Bovey Tracey 0 Argyle 6 - Report
Bovey Tracey 0 Argyle 6 (Carey, Rooney, Jervis, Goodwillie, Own Goal, Spencer)
ARGYLE brought their tally to 22 pre-season goals following a third game in five days against Peninsula League opposition.
Three goals in each half at Bovey Tracey gave the Pilgrims another comfortable evening - now the work will really start.
The Pilgrims employed a 3-5-2 system throughout the game, with defenders Nauris Bulvitis, Yann Songo'o and Sonny Bradley forming an unbroken trio throughout the evening. They were rarely troubled - and those behind them had an even quieter evening. Goalkeeper Vincent Dorel had only a handful of touches in the first period, and his trialist replacement - a different goalkeeping trialist to the one seen at Tavistock the previous evening - even fewer.
Development player Billy Palfrey and Gary Sawyer, as wing-backs, completed 90 minutes, and they began the game flanking a midfield trio of Ben Purrington, Ben Steer and Graham Carey. The latter, captain for the evening, was tasked with playing in the area behind forwards Jake Jervis and Louis Rooney, but frankly the Irishman played wherever he darn well pleased. A couple of early efforts of his were blocked, but at the third attempt Carey whistled home the opening goal from just outside the area.
The home side hit the side netting in what would be their best chance of the night, before Jervis went close twice at the other end. Both times he was denied by the home goalkeeper, who has likely never played so well and conceded six goals.
Jake's first effort came indirectly via a huge header from the towering presence of Bradley. Appropriately for a Derek Adams-led side, there was an interesting Scottish metaphor running through the middle of the park for Argyle. Two Bens in the foreground - Purrington and Steer, as opposed to Lomond or Nevis - with three man mountains dominating the sky-line behind them. Songo'o's physical presence shone through, with Bulvitis, eye-catchingly smooth on the ball as the right-sided centre-back, occasionally drifted forward to support those in front. Bradley, meanwhile, could be carved from Glencoe granite, such is his imposing stature.
The Braveheart spirit was not needed on this night, but Derek's men played with increased freedom. The flame-haired Rooney's deflected effort got beyond the home custodian to double Argyle's advantage, before the young striker teed up his attacking partner Jervis, who finished at the far post to get his fifth goal in this pre-season.
At the break, Dorel made way for a trialist goalkeeper who I think had only one more touch than me (i.e. one), while Steer, having played 45 minutes in his home-town, was replaced by Argyle's midfield trialist, who had played 90 minutes at Tavistock the previous night. The third half-time alternate was David Goodwillie, on for Rooney, and the Scotsman soon made it 4-0, capitalising after the home goalkeeper made an excellent save from Jervis, but could not retain the well-struck ball.
Argyle hit the bar four times in the second half - via Songo'o twice, Jervis and substitute Jimmy Spencer - and the goalkeeper made a host of saves to keep the number down. He, though was powerless to stop a deflected Sawyer cross from getting beyond him, while Spencer, a late replacement for Jervis, made sure he joined the man he came on for in having scored in each pre-season game so far.
Development player Jack Calver got a run-out in the second half, as did Ryan Donaldson, with Purrington - the only player to have started each game so far - and Carey taking well-earned breathers.
Had Argyle slipped up, or only won narrowly, during the first three games of pre-season, it would not have been a disaster of Icelandic proportions, nor a failure matching that of a slip-up to Lincoln Red Imps, but the chances created - and taken - in handsome victories, must be taken as a positive.
No-one will look back, wherever we finish in May, and discuss the goal differential in early pre-season outings, but it seems senseless being anything other than content at the first 270 minutes of action.
From here, it gets tougher. National League Torquay United are our hosts on Saturday, followed by a visit to Truro City the following Tuesday. The Gulls, led by a Plymothian skipper, will always be content at getting one over the green third of Devon, and while the Cornish White Tigers may not yet have acquired the status of 'noisy neighbours', we can at least occasionally hear their music drifting up the street via an open window.
Both sides will fancy putting Argyle in their place, and thus are perfect challengers at this stage of our build-up. Argyle will visit in good spirits, getting to know one another on a daily basis, as the big day against Luton grows ever closer.
It is starting to get to the fun stuff. Excited yet?
Argyle (3-5-2): 21 Vincent Dorel (Trialist B); 5 Nauris Bulvitis, 4 Yann Songo'o, 15 Sonny Bradley; 2 Billy Palfrey, 8 Ben Steer (Trialist A), 10 Graham Carey (11 Ryan Donaldson), 16 Ben Purrington (Jack Calver), 3 Gary Sawyer; 14 Jake Jervis (Jimmy Spencer), 20 Louis Rooney (David Goodwillie).
The games against Torquay and Truro will both be covered live, with full commentary on Argyle Player. Click here for details of how to sign up.