GRAHAM Carey scored the first Home Park goal of the Derek Adams’ era, and helped set up the winner for the first Home Park win of the new manager’s tenure.
Given their previous association at Ross County and the prominence of the Irish midfielder in Argyle’s unbeaten pre-season, it was perhaps appropriate that Graham gave the Pilgrims a 52nd-minute lead against Reading’s Under-21s after each side had missed a first-half penalty.
“It was good play down the right-hand side,” said Graham. “Kelvin [Mellor] cut a good ball back to the edge of the box and I just made sure I got and good connection and hit the target, and it went in. It took a slight deflection, but it was going in anyway.”
The game was heading for a draw, thanks to Lisandro Semedo’s equaliser, but Argyle made it three wins out of four under Derek when Graham helped set up substitute Reuben Reid for the winner.
He said: “When Reuben’s on the pitch, he’s always alive, especially when he’s around the box. He’s got great feet and he uses his body well. He proved that last year, scoring a lot of goals. It’s good to set one up for him and hopefully I can set more up for him.”
Early evidence suggests that 26-year-old Graham will fill a playmaker role for the Pilgrims this season. It is a responsibility which he enjoys.
He said: “To get on the ball and create is something I like to do, but still put a shift in for the team defensively because, on a pitch this big, we have to keep our shape when we don’t have [the ball]. I like to set up goals and score goals myself, as long as that benefits the team.”
Another benefit to the team – already seen aplenty in pre-season – is Graham’s delivery from corners and free-kicks, although he took a while to find his range on his Home Park debut as a Pilgrim.
“It was pretty poor in the first half, and the manager let me know at half-time that it wasn’t good enough,” he said, “but, in the second half, I found big Nelse [Curtis Nelson] at the back post a few times.
“As long as I’m consistent with it, we have got great height in the team, so I think we’ll score a lot of goals this season.”
Another new recruit, Scottish winger Gregg Wylde, has also caught the eye in pre-season, with his speedy raids down the left. He seems sure to enjoy the wide open spaces of Home Park.
“The surface was great,” said Graham. “I think it will suit the style of play we want to play. It gives our wingers and full-backs the chances to get forward in wide positions and put crosses in the box.
“With the pace Gregg has got, he doesn’t need to do too much with the ball and he’s got a great delivery. If we can make runs into the box, we can feed off that.
“I think that’s going to be a big part of our play this season.”