Argyle 1 – 1 Torquay
Harvey 90. Downes 78.
Gilmartin 6, Nelson 7, Purse 7, Blanchard 6, Williams 6, Cowan-Hall 6, Young 7, Hourihane 6, Bhasera 7, Harvey 9, Chadwick 7 (Griffiths 6).
Subs not used: Cole, Berry, Lowry, Gurrieri, Lennox, Feeney.
A superb full debut and goal from 17-year old striker Tyler Harvey gave Argyle a point when they deserved all three!
It was a typical Boxing Day Devon Derby and a credit to both teams for producing an entertaining game in very wet and windy conditions.
Referee Graham Salisbury did well given the difficult weather although three decisions from the officials had a huge bearing on the final result.
With Argyle unbeaten in the last three league games manager Carl Fletcher sprang a surprise by handing youngster Harvey a full debut and dropping Durrell Berry and Joe Lennox to the bench and bringing in Paris Cowan-Hall and Max Blanchard.
It’s rare this season for Fletcher to pick a settled team from one game to the next.
With the strong wind behind the backs of Green it was Argyle who laid siege on the Torquay goal for the first 30 minutes of the game.
The movement of Harvey and Chadwick upfront was causing problems to the Gulls defence with the teenager running the channels and coming short to receive the ball and Chadwick challenging for headers.
Shots from Bhasera, Chadwick and Williams all whistled wide of the post and although Argyle had all of the attacking play they just couldn`t create a clear cut chance to grab a deserved lead and there was a worry that Torquay would benefit later in the game.
The Gulls did finally manage to attack Argyle in the later stages of the first-half but the Pilgrims’ defence easily dealt with the two corners.
0-0 at half-time.
The second half was much more even with Torquay now playing with the wind although Argyle did play better against the wind than the Gulls did during the first half.
Harvey still looked the most likely to score for Argyle and had a chance when Bhasera’s low cross found him unmarked in the area but it seemed the youngster had too much time and shot over the bar.
A Williams free-kick was well-saved by Michael Poke in the Torquay goal and Harvey also saw a shot saved by the keeper.
A bizarre sequence of decisions from the officials led to Torquay taking the lead. A certain corner to Argyle was given as a goal-kick to Torquay by the linesman and seconds later the ref deemed that Purse had obstructed/impeded Ashley Yeoman, a crazy decision and the sort of incident you see go unpunished many times in a game of football, except at Home Park today.
The resulting free-kick was pushed away by Gilmartin and from the corner Torquay scrambled a goal when Aaron Downes slotted in from close range. Thanks a lot ref!
Soon after Hourihane ran into the Torquay area, turned and was just about to shoot when he was hauled down. Penalty to the Greens, all that was left to decide was who would take it.
Hold on, the ref has awarded a free-kick to Torquay and branded Hourihane a cheat for diving by issuing a yellow card!
Why would Hourihane dive when he was just about to shoot before he got ‘fouled’?
It looks like Mr Salisbury is rewriting the football league rules today.
With time running out and a feeling of injustice around Home Park, well for Argyle fans anyway, the Greens went up a gear and piled the pressure on the Torquay defence.
Argyle and Harvey finally goal they deserved when the 17-year old rammed the ball home from the edge of the area, beating Poke with a low and direct shot.
After checking that the yellow-shirted ref hadn’t made up a new rule to disallow the goal Home Park erupted and applauded a new hero.
Argyle went in search for the winner but ran out of time and the game ended all square.
We deserved to win and were so unlucky.
Well played Argyle and young Harvey. A striker that showed maturity beyond his tender years, he displayed good movement – coming short and running the channels – picks a good pass and more importantly offers a genuine goal threat.
Fletch deserves some credit for being brave and selecting Harvey ahead of more experienced strikers.
Purse, Williams and Nelson all had good games, Blanchard was not so good but Fletch feels the defence is better with a Purse/Blanchard partnership rather than a Purse/Nelson partnership, although this could be Purse’s second to last game at Home Park for Argyle.
In midfield Young did well with his passing but as we all know he struggles with the dirty side of playing as a central midfielder. Hourihane did ok, he never shines nor does he have a stinker.
Bhasera was the better winger, while Chadwick is getting back to the good form from last season.
Devon Derby Is A Ty
Argyle 1 – 1 Torquay