Argyle Academy celebrate win over Cheltenham

Report | Argyle Academy 3 Cheltenham Town 0

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Argyle Academy 3
Jenkins Davies 18, 36, Hatch 61

Cheltenham Town 0

A Will Jenkins Davies double and a second half header from Joe Hatch eased Argyle past Cheltenham Town to set up an FA Youth Cup second round tie at Gillingham.

Jenkins Davies leapt highest to send a header into the far corner of the net to send Argyle on their way midway through the first half before reacting fastest to power home before half time. Hatch put the result beyond doubt finishing off a training ground set play just after the hour, before midfielder Caleb Roberts saw his powerful penalty saved.

Darren Way named the same starting XI that began the washed-out fixture seven days prior, with central defender Oscar Halls captaining a side containing plenty of big match experience for the level, including fellow professionals Roberts and Jenkins Davies – both of whom played a part in the senior side’s Emirates FA Cup tie at Grimsby only a few days earlier.

Lining up in a mirror image of Steven Schumacher’s first team, with Wales youth international duo Hatch and Jenkins Davies playing in behind Kieran Edworthy, Argyle started strongly, and Freddie Issaka’s twinkle-toes on the right wing nearly unpicked the Robins’ back line, but a last-ditch clearance by Cam Walters repelled the attack.

A few moments later, Argyle’s youngest-ever first team appearance holder did it again, clipping a first touch sharply around his marker and driving into the box – with another low cross cut out.

The visitors, meanwhile, were also not shy in coming forward – and they fired a warning shot soon after. A cross from the right wing by Freddy Willcox found Fin Jenner unmarked, but the Cheltenham centre-forward could not divert the driven cross on target with his head.

While Cheltenham missed their chance to open the scoring, Argyle made no such mistake. Just as it was when the Greens beat Cheltenham 4-2 to begin their EFL Youth Alliance campaign earlier this season, the deadlock was broken by Jenkins Davies, who leapt brilliantly to beat his marker to head home a superb right wing cross from Hatch.

In front and clicking through the gears, Argyle continued to pose problems with aerial balls into the box. First, a set piece delivered by Cole Gibbings to the far post was headed back across goal by Jack Endacott, but Hatch could not keep his close-range volley down under close attention from a defender. Next, Endacott provided another chance with a cross from the left, but Edworthy did not get enough on his glancing header to hit the target.

As the first half wore on, the Greens began to take full control. Edworthy’s tenacity in winning the ball back laid a chance on for Hatch, who fired over. Eventually, the weight of chances told.

Cheltenham failed to clear their lines after an Edworthy shot was blocked, and Jenkins Davies gratefully slammed home the rebound from six yards to notch his fourth goal in two games against the Robins this season and leave Argyle firmly in charge at the break.

The visitors began the second half with renewed vigour, and nearly caught Argyle cold. Jenner earned some room inside the box and controlled a chipped ball to fire low across goal with his left foot, but a fingertip stop from Zak Baker in the Argyle goal denied him, with Halls and fellow defensive reinforcements arriving on the line to ensure the ball fizzed outside of the far post.

To their credit, Cheltenham continued to seek a route back into the game. Substitute Dan-Lewis Bamana, with his first touch off the bench, ghosted in at the far post to catch the Argyle back-line napping and fired low at goal – but Baker denied him brilliantly with his legs.

Having repelled the Robins’ desperate attempts to mount a fightback, the Greens put the game beyond doubt on the hour. Once again, a smart set-piece created havoc in the Cheltenham back-line, as a short routine between Jenkins Davies and Issaka saw the former cross to Halls at the far post, who headed back across goal for Hatch to nod over the line at the Devonport End.

Three minutes later, Hatch won a penalty. Cheltenham goalkeeper Ben Hoy, who had been booked moments earlier for dissent following the third goal, made a mess of a back-pass and lost possession in the box, felling the Argyle forward in the aftermath.

Referee Mark King spared Hoy the ignominy of a second booking, and Hoy took full advantage, dusting himself off and making amends by diving low to the right to save Roberts’ powerful spot-kick.

Argyle nearly added a fourth late on, when substitute Jensen Ireland threaded the ball into the right channel – and Hoy once again raced out of his box, only to be beaten to the ball by Edworthy. The Greens’ front man showed good composure and decision making to lay off to Issaka on the edge of the area, but he was charged down by a lunging Brandon Liggett before he had the opportunity to fire into an empty net.

Argyle (3-4-3): 1 Zak Baker (gk); 2 Jack Matthews, 5 Oscar Halls (capt), 3 Cole Gibbings (12 Joel Sullivan 90); 4 7, Freddie Issaka, 4 Cole Fisher (15 Jensen Ireland 83), 6 Caleb Roberts,11 Jack Endacott; 8 Will Jenkins Davies, 9 Kieran Edworthy, 10 Joe Hatch (14 Lewis Colwell 73). Substitutes (not used): 13 Dan Holman (gk),16 Gene Price.

Booked: Roberts 6, Fisher 68

Cheltenham Town: 1 Ben Hoy (gk), 2 Harry Tustin, 3 Freddy Willcox, 4 Alfie Taylor (14 Ibby Olateju 70) , 5 Cam Walters, 6 Alex Wilkie, 7 Jay Simpson, 8 Brandon Liggett (capt), 9 Fin Jenner, 10 Tom King (16 Elliot Lewis 70), 11 David Romer (15 Dan-Lewis Bamana 55). Substitutes (not used): 20 Jude Franks (gk), 17 Lenny Johnson, 18 Hayden Coleman, 19 Noah Parker.

Booked: Romer 51, Liggett 54, Hoy 61

Attendance: 437

Referee: Mark King

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