Lennox 13, Soukouna 45, Feeney pen 72
ARGYLE maintained the winning habit with an ultimately comfortable victory on a night when they eyes of the sporting world were definitely not on the Pilgrims’ humble pre-season friendly at the Woodspring Stadium.
An early first-half goal from Bristolian Joe Lennox and a late one from Ladjie Soukouna put the Greens two up by half-time, after which they conceded their first goal in nearly two hours of pre-season action.
However, a Warren Feeney penalty midway through the second half, which the striker won himself, kept the Blue Square South side easily at arms’ length.
Argyle manager Carl Fletcher had recalled Nick Chadwick to the Pilgrims’ starting line-up following the striker’s one-match ban after his red card in the opening pre-season game of the campaign against Yeovil at Dorchester.
Also in the initial line-up was winger Andres Gurrieri, who trialled with the Pilgrims last season before joining their League 2 rivals Burton Albion, from where he has recently been released.
Ollie Chenoweth was given a first warm-up game in goal, while Paul Wotton returned to arms after previously being ruled out with injury.
The home side included former Pilgrim central defenders Matt Villis and Jamie Laird, brother of Scott, who will visit Home Park with his new club Preston next month, and son of Weston manager Craig.
The opening goal came in the 13th minute, and was earned and finished by Lennox, who caught a Weston player in possession on halfway and exchanged quick passes with Jared Sims whose perfectly weighted first-time returned simply begged his pacy team-mate to finish.
It was a rare sight of goal for the Pilgrims, who, although not unduly troubled, were forced to repel borders for much of the first half.
The stranglehold was broken after half an hour when Gurrieri made space for himself on the edge of the penalty area and loosed off a low shot that went narrowly wide.
Weston failed to test Chenoweth although their midfielder Nabi Diallo, who had earlier clashed spicily with Paul Wotton, fired wide after a free-kick had caused a stretched the Pilgrims’ defence. Curtis Nelson then blocked a shot from Ross Stearn.
Argyle were unlucky not to increase their lead after Robbie Williams and Jared Sims combined well down the right.
Sims’ cross picked out Chadwick, whose shot was deflected on to the post by goalkeeper Lloyd Irish, with Gurrieri scooping the rebound over the crossbar.
However, they still went into the break two goals to the good after Soukouna popped up in the box in glorious isolation to tap home seconds before the referee blew for half-time.
The Pilgrims made the usual raft of changes at half-time, but it was one of the players who had stayed on, Gurrieri, that nearly increased their lead in the opening minute of the second half, cutting in from the left and testing Irish to the limit.
Paris Cowan-Hall then drilled a shot across the goal which drifted wide and Luke Young fired over as Argyle continued to fashion decent chances.
Irish was called into action again to keep out Nelson’s deflection of Young’s low thumper, and then to thwart Matt Lecointe as the Young England international tried to take the ball around him following Conor Hourihane’s through-ball.
Weston pulled one back when Ashley Kington scudded a shot from the edge of the area which evaded Chenoweth’s dive. Kington was still celebrating his goal when he was substituted before the restart.
The Pilgrims quickly restored their two-goal advantage when Feeney was poleaxed by Irish. The Northern Irishman picked himself up and banged the spot-kick home.
That completed the scoring, although Argyle kept their foot on the gas until the end of another satisfying evening.
Weston -super-Mare (4-4-2): 1 Lloyd Irish (A Substitute 87); 2 Jamie Price, 5 Matt Villis, 6 Jamie Laird (capt), 3 Martin Slocombe (19 Callum Laird 53); 11 Nat Pepperell, 4 Ashley Kington ( 18 Ben Cleverley 65), 7 Nabi Diallo (15 Marcus Duharty 83), 10 Ross Stearn (12 Dayle Grubb 50); 8 Brett Trowbridge (17 Kane Ingram 68), 9 Chris Young (14 Chas Hemmings 62). Substitutes (not used): 16 Marc McGregor.
Argyle, first half (4-4-2): 13 Ollie Chenoweth; 3 Robbie Williams, 5 Darren Purse (capt), 17 Curtis Nelson, 14 Onismor Bhasera; 19 Joe Lennox, 15 Paul Wotton, 18 Ladjie Soukona, 27 Andres Gurrieri; 9 Nick Chadwick, 22 Jared Sims.
Argyle second-half (4-4-2): 13 Ollie Chenoweth; 19 Curtis Nelson (26 Jed harper-Penman 90), 5 Darren Purse (capt), 4 Maxim Blanchard, 14 Onismor Bhasera (23 Jamie Richards 66); 7 Paris Cowan-Hall, 6 Conor Hourihane, 8 Luke Young, 27 Adres Gurrieri (25 Isaac Vassell 74); 11 Warren Feeney, 21 Matt Lecointe.
Referee: Paul Rees (Portishead).