Argyle v Swansea City

Report | Argyle 1-1 Swansea City

Argyle 1
Hardie 89

Swansea City 1
Piroe 6

A familiar chipped finish from last season’s top scorer Ryan Hardie secured a late draw against Sky Bet Championship side Swansea City at Home Park.

Joel Piroe’s sweet volley just six minutes into the game looked to be enough to grab the win for Russell Martin’s visitors, but Argyle grew into the game and would not be denied a result for their endeavour.

Argyle manager Steven Schumacher’s starting XI offered the Green Army a first glimpse of two of the three summer recruits on home soil, with Matt Butcher and Mickel Miller taking their first steps in Green on the Home Park turf. Callum Burton lined up in goal – with Mike Cooper missing through personal reasons. Newest signing Finn Azaz, who joined on loan from Aston Villa 24 hours before kick-off, joined a substitute contingent containing nine Argyle Academy products.

As the age-old adage goes, pre-season is all about minutes in the legs, and trying new things – both of these objectives were met from kick off, with the Greens working hard to match their higher level opposition’s slick passing game – all while trialling a fluid formation.

Manager Schumacher and his backroom staff’s diligent preparations met a setback early on, with Dutch striker Piroe expertly volleying into the top corner of the Devonport End net after a fortuitous ricochet on the edge of the box.

The Greens had not had much of the ball up until that point, but the goal stirred life in the Pilgrims’ counter-attacking system. James Wilson clipped a measured ball over the top for front-man Niall Ennis to chase, and the Argyle striker looked to slide the ball low past the onrushing Andy Fisher, but the Swans stopper saved well.

If Argyle needed it, the Swans’ riposte was a through ball of their own on 20 minutes, with goalscorer Piroe turning provider for a through ball that saw Michael Obafemi drag wide of the far post.

After a difficult start, the Greens grew in stature as the half wore on. Both captain Joe Edwards and Miller were getting some joy down the flanks, and it was the former who instigated a move which resulted in left-footed centre-back Macaulay Gillesphey firing narrowly wide on his weaker foot from all of 25 yards.

Tricky work from Danny Mayor in midfield released Miller down the left moments later, and he hung a ball up to the far post, but Edwards could not get on top of the header enough to keep the ball under the crossbar. At the other end, just before half time, Piroe wound up that left foot once again, but Burton won the duel on that occasion, tipping wide in the last meaningful act before the interval.

Both teams remained unchanged as the second half began, but, this time, it was Argyle enjoying the lion’s share of the ball. After a lengthy spell of possession, Miller once again rampaged down the left wing - to the delight of his new crowd - before unleashing a devilish low cross that narrowly evaded the lunge of Ennis, before being turned wide by the somewhat surprising figure of James Wilson at the far post.

On the hour, boss Schumacher rotated through the subs bench, introducing six new players, including Azaz. The Swans also introduced four changes of their own. It was an Argyle substitute who tried his luck first, as Ryan Hardie fired a free-kick over the bar from the edge of the area.

Next up, another reinforcement, Azaz, looked to make an immediate impact – first curling over the bar from 25 yards, before twisting his marker inside and out and smashing over the bar from a narrow angle. The intent, if not the end result, was thrilling enough in mid-July.

By the time the remaining substitutes were in play, both sides were full of youthful exuberance, rather than hardened experience. It was a combination of two home-grown talents that saw Fisher’s palms stung on 82 minutes, as Ryan Law’s marauding run and cross found Finley Craske in space, with the newly minted professional volleying hard and low – but too close to the Swansea keeper.

As the Swans played keep-ball to the glee of their loyal travelling support in the Barn Park End, it looked as though Argyle would have to settle for a narrow defeat, but Hardie scampered away before providing a signature chip over Fisher to square things up at the death.

Argyle: 25 Callum Burton (gk), 3 Macaulay Gillesphey (42 Jack Endacott 85), 4 Jordan Houghton (41 Caleb Roberts 77), 5 James Wilson (37 Brandon Pursall 77), 6 Dan Scarr (43 Oscar Halls 77), 7 Matt Butcher (20 Adam Randell 61), 8 Joe Edwards (capt) (36 Finley Craske 61), 10 Danny Mayor (18 Finn Azaz 61), 11 Niall Ennis (31 Luke Jephcott 61), 14 Mickel Miller (27 Ryan Law 61), 16 Alfie Lewis (9 Ryan Hardie 61). Substitutes (not used): Zak Baker (gk)


Swansea City: 1 Andy Fisher (gk), 4 Jay Fulton (Cameron Congreve 45), 6 Harry Darling (31 Ollie Cooper 77), 8 Matt Grimes (capt) (48 Joel Cotterill 77), 9 Michael Obafemi (3 Ryan Manning 61), 10 Olivier Ntcham (12 Jamie Paterson 61), 17 Joel Piroe (16 Brandon Cooper 77), 22 Joel Latibeaudiere (14 Kyle Joseph 70), 23 Nathan Wood (37 Daniel Williams 77), 26 Kyle Naughton (15 Nathanael Ogbeta 61), 29 Matty Sorinola (20 Liam Cullen 61). Substitutes (not used): 13 Lews Webb (gk).


Attendance: 3912 (291 away)

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