Report | Argyle Academy 1 Arsenal 1
Argyle u-18s manager Darren Way and his assistant, Jamie Lowry had every right to have big smiles on their faces after a creditable 1-1 draw against Category One side Arsenal.
The game was being played behind closed doors at AFC Tavistock’s Langsford Park and Argyle were more than a match for their illustrious opponents, with Finley Craske scoring the young Pilgrims’ equaliser late on.
Arsenal goalkeeper, Alex Vovacevic made a string of impressive saves to keep the Greens at bay who also hit the woodwork in an impressive second half.
The visitors also saw their captain Henry Jeffcott sent off, after a foul on Will Jenkins-Davies, five minutes from time.
The game began on a somber note as both teams observed a minute’s silence in honour of former Argyle, and England striker Paul Mariner who sadly passed away overnight.
It was the home side who started the game the brightest, Jamal Salawu unlucky when he caught Vovacevic in possession only for a defender cover and clear the danger.
Carlo Garside then sent a 25-yard drive wide before Arsenal began to show their undoubted class and pace. This was when Argyle ‘keeper Lewis Moyle came into his own by making two fine saves to keep out efforts from Kaleel Green.
Argyle weathered that storm and came close to opening the scoring when Angel Waruih freed Jenkins-Davies whose rasping drive brought a fine low save out of Vovacevic.
The Arsenal youngsters obviously received some strong advice during the half time interval and they emerged in determined fashion.
The Argyle defence withstood the early pressure though and the busy Jenkins-Davies saw his shot charged down before Salawu’s follow up rebounded back off the post.
Despite the Pilgrims creatig the better chances it was Arsenal who took the lead in fairly fortuitous circumstances. Timi Henry-Davies’ deflected shot beat Moyle and nestled into the corner of the Argyle goal to give them a 56th minute lead.
Darren Way immediately acted and made a double substitution, bringing on Oscar Halls and Jeffery Forkuo in a move that seemed to change the game.
Jack Endacott burst into the area and his low, angled drive, hit the inside of the Arsenal post to fly across goal before Forkuo fired the loose ball wide.
Argyle made a third substitution, bringing on schoolboy Freddie Issaka, and his spectacular volley from the edge of the area, saw Vovacevic make the save of the game.
An equaliser had to come, and it did 10 minutes from time as Brandon Pursall’s cross caused panic in the visitor’s defence for Finley Craske to steer the ball into the back of the net.
Craske then saw his low drive pushed onto the post by the impressive Vovacevic and from the resultant corner Ethan Mitchell rose high to send in a powerful header that the Arsenal ‘keeper managed to tip over the bar.
The Gunners were reduced to 10 men when Jeffcott’s challenge on Jenkins-Davies saw him collect his second caution of the game.
Argyle pushed forward in search of, what would have been, a deserved winner but Issaka’s late drive was well saved.
Plymouth Argyle: Lewis Moyle, Finley Craske (c), Ethan Mitchell, Brandon Pursall, Oscar Rutherford, Carlo Garside (Oscar Halls 57), Angel Waruih, Will Jenkins-Davies, Jamal Salawu (Jeffrey Forkuo 57), Oscar Massey (Freddie Issaka 69), Jack Endacott (Salawu 79). Substitutes not used: Zak Baker, James Morley.