Despite losing the opening game of pre-season to Truro, optimism at Plymouth Argyle remains high and we saw an improved performance against Parkway, with new signings Mayor and Telford on show. Yet, first year professionals Klaidi Lolos and Adam Randell largely stole the show.
13. Jordan Holmes – 6
He appeared a little shaky a couple of times when attempting to command his area. In particular, he dropped the ball after attacking a cross in the second half only for Parkway to fail to scramble in the rebound. Otherwise, he didn’t have a great deal to do.
Made the odd decent save on the rare occasion he was tested and showed the kind of distribution under pressure that Ryan Lowe probably wants from a keeper.
28. Michael Peck – 6
Peck had an indifferent game. His passing was his major weakness, as he sprayed balls into touch from deep repeatedly and very nearly sold Holmes short to allow Parkway in for the opening goal.
His defending was strong though, both in the air and on the ground, and he dribbled the ball out from the back well. There are clear improvements that he will need to make before he is ready to step up to the first team on a permanent basis, but this is his first pre season as a professional after all so there’s no hurry for him to stand out yet.
14. Niall Canavan – 7
One poor pass that was intercepted easily aside, the Irishman was probably the best of the back three in the first half for the second game in a row.
He let nothing past him and his distribution was good from the middle of the three centre back positions. He’s showed signs of being one of the best at adapting to Lowe’s style thus far and, based on his displays, can expect to start the season in Lowe’s first choice back three.
3. Gary Sawyer – 6
Started on the left of the three defenders and was generally what we’d expect: solid though not particularly spectacular. He still seems to be adapting to the new system and his role within it – he occasionally appeared to be slow to get himself into positions that would allow for a quick ball out from the back.
However, there were a couple of notable areas for improvement. First, he wasn’t tight enough to his striker when Parkway launched clearances, allowing them to being the ball down and set up attacks. Second, he needs to be quicker and more proactive with the ball. Canavan and Peck both sought the ball out more, with the former making a good impact in possession.
20. Adam Randell – 8
Man of the match for Argyle on the day. Randell applied himself very well to the defensive midfield positions, winning the ball back on a number of occasions. However, he stood out most with the ball. He was so composed in possession, routinely finding the spaces in Parkway’s midfield by either passing the ball into them or breaking forward himself.
Surely, he is one of the players Lowe is referring to when he mentions the youngsters who will be part of the first team for the season ahead. Randell ran the game from that position and demonstrated he can challenge for a starting spot this year.
22. Tafari Moore – 5
He’s shown some signs of promise going forward, putting in one excellent ball that Lolos headed over the bar in a lot of space. He also bombed forward with and without the ball to offer options in possession.
However he once again seems jittery at the back, twice finding himself caught too wide when his man had dropped inside. Yet again, he was outshone by Riley in attack and defence. Moore is now running out of time to show Lowe exactly why he should be retained.
15. Conor Grant – 6
He both won and scored Argyle’s penalty and delivered some good set pieces into the box. As well as that, he won ground down the right wing with good passing and dribbling.
After his display against Truro, Grant has now edged ahead of Sarcevic in the competition to partner Mayor in the curtain raiser against Crewe.
10. Danny Mayor – 7
He had a little dip halfway through the first half due to picking up a knock, but on the whole he was Argyle’s most creative threat before his substitution. He’s a player with some real quality about him and he’s fed through some superb passes, one of which led to the penalty just before the break.
He suffered from the lack of mobility from the rest of Argyle’s attack, with few players making good runs he was either forced to make something happen himself or retain possession. Shame for him that the half time subs showed better movement that he could have benefited from, but had already come off by then.
23. Ashley Smith-Brown – 6
He’s a full-back rather than a a winger and sadly it does show. In the first half he seemed to have a nosebleed when he got near to the penalty box which slowed down our play.
He got better in the second half though, both in attacking intent and distribution, but still needs some lessons from Joe Riley in how to operate as a full back in this new style.
19. Klaidi Lolos – 7
Gave a decent account of himself in a system that doesn’t seem to suit him as a player. Certainly should have done better with a header near the end of the first half, but made up for it with a sharp finish to notch Argyle’s second goal.
From a deeper midfield position in the second half he fared much better. He made some impressive third man runs, including the one for his goal, and fed through some good passes.
29. Alex Fletcher – 7
One of the best players in the first half before his substitution. Started well but seemed to fade a little as his half went on. Still managed to show how his mobility, and was the player most likely to position themselves well to threaten Parkway when the rest of his teammates were largely static in attack.
Perhaps could have done better with a couple of half chances, but this was much better than against Truro.
26. Cameron Sangster – 6
Like on Tuesday, he didn’t get on for long enough to fully throw himself into the game and, in truth, didn’t quite impress as much as Randell did in the same position. However, he did still show some neat touches and composure under pressure so there’s definitely a player there to be worked on. He might be concerned that the aforementioned Randell is getting ahead of him in the pecking order.
30. Tom Purrington – 6
Purrington entered the pitch in his favoured central midfield position but was forced to drop back to defence shortly after due to the lack of defenders available on the day. He was strong and athletic after his introduction but didn’t have much to do as Argyle were strong in midfield.
2. Joe Riley – 7
Looked good; certainly the best of the full backs on show today. He demonstrated that he had the ability to trouble opponents, albeit lowly ones on this occasion, in attacking areas. He ran at then with the ball, pushed high up the pitch, swung crosses in and made a couple of great late runs into the box, connecting with one cross from Smith-Brown that only missed by a narrow margin.
Whereas others would give off all the hallmarks of full backs trying to be successful in wide attacking areas of the field, Riley looked like he could genuinely be a success in the position, and emerges with credit.
16. Joel Grant – 6
Grant was nothing special once he came on, and still seems more likely play from wing back once the season starts. Too relaxed in attack and didn’t force the issue enough. He was also slow to find the incisive pass or dribble once he did end up in a good attacking position.
9. Ryan Taylor – 6
Taylor made a number off good touches once he came off the bench, including the flick to put Lolos clean through for second. However, he needs to pose more of a goal threat. He wasn’t dangerous enough when Argyle got the ball into attacking positions, though he did peel off into good areas at times only to not receive the ball.
Has to get a goal at some point in pre-season, otherwise he is unlikely to start the opening game.
11. Dominic Telford – 6
In what was only a brief first appearance as an Argyle player, Telford did not have a significant amount of time to impact the game.
We did see a few good runs and a higher work rate than most to chase down opponents. He also got into a couple of good positions, wasting one great chance to score clean through, on the volley from ten yards as he completely missed the ball by a fraction of a second when it was in mid air.
24. Luke Jephcott – 5
He was poor when he first came on up front and it’s doubtful this will be his best position going into the season after he also struggled in the same spot against Truro.
He was better and more involved after moving into central midfield but his distribution was still iffy. His best moment came when creating Telford’s 1-on-1 with a lovely chipped through ball, but otherwise he was wasteful every time he got into a good position. Overall, it’s fair to say he’s still looking for an identity in this team.