Yeovil Town 2
Davis 28, Hoskins 81
UNLESS he scores the Wembley play-off winner in May, Reuben Reid will probably not score a more pleasurable goal than the sweet opener he netted against his former employers in Argyle’s final home game before the real deal on August 9.
Reid, 26 last week, notched a superb solo goal ten minutes into another welcomingly tough work-out for the Pilgrims against League 1 opposition who equalised through an equally good strike from Liam Davis 18 minutes later.
A late, lucky, Yeovil goal, when Sam Hoskins’ shot deflected off a green-and-white clad defender to utterly wrong-foot goalkeeper Luke McCormick, took the shine off another Pilgrims’ performance which offered plenty of promise for the upcoming new season.
The Argyle starting line-up was precisely that which it had been four days earlier for the Pilgrims’ previous – and only other – home friendly. In fact, with one or two exceptions, John Sheridan’s initial 11 has remained more or less the same over the last three games, since the visit to Torquay a week earlier.
It included Reid, who scored 21 goals for Argyle last season while technically still a Yeovil player and whose fiddler’s elbow career at Huish Park came to end in the summer when he signed for the Pilgrims on a permanent basis. No fellow former Glover Dominc Blizzard, however. The midfielder’s thigh injury meant he has yet to feature in a pre-season game.
Argyle started with purpose, and Banton, who has been in eyecatching form since returning from the close-season break, made Aaron Martin work hard to block a curling shot after a driving run in from the left flank.
A similar incursion from the same area brought Argyle their opener. This time it was by Reid, who left Martin and his Huish Park horrors well behind him – one suspects it was not just because of his noticeably well-honed physique that he looked a yard faster than his opponents most of the night – before slotting past goalkeeper Chris Weale with some aplomb.
The visitors’ involvement in the game was minimal for the opening quarter but they have a cute player in the shape of the experienced James Hayter, and when the former Bournemouth player played in Sam Foley, McCormick got down smartly to stop the goalbound shot.
McCormick had no answer to Davis’s clipped left-foot shot from over 20 yards out that drew Yeovil level just before the half-hour mark. The Glovers’ midfielder made himself enough time and space to send his measured shot over and across Argyle’s new club captain.
Banton exited proceedings early in the second half – a precautionary move to prevent a knock from worsening – as Yeovil looked altogether brighter, and not just because the floodlights were catching their acid lime away kit. Kieffer Moore twice went close, with a deft header and a thumping drive.
The encounter remained competitive, more so than is normally expected from a pre-season encounter, although the proximity of the opening day of the Sky Bet League campaign might explain that. Even the shifting shapes of the two sides caused by the usual myriad of substitutions could not totally neuter the desire.
Hoskins had the final word although that nearly passed to Argyle substitute Nathan Thomas, whose shot was a good one but narrowly off target.
Argyle: (4-4-2) 23 Luke McCormick, 2 Kelvin Mellor, 5 Curtis Nelson (capt), 6 Peter Hartley, 16 Carl McHugh; 7 Lewis Alessandra, 4 Lee Cox, 20 Ollie Norburn (17 River Allen 80), 8 Jason Banton (Nathan Thomas 52); 10 Marvin Morgan (3 Ben Purrington 66), 9 Reuben Reid (14 Tyler Harvey 80). Substitutes (not used): 1 James Bittner, 13 Aaron Bentley.
Yeovil Town (4-4-2): 1 Chris Weale (gk); 2 Seth Nana Twumasi (13 Nathan Ralph 72), 6 Aaron Martin, 5 Jakub Sokolik (14 Ben Nugent 60), 3 Nathan Smith (18 Brendan Moloney 72); 7 Kevin Dawson (19 Sam Hoskins 72), 4 Joe Edwards (capt), 8 Sam Foley, 11 Liam Davis; 10 James Hayter (17 AJ Leitch-Smith 60), 9 Kieffer Moore. Substitutes (not used): 12 Artur Krysiak (gk), 15 Matteo Lanzoni, 16 Calvin Brooks.
Referee: Lee Swabey.
Attendance: 1,735 (82 away).