Plymouth Argyle gain valuable match practice in friendly draw at Saltash
Plymouth Argyle manager John Sheridan saw a strong Pilgrims' XI held to a 0-0 draw by Saltash United at Kimberley Stadium last night.
The friendly was an opportunity for Plymouth's squad players and young professionals to get some much-needed match practice.
Argyle created some good early chances but could not convert any of them, and battling Saltash defended solidly after that.
The Pilgrims included nine professionals in their starting line-up, including Andres Gurrieri, Jamie Lowry, Robbie Williams and Paul Wotton. The two apprentices in the side were right-back Colin Watson and striker Tyler Harvey.
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Harvey had Argyle's first chance of the contest with a close-range header which was pushed over the crossbar by Saltash goalkeeper Paul Hider. The pitch at Kimberley Stadium was very heavy after all the recent heavy rainfall, but was deemed playable after two inspections.
Lowry played on the left of midfield and saw a lot of the early possession as the Pilgrims started strongly. Striker Matt Lecointe had a header bounce off the top of the crossbar after a good cross into the penalty area from Lowry.
Hider then made a smart low save to keep out an angled shot from left-back Williams before Argyle goalkeeper Ollie Chenoweth blocked a close-range attempt from Saltash striker Danny Zalick in the 16th minute.
Lecointe had another opportunity to break the deadlock on the half hour, but he wastefully fired wide after a near post cross from first-year professional Isaac Vassell.
The rest of the first half passed off without any goalmouth action as Saltash defended with great determination. Williams, Wotton, Gurrieri and Harvey were all substituted at the interval, replaced by apprentices Ben Purrington, Nathan Summers, River Allen and Sol Wheatley respectively.
Allen, a midfielder, had a chance in the 50th minute with a 30-yard drive which deflected off Saltash's Aaron Cusack for a corner.
Wheatley played out wide on the right, with Vassell moving into the middle of the attack with Lecointe, and Summers took over from Wotton in the centre of defence.
Allen had a 25-yard free-kick saved by Hider as the by then youthful Pilgrims could not make a breakthrough.
It was not easy to pass the ball on the heavy pitch and Argyle struggled to come up with many attacks.
There was a great chance for the visitors to take the lead when Lecointe set up substitute Kieran Asumadu-Sakyi for a shot in the 81st minute. However, the first-year apprentice sent the ball high over the bar from close to the penalty spot.
There will be another Argyle XI friendly next Tuesday, when they play Torquay United at Home Park (2pm).
Saltash United: Hider; Farrant, Coulton, Russell, Sargison (Jewell h-t); Bennetts, Saint, A Cusack, M Cusack (El-Harti 69); Kanaki, Zalick. Substitutes (not used): Clark, Godfree.
Plymouth Argyle XI: Chenoweth; Watson, Wotton (Summers h-t), Richards, Williams (Purrington h-t); Vassell (Asumadu-Sakyi 67), Gurrieri (Allen h-t), Sims, Lowry (Hutchinson 67); Lecointe, Harvey (Wheatley h-t). Substitute (not used): Walton.