Harvey 28, 48
Exeter City 0
by CHRIS PARSONS
A man-of-the-match performance from teenage protégée Tyler Harvey eased the Young Pilgrims through the FA Youth Cup first round on Wednesday evening.
Harvey, who has agreed to sign a professional contract at Home Park in the summer, scored goals either side of half-time to add to what is already a glowing reputation, before Joshua Hutchinson capped an all round impressive display five minutes from time with Argyle’s third goal.
Argyle’s young side will now travel to the winners of Oxford United and Yeovil Town, which takes place next Wednesday, in the second round of the competition.
In front of an impressive crowd of 748, the Pilgrims look slick, taking advantage of their five man midfield to control the game throughout. Academy manager Kevin Hodges was obviously delighted by the form of his young Pilgrims.
He said: “I was pleased with the goals and overall, it was a very disciplined and pleasing performance and it's nice to keep a clean sheet as well.
“In the first half, I was a little bit disappointed because I was expecting us to pass the ball a little bit better. It was maybe a little bit of nervous tension within some of the lads; they came in very excited about the game and perhaps they were frightened about making a few little mistakes.
“But in the second half, we stepped it up and took advantage of our three in midfield and we started to use the ball much more wisely and we created some good spaces in behind and in wide areas.
“The 768 crowd was great, I wasn’t expecting that, and it gave the young lads a nice experience and hopefully we gave them a little bit of entertainment back.”
Argyle had played City just a few days earlier in the Football League Alliance Cup, so it was surprise when the game got off to a somewhat subdued start.
However, it was the Pilgrims who had the first opportunity of the game but when Harvey played in Hutchinson with a clever little flick, the former Spurs man could not find the target.
By now controlling the tempo of the match, the young Pilgrims pushed further and had another chance to go ahead when River Allen miscued another intelligent pass from Harvey.
Exeter then began to fight their way back into the game and Argyle had ‘keeper Christian Walton to thank when tricky striker Matt Jay attempted an audacious lob on the 6’4’’ teenager from 20 yards.
But, just before the half hour mark, Argyle were ahead after a piece of lovely individual skill from the highly rated Harvey. Having picked the ball up on the right touchline, the former Ivybridge Community College student cut inside, leaving two defenders in his wake as he made for the City goal.
And, although his first shot cannoned off the near post, he was in the perfect position to react and swipe home the rebound from just a yard or so out.
Exeter then enjoyed some pressure as the half came to a close but could not test Walton and they were made to pay just a few minutes into the second half when Harvey took advantage of a Christy Pym mistake to double the Pilgrims’ tally.
As the cliché goes, good strikers are in the right place at the right time and Harvey certainly was, reacting first to the Grecian goalkeeper’s spill from an Allen drive to slot home with ease.
Immediately following the goal, Exeter hit the post from a deep corner but their resurgence was only brief and just a few minutes later, it was Hutchinson causing the visiting defence some problems, weaving his way into the box before watching his side-footed effort saved by Pym.
After the departure of Matt Lecointe, playing for the first time since recovering from injury, Argyle set about slowing the game down, meaning that chance for both sides were limited.
But, with five minutes to go, Hutchinson put the icing on an impressive Argyle win with a third, headed into the top corner from the middle of the area.
Argyle continued to press for the last minute and could of perhaps had a fourth had Allen not hit the bar in the final minutes.
Argyle (4-5-1): 1 Christian Walton; 2 Colin Watson, 5 James Bradley, 6 Aaron Bentley, 3 Ben Purrington; 10 Josh Hutchinson (18 Ryan Lane 86), 4 Andrew Elcock, 7 Matt Lecointe (15 Callum Hall 60), 8 River Allen, 11 Soloman Wheatley (Kieran Adumadu-Sakyi 89); 9 Tyler Harvey. Substitutes (not used): 14 Nathan Summers, 16 Tom Moxham.