Matt Butcher on debut

Report | Plymouth Parkway 2 Argyle 2

Plymouth Parkway 2
Palfrey 12, Seymour 45+1

Argyle 2
Hardie 82, Edwards 90+2

Late goals from Ryan Hardie and Joe Edwards secured a 2-2 draw with Southern League Premier side Plymouth Parkway in Argyle’s pre-season opener at Bolitho Park.

Despite enjoying swathes of territory and possession, the Pilgrims had trailed 2-0 at the interval, with Parkway proving clinical with their limited opportunities on goal. Eventually, though, Argyle cranked through the gears and made their pressure pay in front of a full house in Manadon.

Such is the stability in Steven Schumacher’s squad heading into the 22/23 season, only one new face was on display at Bolitho Park, with Matt Butcher beginning the game on the bench.

The fixture came too soon for fellow summer signing Mickel Miller to be involved, while the quartet of Brendan Galloway, James Bolton, Conor Grant and Panutche Camara missed out due to being at varying stages of recovery from injury. Finley Craske, who spent a successful loan spell on loan at Parkway last season, began the game at right wing-back.

The Greens peppered the Parkway box with crosses in the opening stages, but it was the hosts who made the early breakthrough.

There is an air of positivity surrounding Lee Hobbs' side following their back-to-back promotions, and the quality they possess was on full display when marquee summer signing Ben Seymour smartly chested a low ball in behind for Billy Palfrey to coolly slot into the far corner.

Buoyed by the opener, midfielder Palfrey - who was on Argyle’s books as a youngster - looked to add to his tally shortly afterwards, attempting an audacious lob from the best part of 40 yards, but Argyle stopper Callum Burton was comfortably back in position to claim the chipped effort.

Composing themselves after falling behind, normal service was soon resumed for Argyle, with various combinations of final ball attempting to pick the Parkway lock.

Danny Mayor and Ryan Law combined down the left before Mayor’s in-swinging delivery was flicked narrowly wide of the back post by Niall Ennis.

Ennis’ strike partner, Luke Jephcott, would come similarly close within a minute, connecting with Law’s low cross first time at the near post, but his right-footed effort fizzed off target.

Next, an intricate one-two inside the area between Ennis and Mayor saw the latter deliver a cross-shot to the far post, which was shovelled away from goal by a Parkway defender, before Adam Randell followed up with a searing drive, blocked bravely by a yellow shirt.

The hosts continued to put their bodies on the line to preserve a hard-earned lead, and a sea of yellow on the six-yard line fended off another Randell drive after Jephcott’s movement and control left home goalkeeper Kyle Moore stranded.

Somehow, and to Parkway's immense credit, Argyle found themselves two down at the break. As most minds at Bolitho Park had drifted towards the burger van and beers inside the clubhouse, Seymour timed his run in behind to perfection before clipping a lob over Burton and into the net.

As manager Schumacher intimated would be the case in his pre-match interview, wholesale changes were made at half-time, with the entire bench emptied, and only Jephcott and Randell remaining on the pitch from the first half.

Argyle started the second term brightly, with captain Edwards and Butcher combining to send a cross to the far post, where scholar Jack Endacott sent a looping header back across goal and onto the roof of the net. A few minutes later, the wing-back would combine with Hardie on the break, sending a low effort across the face of goal from the left flank.

Butcher took aim on the hour, curling a dipping effort at goal after a short corner routine, but Moore tipped it expertly over the bar. From the resultant corner, Jeff Forkuo, another scholar, flicked narrowly wide after some head tennis in the box.

Opportunities continued to pass by without a breakthrough, with Hardie taking one touch too many to get the shot away after an Edwards knock-down, before a pair of volleyed efforts from Jordan Houghton and Edwards went off target.

Weight of pressure eventually told on a tiring Parkway defence in the closing stages, as Hardie smartly latched onto a rebounding ball in the box, timing a sweet hooked volley into the top corner to bring Argyle back into the tie.

The Greens were nearly level moments later, with substitute goalkeeper Jake Mead-Crebbin, on immediately after Hardie’s goal, denying Edwards with a brilliant low stop after Jephcott’s pull-back. 

Just as it looked as though Parkway would hold on for a proud victory, the Greens’ skipper stepped up to nod Forkuo’s excellent right-wing cross beyond the dive of Mead-Crebbin and into the bottom corner.

Plymouth Parkway: 1 Kyle Moore (gk) (Jake Mead-Crebbin 82), 2 Tyler Ashmead (12 Callum Hall 59), 3 Ryan Lane, 4 Austen Booth (16 Carlo Garside 65), 5 Callum Rose, 6 Michael Landricombe (capt) (17 Trialist A 81), 7 Mikey Williams (14 Jack Crago 59), 8 Billy Palfrey (18 Trialist B 59), 9 Ben Seymour (15 Theo Simpson 59), 10 Dan Rooney, 11 Rio Garside (19 Trialist C 76). Substitutes (not used): 19 Trialist C, 20 Trialist D.


Argyle (3-5-2): 25 Callum Burton (gk) (1 Mike Cooper half-time); 5 James Wilson (capt) (41 Jeff Forkuo half-time), 43 Oscar Halls (6 Dan Scarr half-time), 3 Macaulay Gillesphey (37 Brandon Pursall half-time); 36 Finley Craske (8 Joe Edwards half-time), 16 Alfie Lewis (4 Jordan Houghton half-time), 20 Adam Randell (36 Finley Craske (rolling sub) 81), 10 Danny Mayor (7 Matt Butcher half-time), 27 Ryan Law (42 Jack Endacott half-time); 31 Luke Jephcott, 11 Niall Ennis (9 Ryan Hardie half-time). Substitutes (not used):


Attendance: 2,349

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