A SMILE is never far from Tafari Moore’s face, so he probably did not need to be named man of the match on his Argyle debut to bring about a grin that still shone an hour after the game.
Right-back Tafari was called in to replace the sick Joe Riley in the Pilgrims’ opening Sky Bet League One home game of the season against Southend United, and he played a full part in helping his team to a 1-1 draw.
For the first 45 minutes, the former Arsenal defender played in front of a Lyndhurst Road stand more packed than usual because of the closure of the main grandstand, and he thoroughly enjoyed the experience.
“I loved it,” he said. “I want to see what it’s like with the other side packed, but it’s a nice atmosphere.
“It felt like a real family. That’s what I like about this club. When I was getting the ball, I could hear the fans pushing me on and it was giving me energy.
“I knew, before the game, what I needed to do. I knew my role. I know what kind of player I am and I believe in my ability so I went out there with confidence and I think it went great.”
Taf won the penalty from which Graham Carey gave Argyle a 20th-minute lead, seizing on Southend goalkeeper Mark Oxley’s save from Conor Grant’s header and drawing a foul from Stephen McLaughlin
He said: “We have been told that if [the opposition] leave one striker [up], then both full-backs need to get higher. So I tried to get up there and wait for something to happen.
“As the ball came out, I tried to control it and get a goal, because that’s what I am trying to aim for this season – add goals to my game. I touched [the ball] in front of the No. 11 [McLaughlin] and he clipped my legs.
“It was a penalty. [The Southend players] didn’t think it was penalty – some stuff they were saying to me on the pitch wasn’t the best, not repeatable – but it was clearly a pen.”
Jason Demetriou equalised for Southend, also from the penalty spot, after Ryan Taylor had fouled Timothee Dieng, before Argyle manager Derek Adams and his Southend counterpart Chris Powell were each shown a red card.
Taf did not think the Derek’s absence from the dugout in the second half made a huge deal of difference to the Pilgrims’ performance, with all the groundwork having been laid by the manager during the build-up to the game.
He said: “We already know what we need to do, we know our jobs. Obviously, it does help to have the gaffer on the side but I don’t think it has a big effect on what the team does. We already know what we need to do.”