Goalscorers celebrate

Report | Torquay United 0 Argyle 5

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Torquay United 0

Argyle 5
Azaz 7, Mayor 20, 57, Randell 45, Endacott 55

On a gloriously sunny July evening, Argyle cruised to pre-season victory on the English riviera.

The first two strikes of the five scored on the evening, by Finn Azaz and Danny Mayor, were particular highlights in a convincing pre-season display at Plainmoor, before Adam Randell, Academy scholar Jack Endacott, and a second for Mayor ensured the scoreline reflected Argyle’s dominance throughout against their National League counterparts.

Pilgrims manager Steven Schumacher shuffled his deck once more in pursuit of equal minutes for the majority of his first-team contenders, and this particular arrangement saw Niall Ennis lead the line and Norwich City loanee Bali Mumba come in for his first start since becoming a Green last week. With regular captain Joe Edwards on the bench, and usual deputy James Wilson absent from the squad, Dan Scarr took the captain’s armband. Meanwhile, Gary Johnson named Ollie Tomlinson, an Argyle Academy graduate who left Home Park in the summer, on the bench.  

With reports of sweltering conditions throughout the country, both sets of players would likely have been grateful to be kicking off in the relatively mild 23-degree heat of Plainmoor.

It was the hosts who forced the first meaningful save, with Kieron Evans curling an excellent free-kick at goal from a narrow angle after a foul from Scarr, which Cooper clawed wide expertly. At the other end, the devastatingly quick wing-back duo of Mickel Miller and Mumba burst into the box, seeing shots blocked by Torquay legs.

The marauding wing-back warning went unheeded by the Gulls, who sat off Aston Villa loanee Azaz and paid the price, as the creative midfielder unloaded a low strike from the edge of the area that flew into the bottom corner of Mark Halstead’s goal.

Argyle bossed the minutes that followed, with Miller and Mayor sending dangerous crosses into the box from the left flank. On a rare Torquay break, though, Corie Andrews caused momentary panic by getting between Macaulay Gillesphey and Michael Cooper, but his lobbed attempt from just outside the box was scuffed comfortably off target.

Moments later, the hosts did find the net, with Ross Marshall getting on the end of a set-piece to head beyond Cooper – though the Argyle back line had successfully caught him in the offside trap.

Gulls supporters had barely retaken their seats in Bristow’s Bench before Mayor emphatically curled a second home, from uncannily similar range to Azaz’s opener. A pattern of play which began with Cooper pulled the Gulls’ defensive shape into disarray, clearing the centre of the field for a signature Mayor dribble. Upon reaching the edge of the area, the midfielder shaped right and unloaded a supremely satisfying finish into the bottom corner.

Before half time, Mayor could’ve had another. Breaking through the Torquay midfield in tandem, the Pilgrims’ no.10 and Miller played some delightful one-touch football that culminated in Mayor’s low left-footed cross-shot sliding between the far post and the lunge of Niall Ennis. Not to be outdone by his midfield colleague, Azaz took aim next, arcing an effort wide of the far post from the edge of the box. Similar efforts followed from Miller and former Torquay loanee Randell, who fired a thunderous effort at goal with his weaker foot, tipped acrobatically over by Halstead.

Halstead could do nothing about Randell’s effort on the brink of half-time, though, as he received the ball in space after a smart corner routine and slotted coolly into the corner from 15 yards.

Manager Steven Schumacher introduced scholar Endacott as a half-time change for Miller, and the wing-back nearly scored with his first touches, creating space before dragging an ambitious effort not far wide from the edge of the area.

Having been largely a spectator for much of the game, Cooper reminded everyone inside Plainmoor of his talents on 54 minutes, producing a save equal to Halstead’s moments earlier to deny substitute Will Goodwin from close range after Dean Moxey’s pinpoint cross.

It was Argyle’s substitute, though, who would hit the net instead. The 17-year-old prospect reacted quickest to prod home after Ennis’ fierce drive was spilled by Halstead. His celebrations were understated in front of the travelling Green Army, but one imagines it would rank as a highlight of the youngster’s promising career.

A fifth came almost instantly. Ennis used his pace to race away into the left channel and force a low stop from Halstead, but Mayor arrived to quickest to dispatch the rebound.

Satisfied with an evening’s work and with more than half an eye on Saturday’s trip to Huish Park, Argyle rotated their entire bench on 70 minutes, and another Academy talent, goalkeeper Zak Baker, took to the pitch shortly after.

Torquay United: 1 Mark Halstead (gk) (13 Rhys Lovett 70), 2 Dylan Crowe, 5 Ali Omar, 6 Ross Marshall (23 Ollie Tomlinson 70), 7 Ryan Hanson, 9 Aaron Jarvis (17 Callum Thomas 82), 10 Corie Andrews (19 Will Goodwin half-time), 11 Kieron Evans (25 Jack Winsor 75), 14 Brett McGavin, 16 Shaun Donnellan, 21 Dean Moxey (capt). Substitutes (not used): 12 Brandon Quinn, 20 Alex Moyse.


Argyle: 1 Michael Cooper (gk) (45 Zak Baker 80), 3 Macaulay Gillesphey (22 Brendan Galloway 70), 6 Dan Scarr (capt) (37 Brandon Pursall 70), 7 Matt Butcher, 10 Danny Mayor (31 Luke Jephcott 70), 11 Niall Ennis (9 Ryan Hardie 70), 14 Mickel Miller (42 Jack Endacott half-time), 17 Bali Mumba (8 Joe Edwards 70), 18 Finn Azaz (28 Panutche Camara 70), 20 Adam Randell (4 Jordan Houghton 70), 36 Finley Craske (43 Oscar Halls 70). Substitutes (not used):
Booked: Gillesphey 29

Referee: Sav Yianni

Attendance: 2,511 (988 away)


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