ARGYLE first-team coach Kevin Nancekivell presided over the completion of a satisfying weekend for the Pilgrims, as they deservedly held Everton to a 1-1 draw in the Premier League Cup.
Less than 24 hours after the FA Cup victory at Bolton, the Greens recovered from conceding an early goal in the game played at Southport to earn their second draw against Premier League opponents in this competition when Billy Clarke calmly slotted in a penalty before half-time.
Goalkeeper Michael Cooper produced some superb saves on the day but that was far from the full story, as a young Argyle outfit, bolstered by the experience of Clarke, Dom Telford and Ryan Taylor, played some excellent football against a very strong team.
“I was really pleased with it [the result] and following on from yesterday’s FA Cup win against Bolton, it’s been a good weekend for the club,” said Nance. “We were terrific today, matched them in all areas and fully deserved a point.
“He [Cooper] was spot on and we all know how much of a talented goalkeeper he is, but there were a lot of good performances today. The three senior boys were terrific and got some minutes into their legs.
“The Academy graduates have played against a Premier League club and done themselves proud. It’s now a draw against Watford and Everton, two Premier League clubs, so we’re moving in the right direction.
“They [Everton] scored slightly against the run of play but the character and resilience we showed was first class. There were some good performances and some happy boys. We keep raising the bar, expecting the standards to be higher all the time and this is the level we want to play at. They’ve proven they can handle these types of matches.
“As everyone in the first-team would be, their [senior players] attitude was fantastic and Billy showed his experience right before half-time to get us back in the game. They showed in 45 minutes they could play against the best players in the country and it was just to believe in themselves [in the second half].
“Everton are making a mockery of most of the teams they play at their level and we had to believe in ourselves, not show too much respect and see if you can get something out of the game.
“They carried on doing what they were doing and everyone was really happy. There were some good passages and, while Coops will take the headlines because he made some fantastic saves, I don’t think we were being peppered.
“There was lots of good play, perhaps didn’t have the cutting edge at times but that will come. We will keep working on getting better all the time and we want our boys to be tested. The Premier League Cup gives us that opportunity and we will keep on working.”