Exeter City's Bauza and Frear make Pilgrims pay for missing chances
There was another injury setback for on-loan Reading striker Gozie Ugwu when Plymouth Argyle were beaten 2-0 by Exeter City in a reserve-team friendly Devon derby at Home Park yesterday.
Ugwu, 19, played less than half an hour before he was forced out of the action because of an abdominal muscle problem. He was replaced in the 32nd minute by first-year professional Isaac Vassell.
Ugwu signed for Argyle in January but, before he had a chance to make his debut, he sustained an ankle injury in training. He was ruled out for a couple of weeks before playing as a substitute in the 2-1 npower League Two win at Aldershot Town last month.
So far, Ugwu has made two starts and three appearances off the bench for the Pilgrims. His latest injury will be assessed by the club's medical staff, ahead of the trip to League Two leaders Gillingham this Saturday.
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Ugwu was one of eight players in Argyle's starting line-up against Exeter yesterday who had appeared for the first team this season. The exceptions were goalkeeper Ollie Chenoweth and apprentice full-backs Ben Purrington and Colin Watson.
Argyle played a 4-3-3 formation, with the experienced Nick Chadwick leading their attack and having support on either side from Paris Cowan-Hall and Ugwu.
The Pilgrims played some fluent football in the first half but struggled to create chances. The closest they came to scoring was in the 12th minute when Chadwick powered a header over the crossbar after a free-kick taken by midfielder Luke Young.
Exeter thought they had taken the lead on the stroke of half-time when a fierce shot from striker Jamie Reid crashed off the underside of the crossbar and appeared to bounce down over the goal-line. However, play was allowed to continue and it stayed 0-0 until the break.
Exeter did open the scoring in the 47th minute, though, only moments after Matt Lecointe, playing in midfield, had shot against a post for Argyle.
The visitors launched a swift counter-attack and Spanish striker Guillem Bauza drilled a low shot past Chenoweth.
The Argyle goalkeeper was beaten again three minutes later, this time by a well-placed strike from midfielder Elliott Frear.
Lecointe made way for apprentice striker Tyler Harvey in the 57th minute before Chadwick fired over the bar after a good cross from Watson, and Vassell shot against the outside of the left post from a tight angle.
The bar then twice came to Argyle's rescue, first from Bauza's blistering shot and then from defender Jordan Moore-Taylor's firm header after a corner.
Young smashed a 30-yard drive narrowly over the bar before, at the other end of the pitch, Chenoweth made an excellent save to push away Reid's header.
Argyle were denied a consolation goal when, in the 87th minute, Exeter goalkeeper Rhys Evans swooped low to his left to save Chadwick's volley.
Plymouth Argyle: Chenoweth; Watson, Wotton (Bradley h-t), Richards, Purrington; Young, Lecointe (Harvey 57), Sims; Cowan-Hall, Chadwick, Ugwu (Vassell 32). Substitutes (not used): White (gk), Summers.
Exeter City: Evans; Tully, Dawson, Tilson (Wannell 74), Moore-Taylor; Cain, Whitman, Frear; Reid, Bauza, Nichols (Chamberlain 66). Substitutes (not used): Pym (gk), Grimes.
Goals: Exeter: Bauza 47, Frear 50.