Spencer 39, Jervis 43, 86 Carey71
Yeovil Town 1
By Rick Cowdery
ARGYLE might have taken a bit of flack outside of their domain for not scoring buckets of goals this season, but the sheer quality of their strikes is more than fair compensation.
Man of the match Jimmy Spencer and – of course – Graham Carey netted goals that took the breath away as the Pilgrims maintained their five-point lead in Sky Bet League Two with a ninth win from their last ten games.
Spencer opened the scoring with a sumptuous strike towards the end of a first half which burst into life when his opener was followed by a second for the Pilgrims from Jake Jervis and a riposte by the Glovers from captain Darren Ward before the interval.
Carey, scorer of the Sky Bet League Two goal of the Month for August, put himself in line for another national gong and put the game to bed midway through the second half with a goal of such guile and precision that it surpassed any of his already incredible collection of finishes.
A late fourth from Jervis, set up unselfishly by substitute Craig Tanner, ensured the quantity of the goals matched the quality.
Argyle manager Derek Adams had shown, again, that he was not afraid to change a winning team by switching a couple of his players from the side that had begun Tuesday night’s extraordinary, and gruelling, 2-0 win away to Leyton Orient.
Ryan Donaldson, substitute scorer of the second at the Matchroom, retained his place ahead of David Goodwillie, while another of the extras in Argyle’s east enders’ cast, David Fox, was preferred to Connor Smith.
Yeovil’s Plymothian manager Darren Way included Cornish graduate of the Argyle Academy Ryan Dickson, back from injury, in a starting 11 that showed three changes from the one that started Tuesday’s bottom-of-the-table 1-0 defeat at Cambridge.
Much-travelled forward Izale McLeod also returned from an enforced spell on the sidelines and Alex Lawless was promoted from the substitutes’ bench, to where Ryan Hedges and Otis Kahn were consigned, with big – and, this season, relatively prolific – forward Tom Eaves nowhere to be seen.
Despite Yeovil’s pragmatic approach to the game in electing to keep all their players on the pitch, Argyle’s defence was not much more taxed that it had been four days earlier. Their attack, however, faced a similar test of ingenuity and patience.
Carey stretched Glovers’ gloveman Artur Krysiak in the opening minutes before the game lost momentum when Town defender Liam Shephard required fairly lengthy treatment after a clash with Fox that saw ten Argyle midfielder booked.
When play resumed, the Green machine took a while to crank their way through the gears before Spencer, scorer of Tuesday’s opening goal, forced Krysiak into another full-length save, with Ben Purrington unable to turn home the parried loose ball.
Spencer then teed up Gary Miller for a volley that was deflected high and wide by Nathan Smith, before setting up Donaldson for a shot that was less than handsome.
Possibly tired of seeing others spurn his hard work, Argyle’s No.9 then took matters into his own hands. After obliging Krysiak to beat out a far-post shot following Carey’s free-kick, he bustled his way into a scoring position before curling a wonderful shot past Krysiak.
It was a quite breathtaking strike from inside the penalty area on the angle which started off with you scarcely believing, first, his audacity in taking it on and, then, that he had managed to pull it off.
Four minutes later, the Pilgrims put clear green water between them and their visitors. Jervis picked up the ball midway inside the Yeovil half, strode forward, and let fly with a left-foot shot that took a defection off Alex Lacey on its way to beating the overworked Krysiak.
With the interval imminent, Argyle blotted their copybook by conceding only their third goal in six matches when McLeod’s low cross following a corner dribbled all the way across the Pilgrims’ six-yard box before being tucked home by Ward.
If the goal was a wake-up call, the Pilgrims clearly pressed the snooze button as Yeovil twice came close to levelling in tghe opening minutes of the second half.
Lawless conjured a shot that Luke McCormick clawed away at full stretch before, from the ensuing corner, Smith headed wide when it seemed easier to put the ball into the net. With Argyle rattled, Dickson got in behind to head a lofted ball goalwards and McCormick had to save low at the base of his right-hand post.
The Pilgrims regained their composure to play some of their most cohesive and pleasing football of the campaign. Spencer continued to be impossible to shackle and Carey was Carey – always on the cusp of another piece of brilliance.
Yeovil were far from daunted and caused Argyle’s parsimonious defence more problems than most have this season, never more so than when McLeod’s close-range drive was diverted by Fox’s body-on-the-line stretched block.
Carey relived the nerves with an outrageously marvellous strike, beating a rooted Krysiak with a floated chip on the run from 25 yards that started out on the line of the six-yard before drawing into the net like a Rory McIlroy wedge.
That was, effectively that. Yeovil’s resistance was broken and there was something almost cruel about the way Tanner unlocked their hard-working defence before rolling the ball into Jervis’s path for the denouement.
Substitutes Goodwillie, Oscar Threlkeld and Tanner were not about to show any mercy, though, and all came close to netting a fifth before referee Seb Stockbridge brought Yeovil’s agony to an end.
Argyle (4-2-3-1): 23 Luke McCormick (capt); 2 Gary Miller, 5 Nauris Bulvitis, 15 Sonny Bradley, 16 Ben Purrington; 4 Yann Songo’o, 24 David Fox (18 Oscar Threlkeld 77); 14 Jake Jervis, 10 Graham Carey (7 David Goodwillie 88), 11 Ryan Donaldson (27 Craig Tanner 82); 9 Jimmy Spencer. Substitutes (not used): 6 Connor Smith, 8 Jordan Slew, 21 Vincent Dorel (gk), 22 David Ijaha.
Booked: Fox 6, Tanner 84.
Yeovil Town (4-1-4-1): 1 Artur Krysiak; 2 Liam Shephard (5 Bevis Mugabi 68), 26 Darren Ward, 6 Alex Lacey, 11 Ryan Dickson (23 Ryan Hedges 57); 16 Matt Butcher; 7 Kevin Dawson, 8 Alex Lawless, 4 Matthew Dolan, 3 Nathan Smith; 18 Izale McLeod (19 Tavhon Campbell 75). Substitutes (not used): 10 Otis Khan, 12 Jonny Maddison (gk), 17 Omar Sowunmi,, 28 Ben Whitfield.
Booked: Smith 35, Hedges 62, Dawson 67.
Referee: Seb Stockbridge.
Attendance: 8,529 (495 away).