up to kick-off and City soon warmed to the task.
After a well worked short corner, David Noble - still looking for this first City goal - saw his goal bound effort deflected over from 20-yards.
Not wanting to give anything away, Peter Reid had Argyle set up in a defensive 4-5-1 shape with Rory Fallon spearheading the Pilgrims' attack.
This made for a largely cagey opening period as City worked overtime to breakdown their opponents.
On the half-hour a wonderful team move set up Nardiello for a chance to open the scoring but the striker shot wide after intricate play from Jamie Cureton and Ryan Harley.
With the game heading for 0-0 at the break Argyle were gifted a golden opportunity to take an undeserved lead. Artur Krysiak picked up a lose ball inside the box that referee Mark Halsey adjudged to have been played deliberately to him by Richard Duffy. From the resulting indirect free-kick chaos ensued inside the penalty area before Troy Archibald-Henville hacked the ball to safety.
With the game on a knife edge, City exploded out of the blocks in the second period to and caught Argyle napping From Archibald-Henville's high pass, Cureton exquisitely turned the ball into the path of Dunne who gleefully belted a half volley past David Button for the opening goal - sending St James' Park into raptures.
Reid soon introduced forwards Rory Patterson and Joe Mason. Argyle looked better for it as they began to exert some pressure on Krysiak's goal.
City captain David Noble had to be stretchered off after falling awkwardly, he was replaced by Matt Taylor and City reverted to five at the back.
Argyle rallied late on with Yannick Bolasie looking increasingly threatening with his direct running.
Fallon had a goal ruled out for offside and Bolasie missed the target with a header as Argyle failed to conjure up a late reply. With seconds to go Patterson bared down on goal only for Steve Tully to produce a stunning last ditched tackle to deny him.
The final whistle was greeted by celebrations from a delighted St James' Park. Argyle though were left licking their wounds and contemplating League Two football.
City: Krysiak, Tully, Duffy, Archibald-Henville, Golbourne, Dunne, Noble (Taylor), Harley, Sercombe, Nardiello (Logan), Cureton.
Win FREE pizza with Vital Football!
Select your team and get 50% off if they score twice.