Plymouth Parkway 1
Carey 2, Wylde
THE first Argyle pre-season friendly of the summer – and, indeed, of the day – was dominated by the man whose deliberations throughout the close season had preoccupied the Green Army.
Graham Carey scored two quintessential Graham Carey goals after the Pilgrims had fallen behind to their neighbours – a searing drive before half-time and an impudent chip after the break – to set Derek Adams’ men on their way towards the start of the 2017-18 Sky Bet League One season.
A late flourish against game hosts ensured an ultimately comfortable victory, Gregg Wylde showing that not all the mercurial talent at Home Park resides in one pair of feet.
The pattern of scoring reflected the flow of the game, with Argyle feeling their way into the pre-season, getting to know the favourites and foibles of all the newness that surrounds this time of summer: from team-mates to playing strip, there is much to get used to.
The Pilgrims – or, at least, the half of them not selected for the later match at Saltash United – played fluently and with much movement, succeeding in easing themselves into affairs and ended the game still strong in the sapping heat.
Argyle had lined up in a familiar 4-2-3-1 formation, with Ryan Taylor the familiar lone forward. Five players were wearing the colours – in this case the vivid a fetching citrus and black away ensemble – for the first time, including summer signings goalkeeper Robber te Loeke; defenders Ryan Edwards and Aaron Taylor-Sinclair; and midfielder Lionel Ainsworth.
Youngster Cameron Sangster partnered skipper Antoni Sarcevic in central midfield, just behind another close-season capture who had returned to Home Park after a year away, Wylde.
It was another former Pilgrim who had the first major say in the game, midway through the first half, after Argyle had enjoyed the best of the opening, one Parkway breakaway aside which te Loeke did well to snuff out.
Parkway centre-back Aaron Bentley, who played three times for Argyle three seasons ago and whose brother became a Home Park professional this summer, rose highest at a corner to send the ball towards the Argyle goal with Micky Williams applying the final touch.
Argyle remained slick and kept probing, and looked to have equalised when Ainsworth volleyed home Taylor-Sinclair’s cross, but referee Marc Whalley had spotted a foul by Gary Miller in the build-up.
The leveller came just before half-time when Carey skipped in and out of a couple of ineffectual challenges and fired the ball crisply past Parkway goalkeeper Kyle Moore.
The go-ahead goal was another that had the healthy Bolitho Park crowd purring and Moore similarly grasping for air. After receiving the ball wide on the right, the Irish playmaker sent in measured lob wedge to the far post that dropped precisely over Moore’s head.
Argyle completed a job well in the final minutes when Wylde, who had swapped wings with Ainsworth throughout the afternoon, skipped in off the left flank and curled the ball around a stretching Moore.
Plymouth Parkway (4-5-1): 1 Kyle Moore; 2 Ben Davies, 5 Aaron Bentley (14 John Heveran 58), 6 Nick Milton, 3 Micky Williams (12 Jordan Trott 58); 7 Sam Hillson (15 Connor McAuley 58), 10 Ethan Philips (16 Callum Thompson 67), 8 Ben Joyce, 4 Chris Pople, 11 Luke Durham; 9 Mike Smith. Substitutes (not used): 17 Glynn Hobbs, 18 Zelek Marin.
Argyle (4-2-3-1): 1 Robert te Loeke; 2 Gary Miller, 5 Ryan Edwards, 15 Sonny Bradley, 17 Aaron Taylor-Sinclair; 7 Antoni Sarcevic (capt), 3 Cameron Sangster; 8 Lionel Ainsworth, 10 Graham Carey (18 Luke Jephcott 76), 21 Gregg Wylde; 19 Ryan Taylor. Substitutes (not used): 11 Sam Ryan, 14 Alex Battle, 16 Elliott Crawford, 23 Michael Cooper (gk), 27 Ryan Law.
Referee: Marc Whalley.