Torquay 0 Argyle 1 - Report
Torquay United 0
WITH just one warm-up game to play before the real deal in Kingston on August 8, Argyle remain unbeaten under Derek Adams.
There was some irony that, after averaging three goals a game in their previous four matches, they left it very late to find the target in the first one that their leading scorer for the last two seasons started.
A Graham Carey free-kick, slung in from the right, which evaded all comers as it crept in at the far post, was enough for victory against their National League neighbours. It left the new manager to take heart, not just from the continuing return from injury of Reuben Reid, but also the resilience of his players.
Reid had started his first game since the Pilgrims’ play-off defeat at Wycombe in May as one of two changes to the side that had beaten Reading Under-21s three days earlier courtesy of the Argyle number nine’s late winner.
Reid lined up in the middle of a now familiar front three instead of Ryan Brunt, who is imminently about to become a father, while Lee Cox came into the Pilgrims’ midfield in place of Josh Simpson, whose presence at Plainmoor as a mere spectator suggested he was hors de combat.
Torquay, skippered from central midfield by former Pilgrim Luke Young, proved no real first-half match for Argyle, for who Hiram Boateng again caught the eye and Graham Carey was once more in the thick of the early action.
Argyle were unable to make their confident control pay, although they did come close three times in the opening half-hour: Carey’s volley from 30-yards only just carried the crossbar; Peter Hartley’s close-range shot at the end of a right-wing free-kick by Carey cleared the bar; and Curtis Nelson’s header from a Carey corner was nodded off the goal-line by Bayan Fenwick.
Not every opportunity involved the Irish playmaker. Gregg Wylde sent in crosses from the left that Reid and Cox sent wide while the former could not get the ball out from under his feet after a good delivery from the same flank by Gary Sawyer.
Things evened out after the interval: Young tried to catch out Luke McCormick with an impudent first-time lob from inside his own half and Gulls’ centre-back Angus MacDonald fired wide after Jim Kellerman teed him up, before the United defender proved more adept in his own area in blocking Carey’s attempt following Reid’s lay-off.
Chances all but dried up after that little flurry, but, just as Argyle’s players and a healthy contingent of the Green Army were reflecting on their earlier misfortune and profligacy in front of goal, Carey stepped up to settle the issue.
Torquay United (5-3-2): 1 Fabien Spiess (Dan Lavercombe 61); 16 Courtney Richards, 5 Angus MacDonald, 22 Exodus Geohaghon, 18 Nathan Smith, 3 Dan Butler; 4 Bayan Fenwick (19 Sam Chaney 82), 8 Luke Young (capt), 17 Jim Kellerman, 10 Tyrone Marsh (14 Ashley Yeoman 61), 7 Louis Briscoe (9 Malachi Lavelle-Moore 78). Substitutes (not used): 2 Jamie Richards, 12 Sam Topliss, Pearce Mitchell, 20 Oneil Odofin, 15 Liam Prynn, 6 Jide Maduako, 11 Shepherd Murombedzi.
Argyle (4-3-3): 23 Luke McCormick; 2 Kevin Mellor, 5 Curtis Nelson (capt), 6 Peter Hartley (4 Carl McHugh 61), 3 Gary Sawyer; 7 Lee Cox, 10 Graham Carey, 20 Hiram Boateng; 14 Jake Jervis (24 Louis Rooney 87), 9 Reuben Reid, 11 Gregg Wylde (15 Tyler Harvey 75). Substitutes (not used): 16 Ben Purrington, 19 Aaron Bentley, 21 Cory Harvey (gk), 22 Callum Hall, 25 Ryan Lane.
Referee: Adam Hopkins.
Attendance: 1,789 (810 away).