J Grant 17, Edwards 28, Wylde 31
THE Greens painted the Little White Town red in the latest of their rehearsals for the 2018-19 season.
First-half goals from Joel Grant, captain Ryan Edwards and Gregg Wylde – all scoring for the second or more times since July 7 – secured victory in a game that was probably never quite as comfortable as the scoreline might suggest.
Nevertheless, with two wins inside 24 hours, and no goal conceded, from matches involving 23 different players, there is no doubting the depth of strength in the Argyle camp.
Argyle’s starting – and, indeed, finishing – line-up at the Sports Ground comprised nine first-team squad members who were not involved in the previous night’s 1-0 win a Torquay; another, Peter Grant, who had made a brief substitute appearance at Plainmoor; and second-year professional Dan Rooney.
The Pilgrims’ Evo-Stik League South West Division side had hosted a question & answer session with manager Derek Adams before the game and quickly followed that up by asking a question of Pilgrims’ goalkeeper Harry Burgoyne when the game kicked off.
Burgoyne showed he has not gone rusty watching his colleagues dominate a succession of games against non-league opposition, getting down well to keep out a shot from Robins’ captain Sean Downing.
Downing later went off injured midway through the first half, by which time the Pilgrims were ahead thanks to Joel Grant’s wonderful shot on the turn.
That goal had been assisted by Lionel Ainsworth, as was Argyle’s second strike just after Downing had been replaced, Edwards heading in a meat-and-drink cross.
Three minutes later, the Pilgrims stretched their lead when Wylde broke quickly before slotting a low shot past Steve Oliver, who was probably suddenly feeling that goalkeeping had not been the best career option after all.
Bideford had their best spell of the match around the hour mark after Ainsworth, impressive throughout, had nearly completed a hat-trick of assists with a run and cross on to the head of Calum Dyson. The attempt was cleared off the line to further frustrate Dyson, who has the haunted look of a player who needs a goal more than most. It will come.
The second half was a far more even affair than the first, and Bideford even had the beating of Burgoyne, only to be thwarted by the linesman’s flag.
Argyle, though, were seldom troubled as they saw out their fifth pre-season victory.
Bideford (4-4-2): 1 Steve OLIVER; 2 Ian SAMPSON, 5 Craig ALLAN, 6 James MAYNE (15 Dan HARRISON 55), 3 Ben PALMER; 4 Sean DOWNING (capt, 14 Joe BARKER 26), 7 Nial HEANEY (6 Unknown 66), 8 Ben CARTER (17 Matt WARD 70), 11 Liam GREGORY (16 Will HANCOX 55); 9 Ryan TURNER (12 Kevin SQUIRE 66), 10 Ben WOOD. Substitutes (not used): 18 Aaron TAYLOR, 19 Sam GWYNNE.
Argyle (4-3-3): 1 Harry BURGOYNE (GK); 22 Tafari MOORE, 5 Ryan EDWARDS (capt), 24 Peter GRANT, 23 Ashley SMITH-BROWN; 19 Dan ROONEY, 16 Joel GRANT, 32 Cameron SANGSTER; 17 Lionel AINSWORTH, 18 Calum DYSON, 20 Gregg WYLDE. Substitutes (not used): 2 Harry HODGES, 8 Tom PURRINGTON, 14 Luke JEPHCOTT, 15 Klaidi LOLOS, 25 Rio GARSIDE, 31 Michael COOPER (GK).
Referee: Brett HUXTABLE.