Milk Cup Report - Argyle 6 Sydney United 2ARGYLE'S Academy squad are through to the semi-finals of the Dale Farm Milk Cup junior section after another victory in Northern Ireland.
For the third day running Argyle beat international opposition, this time Australian side Sydney United, to retain a 100% record in the competition - and to top the league!
Twenty-eight teams were entered in the competition, competing in seven groups of four. However, it was overall record, not individual group performance, that would determine the progress of each team. With a maximum of nine points, and a goal difference of +10, Argyle topped the table, ahead of junior squads from the likes of Liverpool, Southampton, Rangers and some major international sides. To view the full table, click here.
We will now face SC Corinthians, of Brazil, in the semi-finals, on Thursday. Corinthians is a top Brazilian club, based in Sao Paulo, whose former players include Rivelino, Socrates and Roberto Carlos.
Argyle were made to work by a determined Sydney side, though, who started the game well. For the first time since arriving in Northern Ireland, Argyle found themselves behind in a game as Mark Moric shot home from close range.
Argyle hit back almost immediately, as Alex Battle fired over a left wing corner to find central defender Jordan Bentley rising to head powerfully in to the roof of the net.
Three minutes later the young Greens were in the lead as Alex Fletcher's great run ended with him unselfishly squaring the ball to the unmarked Sam Ryan to stroke the ball in to an unguarded net.
Ryan then saw his low drive well saved by goalkeeper Aiden Munford before Jake Lane put in Fletcher, with the Aussie stopper spreading himself well to block the shot.
Argyle were dominant and a third goal soon followed as Battle retrieved a corner, out wide on the right, only to be tripped in the area. He promptly smashed his spot-kick past Munford.
The first half ended with Argyle on the attack - Tyler Tonkin's long range effort almost adding a fourth - but the second half was a different affair. Sydney emerged a much stronger outfit, putting the Argyle defence under heavy examination but they were well marshalled by Bentley and the best effort at goal came at the other end as Fletcher flashed a drive across goal and wide.
The Australians shook the Argyle youngsters with a very lucky goal as Josh Bartolotto's free kick deceived everyone to bounce inside the far post. The Aussies piled forward, but with just eight minutes remaining Ryan fired over a great right wing cross that found Battle losing his marker at the near post to volley home his fifth goal of the tournament.
Sydney heads dropped, especially after Bentley had headed home a left wing corner and, with the game in stoppage time, Ryan raced in from the right to supply a superb finish past the onrushing goalkeeper.
Argyle: Michael Cooper, Ryan Dabbs (Harry Hodges), Ryan Law, Harry Downing, Jordan Bentley, Josh Richards, Sam Ryan (Billy Craske), Tyler Tonkin (Sam Morgan ), Alex Fletcher, Alex Battle, Jake Lane. Substitutes not used: Max Childs, Elliott Crawford, Matthew Ward, Cameron Sangster.