Bideford 1 Argyle 3 - Report
Jervis 4, 81; Brunt 53.
by Chris Groves
ARGYLE continued their pre-season preparations with a 3-1 victory against Bideford AFC, with strikers Ryan Brunt and Jake Jervis continuing their early, prolific form in front of goal.
The latter scored goals after 4th and 85th minutes, either side of a header from in the 53rd, seeing off a competitive Ev0-Stik Southern League side, who had Sean Downing to thank for their goal after 57 minutes.
The usual jostling for position in July ensued for the Greens, as four changes were made to the team that saw off Elburton Villa the previous Tuesday. Luke McCormick, Aaron Bentley, Ben Purrington and Lee Cox were added to starting line-up as James Bittner, Carl McHugh and Kelvin Mellor made way – the latter given some time to rest and get to know his new-born child. Gary Sawyer, returning the town he spent the majority of their childhood in, also dropped to the bench after playing every minute of the Elburton game.
The formation deployed by Derek Adams changed ever so slightly, too, with a flexible 4-4-2 shape replaced by an equally fluid 4-2-1-3, with Graham Carey operating behind Ryan Brunt, and all-out wingers Gregg Wylde and Jake Jervis.
Not everything had changed from that first game, mind: Wylde’s rapid pace down the right wing was once again on display after just three minutes, as he created the opening goal. Released down the wing by Purrington, the Scot raced away from his man and picked out Jake Jervis at the far post, who slotted his shot through the legs of Bideford keeper Josh Colwill.
Carey also picked up where he left off, drifting in a corner seven minutes later that Ryan Brunt nodded past the far post. Jervis then twisted and turned to find room on the corner of the box, smashing an effort against the same post that Brunt had just narrowly evaded.
The hosts’ first response came on the 20-minute mark. Their stand-out performer in the early goings, Matty Bye, found space in front of the back four to reel off a low effort that McCormick quickly got down to keep out. Sean Downing then gave Luke another tester, but the Pilgrims were keen to grab back the initiative, and Josh Simpson was only denied by an on-rushing Colwill, after bursting through from midfield.
The Robins continued to provide a more-than-game opposition to Argyle as the first half drew to a close, as Danny Tapp expertly controlled and turned, in the box, before forcing McCormick to tip his strike over the bar. If the visitors were looking for a further challenge in their second run-out, they certainly got it in the opening 45 minutes – not only with their opposition, but also the rock solid ground on a summery North Devon afternoon, that would push the Pilgrims’ limbs to their necessary limits.
Another exemplary set piece from Carey provided the assist for Argyle’s second after 53 minutes. Graham’s swinging corner from the right side gave anyone with a good leap a chance of heading home, and Brunt gladly accepted the invitation, nodding into the far corner.
Bideford responded quickly from a corner of their own, delicately chipped into the six-yard box. The ball could not be cleared and was actually collapsed on by Tapp, who managed to twist himself on the deck to stick out a boot and find the corner. Substitutes Billy Tucker and Ethan Phillips nearly managed to level things up two minutes later, but could not maintain their composure in clear, goal-scoring opportunities.
Three Argyle changes shortly ensued, with Carl McHugh and Gary Sawyer both reprising roles in the centre of defence. Reuben Reid made a big step towards fully recovering from foot surgery, coming on to play half an hour.
As one would expect, the flow of the fixture fizzled out somewhat, as both teams re-adjusted their line-ups, but Jervis capped off another impressive display by grabbing a third for the Greens with eight minutes remaining. The athletic forward found a central position and broke through Bideford’s back line, stopped only by an outstretched from their shot-stopper. Jervis dusted himself off and took on the responsibility to slot home the spot kick, before being replaced by Louis Rooney, who nearly added a late coup de grace.
Argyle (4-2-3-1): 23 Luke McCormick (21 Cory Harvey 89); 19 Aaron Bentley, 5 Curtis Nelson (4 Carl McHugh 63), 6 Peter Hartley (3 Gary Sawyer 63), 16 Ben Purrington; 7 Lee Cox, 6 Josh Simpson; 10 Graham Carey, (22 Callum Hall 89); 11 Gregg Wylde (25 Ryan Lane 89), 14 Jake Jervis (24 Louis Rooney 82), 17 Ryan Brunt (9 Reuben Reid 63).
Bideford: 1 Josh Colwill, 2 Ian Sampson, 3 Stephen Reed, 4 Sean Downing, 5 Dan Harrison, 6 Danny Tapp, 7 Matt Hockley, 8 Matty Bye, 9 Jordan Charran, 10 Matty Andrews, 11 Ben Wood. Substitutes: 12 Ethan Phillips, 14 Billy Tucker, 15 Nick Barker, 16 Richard Groves, 17 Kevin Squire.
Referee: Lee Roberts