Darren delighted with Academy response
Darren Way’s young Greens confidently surpassed Oxford United on Saturday after Jamal Salawu’s brace helped secure the first win for the Academy of 2022.
Argyle are now level on points with Devon rivals, Exeter City, and only three points off EFL Youth Alliance league leaders, AFC Bournemouth.
Describing the performance, Way said, “Really pleasing. I thought it could have been more if I’m honest.
“In both penalty boxes, we defended very well and today. I thought we were very clinical in the final third.
“We asked what a spirited performance looks like. Today they gave us the answers to those questions.”
Argyle travelled to Oxford for what was the second of three consecutive away trips for the under-18s.
They looked to respond positively after last week’s 2-1 defeat to Forest Green Rovers and made their intentions known early on.
The Greens were strong throughout and would reap the rewards on the 20-minute mark. Jamal Salawu received the ball inside the box from a well-timed pass courtesy of Oscar Rutherford.
In space, Salawu picked out the far corner and gave Argyle the lead.
More chances fell Argyle’s way as they continued to control the first half.
After the break, Argyle’s youngsters came out flying.
In the first minute of the second half, Will Jenkins-Davies with space in the box drilled the ball under the Oxford goalkeeper and added Argyle’s second for the day.
Oxford equalised eight minutes later but the Greens continued to press and Salawu grabbed his second and Argyle’s third goal, which would ultimately see all three points come back to Plymouth.
Way had praise with how his team reacted, “I thought the players managed moments well away to this Oxford team.
“They can be very ‘street smart’ in the way that they play, they can be very physical and you’ve got to stand up to all of these challenges that they caused.
Talking about the closing moments, Way said, “In the last 15 minutes we had to manage the game.
“In the week before, we made two or three misplaced passes in areas we shouldn’t have, so I thought today, we managed the game really well. “
Way also had praise for his players, “You could see some excellent individual performances with one or two out last week.
A special mention must go to Jack Endacott; he’s responded well this week in training, and he’s managed to put that into a performance.
“Jamal, I asked him to be more consistent and be a threat in front of goal and to hit the target, and today, he did really, really well.”
Argyle under-18s are back in action next week as they travel away to 7th placed Cheltenham Town.