Argyle 2 Reading U21 1 - Report
Carey 52, Reid 87
by Haden Tye
ARGYLE continued their entertaining pre-season, beating a plucky Reading side thanks to a late Reuben Reid goal, in a game that delivered goals, chances and glimpses of quality.
After a goalless first half in which both sides missed penalties, Argyle took the lead via a Graham Carey effort that was cancelled out by Royals substitute Lisandro Semedo, before Reid's late flourish gave Derek Adams a winning start to Home Park tenure.
Argyle have adopted a fluid style under Adams so far this pre-season, and continued this during an end-to-end encounter. Argyle's other three pre-season games have all provided more goals, but this one was no less exciting.
Argyle started the game with the same 4-3-3 formation that Adams had opted for four days earlier in Argyle's 3-3 draw at Bath City. Adams also stuck with all but one of the 11 that started at Twerton Park, with new loan signing Hiram Boateng from Crystal Palace replacing Carl McHugh in the defensive midfield role.
Hiram was one of several new signings making their first start for Argyle at Home Park, with Josh Simpson, Gregg Wylde, Carey and Jervis also making their home debuts, and Gary Sawyer making his first home appearance since 2010.
Reading came closest to opening the scoring, only for the post to keep the visitors out. A whipped Liam Kelly delivery from a free-kick met Dominic Hyam's head as he pipped Luke McCormick to the ball, but his header bounced of the post and was cleared away by Argyle's defence.
The game had seemingly come to life, and Argyle were next to go close. A cross from Wylde was met by Carey who was brought down from behind by Hyam. Jervis stepped up to take the penalty, but was denied his sixth pre-season goal by an impressive save from Lewis Ward in the Reading goal.
Argyle pushed on; Boateng latched onto a loose pass from Reading centre back Zak Jules and slotted Wylde in on goal, however his powerful effort was saved by the feet of the Reading keeper.
A clever one-two between Tanner and Rowan Liburd saw Curtis Nelson bring down Tanner in the box, with the ref pointing to the spot once again. Reading's number 10 took the penalty too, but his effort hit the same post that Hyam's header had struck earlier in the half.
Half-time saw Ryan Brunt make way for Reid, whilst Reading made three substitutes. Seven minutes after the restart Argyle opened the scoring as Kelvin Mellor teed up Carey who rifled the ball past the Reading keeper from outside the box, with the ball taking a slight deflection as it flew.
Reading left it late to grab an equaliser, as Sammi Fridjonsson's shot from the edge of the box deflected into the path of Semedo, and the substitute stroked the ball past McCormick from close range with just over 10 minutes to go.
Argyle almost hit back immediately, when a deep Carey corner was met by Nelson, who headed across goal, only for Tom McIntyre to head away for another Argyle corner.
With time running out, the Pilgrims found a winner. Carey added an assist to his goal, cutting in from the left to play in Reid, who turned past Jules, before striking across the goalkeeper and into the bottom left corner of the net.
The late winner topped off a successful afternoon for Argyle, with the team adapting to Derek Adams' style, whilst also gaining fitness before the season begins in a fortnight.
More of the same, please.
Argyle (4-3-3): 23 Luke McCormick; 2 Kevin Mellor, 5 Curtis Nelson (capt), 6 Peter Hartley, 3 Gary Sawyer; 8 Josh Simpson (16 Ben Purrington 81), 20 Hiram Boateng (25 Ryan Lane 90), 10 Graham Carey (22 Callum Hall 90); 11 Gregg Wylde (7 Lee Cox 78), 17 Ryan Brunt (9 Reuben Reid half-time), 14 Jake Jervis (24 Louis Rooney 87). Substitutes (not used): 21 Cory Harvey (gk).
Reading (4-4-2): 1 Lewis Ward (13 George Legg 61); 2 Jake Sheppard, 5 Dominic Hyam (15 Sammi Fridjonsson 61), 6 Zak Jules, 3 Nana Owusu (12, Tom McIntyre 61); 10 Craig Tanner, 4 Conor Shaughnessy, 8 Aaron Kuhl, 7 Liam Kelly (16 Lisandro Semedo half-time); 9 Andrija Novakovich (17 Habib Oveslati half-time), 11 Rowan Liburd (20 Harry Cardwell half-time) Substitutes (not used): 14 Noor Husin
Referee: Lee Swabey.