Torquay United 1
Little 9, Reid 14, Lumbombo-Kalala 73
ARGYLE’S pre-Spain pre-season trip to Plainmoor saw them grounded by a Torquay side, still buoyant after promotion to the Vanarama National League, that added three well-taken goals to the five that they had scored at Bideford in their previous game.
The Pilgrims had briefly led the friendly derby, through a second successive goal by Klaidi Lolos inside the first five minutes.
A marvellous dead-ball reply from Armani Little levelled matters, before, soon after, Jamie Reid give the Gulls a lead that they extended midway through the second half through Kalvin Lumbombo-Kalala.
Argyle were obliged to make a late change to their starting line-up, with Dom Telford, who had been named on the team sheet before the game, replaced by Alex Fletcher.
Fletcher teamed up with Lolos in attack as manager Ryan Lowe deployed his usual 3-5-2 formation, founded on newest Pilgrim, Alex Palmer, in goal.
The 22 year-old West Brom goalkeeper – on a season-long loan at Home Park – was one of several changes to the 11 that had begun the previous Saturday’s 2-0 win at Plymouth Parkway.
Midfielder Danny Mayor, who injured an ankle at Bolitho Park, was absent, while Tafari Moore, Adam Randell and Conor Grant made way for Joes Riley and Edwards, Joel Grant and Antoni Sarcevic.
The applause for former Argyle and Torquay winger Peter Anderson, who passed away in June, had barely died down when Lolos claimed his second goal in his second pre-season start, rifling a loose ball into the bottom corner of the net from 20 yards.
The advantage lasted barely five minutes, and five minutes after that, the lead had changed hands altogether.
First, Armani Little fired home a jaw-dropping 25-yard free-kick from the left that squeezed past Palmer’s outstretched hand and came to nestle in the net after crashing down off the crossbar.
Then, home favourite Jamie Reid seized on a half-chance in the Argyle penalty area to send in a low shot that crept inside the partially unsighted Palmer’s left-hand post.
Palmer bailed his defenders out later in the first half on one of several occasions that Manny Duku breached the Pilgrims’ backline, staying big and spreading himself to deny the shot.
Moments earlier, Duku had gone down under a penalty-area challenge from Argyle captain Gary Sawyer. There was clear contact, but referee Marc Whaley had decided it was not illegal, much to the chagrin of Duku and several of his team-mates who continued to make the case long after the incident had passed.
Torquay continued to take the game to Argyle after the interval, although Lowe seemed keener on making sure he put some game-time time into more pairs of legs as possible, than chasing the game at all costs.
A steady drip-feed of substitutions after Reid had a fierce drive ruled out for offside against provider Ruairi Keating, achieved his aim, but disrupted cohesion.
As players settled, so Argyle’s play became more fluent and one lovely side to side move nearly brought the equaliser through Callum McFadzean, who had come on at left-back.
Torquay, though, extended their lead when a quick counter-attack saw them break three on one, with Argyle’s one – Moore – being cleverly stretched this way and that before Lumbombo-Kalala finished emphatically.
Argyle (3-5-2): 13 Alex Palmer; 28 Mike Peck (25 Scott Wootton 52), 14 Niall Canavan, 3 Gary Sawyer (capt, 26 Cameron Sangster 77); 2 Joe Riley (22 Tafari Moore 54), 7 Antoni Sarcevic (30 Tom Purrington 77), 8 Joe Edwards (20 Adam Randell 61), 16 Joel Grant, 23 Ashley Smith-Brown (17 Callum McFadzean 57); 19 Klaidi Lolos (24 Luke Jephcott 64), 29 Alex Fletcher (15 Conor Grant half-time). Substitute (not used): 31 Mike Cooper (gk).
Torquay United (4-4-2): 1 Shaun MacDonald; 2 Ben Wynter, 5 Jean-Yves Koue Niate (23 Louie Slough 86), 4 Kyle Cameron, 14 Frankie Vincent; 20 Kalvin Lumbombo-Kalala, 8 Asa Hall (capt, 30 Matt Buse half-time), 10 Armani Little, 11 Jake Andrews (7 Ruairi Keating half-time); 9 Manny Duku (18 Olaf Koszela 77), 19 Jamie Reid (22 Jacob Evans 90). Substitutes (not used): 21 Andy Collins, 24 Josh Baxter, 25 Owen Price, (gk), 28 Lucas Cavagnari (gk).
Booked: Hall 39.
Referee: Marc Whaley.
Attendance: 3,382 (1,394 away).