Weymouth 2 Argyle 2Weymouth 2
Shephard 8, Yetton 30
Thomas pen 14, Mellor 56
by Chris Groves
ARGYLE continued their preparation for the 2014-15 season with a 2-2 draw against Weymouth.
The hosts took the lead after eight minutes, thanks to Chris Shephard’s quick thinking and lethal strike from 20 yards out. Their lead was quickly eradicated after Aaron Bentley was fouled inside the area, and Nathan Thomas dispatched the resulting penalty.
Weymouth retook the lead through ex-Pilgrim Stewart Yetton, who stretched out to turn his shot home from inside the box.
Plymouth’s second equaliser came from the unlikely source of Kelvin Mellor, who netted from close range after a flurry of attacks.
Whilst Deane Smalley was available for selection after missing the game against Tavistock, Lee Cox had to miss out through injury, along with Dominic Blizzard.
In a flexible formation, Tyler Harvey and Nathan Thomas provided the main support for lone striker Marvin Morgan, with Paul Wotton in defensive midfield role.
However, it was the hosts who took the lead after eight minutes. After River Allen lost control of a high-bouncing ball, Shephard pounced on the opportunity, rifling home from just outside the box, to the right of James Bittner.
It only took six minutes for the Pilgrims to respond. Nathan Thomas picked up the ball in a wide left position, before cutting inside, committing defenders and playing in Aaron Bentley.
The advancing right-back was brought down in the box for a clear penalty, and Thomas took on the responsibility of slotting home the spot kick to the keeper’s right.
As was the case in the Greens’ opening friendly with Tavistock, Thomas’ pace caused plenty of problems for Weymouth, and he nearly doubled his tally soon – his close-range shot saved by Jason Matthews.
Another jinking Thomas run then led to a manic goalmouth scramble, with the ball finally falling to Ben Purrington, who blazed his left-footed shot over the bar and out of the Bob Lucas Stadium.
Weymouth looked to retake the lead with a well worked move down the left wing, but the resulting header from former Argyle player Yetton could not find the target.
The striker made up for his error in the 28th minute: Shane Krac’s cross from the right found its way to Yetton, who managed to wrap his foot around the ball enough find the far corner.
Weymouth nearly increased their lead twice in the space of a minute. A Shephard free-kick into the box caused Carl McHugh to clear over his own bar under heavy pressure. The resulting corner found the head of former Torquay United player Tim Sills, who could not keep his header low enough to trouble Bittner.
Argyle briefly threatened again towards the end of the first half when a long ball over the defense allowed Thomas to break the offside trap and get around the keeper, but his shot from a tight angle was blocked on the line.
Apart from Argyle’s penalty and sparse opportunities, The Terras controlled proceedings for most of the first 45 minutes, looking cultured and calculated in possession, with the likes of Yetton and Jamie Laird looking really fired up for the occasion.
Sheridan made seven changes in the break, with only Curtis Nelson, McHugh, Harvey and Thomas not to be substituted.
Reuben Reid replaced Morgan up front and got in the action early on, making a neat run into the inside left channel brought a shot that needed a smart save from Matthews.
After 56 minutes, a clever through ball from Lewis Alessandra found Reid, who laid the ball off for trialist Oliver Norburn to hit a fierce strike, which was saved again by the Terras’ shot-stopper.
Weymouth failed to clear the ball though, and another incisive run from Thomas set up a chance for Kelvin Mellor, whose shot crawled just over the line beyond a sprawling Matthews to make it 2-2.
With twenty minutes to go, the Pilgrims had a glorious chance to take the lead for the first time. Another intricate through ball – this time from Reid – put through Jason Banton, who after rounding the last defender, skied his shot from six yards out.
Whilst Argyle wrestled back control of the game, they could not turn possession into goals. The hard work and creativity of Banton, Alessandra and Reid threatened often, but lacked an end product.
Sheridan’s men will continue their pre-season preparation this Tuesday evening, away at Torquay United.
Argyle (first half)(4-4-2): 1 James Bittner; 13 Aaron Bentley, 5 Curtis Nelson, 16 Carl McHugh, 3 Ben Purrington; 21 Duncan Capriotti, 14 Tyler Harvey, 15 Paul Wotton, 17 River Allen; 19 Nathan Thomas, 10 Marvin Morgan.
Argyle (second half) (4-4-2): 23 Luke McCormick; 2 Kelvin Mellor, 5 Curtis Nelson, 6 Peter Hartley, 16 Carl McHugh; 19 Nathan Thomas (23 Deane Smalley 62), 4 Ollie Norburn, 14 Tyler Harvey, 8 Jason Banton; 7 Lewis Alessandra, 9 Reuben Reid.
Weymouth: 1 Jason Matthews, 2 Ashley Wells, 3 Jordan Copp, 4 Shane Krac, 5 Jamie Laird, 6 Ed Palmer 7 Chris McPhee, 8 George Rigg, 9 Stuart Yetton ©, 10 Tim Sills, 11 Chris Shephard,
Substitutes: 12 Sam Poole (63) 14 Kyle Moore (GK, 45), 15 Conor Jevon (63) 16 Jamie West, 17 Steve Colwell (45), 18 Mark Ford (75) 19 Callum Laird, 20 Josh Tenant, Adam Kelly (63),