Tyler Harvey to the rescue with a late leveller in Devon derby
APPRENTICE Tyler Harvey celebrated his full debut for Argyle with a 90th-minute equaliser in the Devon derby against Torquay United at Home Park yesterday.
The Pilgrims had seemed set for their first defeat in four League Two games before Harvey came to the rescue.
The 17-year-old striker fired low past Torquay goalkeeper Michael Poke with a clinical finish.
It capped an excellent all-round display from Harvey, who has scored regularly for Argyle's under-18s this season.
Torquay had taken the lead in a scrappy Boxing Day game with a 78th-minute goal from defender Aaron Downes.
Time was running out fast for the Pilgrims until Harvey raised the roof at Home Park with his coolly-taken goal.
He had found out only a couple of hours before the kick-off he would be starting the game.
Harvey, who had previously made two substitute appearances at first team level, was paired in attack with Nick Chadwick.
At the age of 30, Chadwick is 13 years older than the teenage prospect from Oreston.
Harvey for Rhys Griffiths was one of three changes to the team from the 1-1 draw at Accrington Stanley on Saturday.
Paris Cowan-Hall, Argyle's four-goal top scorer, replaced Joe Lennox on the right of midfield.
Maxime Blanchard also returned after a one-match suspension and Durrell Berry dropped down to the substitutes' bench.
Blanchard played at centre-back alongside Darren Purse, with Curtis Nelson moving to right-back.
On-loan Bournemouth midfielder Mark Molesley continued to be ruled out by a hamstring injury.
The referee was Graham Salisbury, of Lancashire, and one of his two assistants was his son, Michael.
It was the first time in Football League history a father-and-son had been involved in a match in that way.
Torquay had not played on Saturday because their Devon derby at home to Exeter City had been postponed because of a waterlogged pitch.
Harvey tried a shot from distance in only the third minute which hit Gulls' captain Lee Mansell and forced Poke into a save.
It was a blustery afternoon at Home Park, with the ball repeatedly being blown forward as Purse tried to take one free-kick.
The strength of the wind made it difficult for Poke to get his clearances out of Torquay territory and it was Argyle who dominated possession early on.
Cowan-Hall almost got on the end of one driven cross-shot from left-back Robbie Williams.
Midfielder Luke Young fired over from 20 yards after the ball was headed back to him by Cowan-Hall.
Argyle came close to a first goal in the 17th minute after a superb run from Onismor Bhasera.
The Zimbabwe international broke into the penalty area and drove the ball low into the six-yard area.
Chadwick seemed poised to slot home from close range but, at the last minute, Torquay's Kevin Nicholson got a touch to the ball and conceded a corner.
Bhasera then had a shot blocked by Downes in a crowded 18-yard area after a long throw-in from Nelson.
Poke made an excellent save from Young's wind-assisted 30-yarder in the 22nd minute, pushing it away for a corner.
The Pilgrims started to lose their momentum as the half-hour mark approached, with their early pressure failing to lead to a goal.
Midfielder Conor Hourihane skied a 25-yard shot into the Barn Park End as frustration set in for the home side.
Harvey showed some good touches for Argyle, though, showing no signs of nerves.
Torquay were applying more pressure when the Pilgrims were in possession and rushed them into misplaced shots and crosses.
It remained goal-less until the interval, which would have been much more satisfying for Torquay than Argyle.
The Pilgrims must have expected more of an attacking threat from their opponents in the second half, with their elements now in their favour.
Torquay had a corner in the 48th minute which was hit deep by Nathan Craig to Danny Stevens and his goalbound shot was blocked by Chadwick.
Then Gulls striker Rene Howe had a fierce close range shot parried away by Argyle keeper Rene Gilmartin after he had turned Young inside out.
It was the first time Gilmartin had been called into serious action and, soon afterwards, Billy Bodin sent a low left-foot drive narrowly wide from 20 yards for the visitors.
Argyle had a tremendous chance to take the lead in the 60th minute from a rare attack.
Hourihane picked out Chadwick with a pinpoint cross into the box and the striker made a complete hash of his header.
Chadwick got no power or direction on the ball, to the loud groans of the Green Army.
Harvey was playing with a lot of confidence and his low 25-yard shot forced Poke into a save in the 64th minute.
Chadwick's bad miss earlier in the second half was then matched by one from Mansell.
Argyle could not clear their lines from a Craig cross and both Bodin and Stevens had attempts at goal before the ball broke to Mansell.
The Torquay midfielder was only six yards out but blazed the ball over the bar from a central position.
Harvey had another chance in the 71st minute when he received a low near post cross from Bhasera.
His first touch was good but could not get his body in position to get any accuracy on his shot and fired wide.
Torquay were awarded a contentious free-kick in the 78th minute for obstruction by Purse on Howe.
Nicholson's fierce 25-yard free-kick was somehow scrambled around the right post by Gilmartin.
The resulting corner was curled high into the penalty area and when the ball dropped to Downes he poked it high into the net from close range.
Griffiths was sent on as an 81st minute substitute for Chadwick as Argyle tried to come up with a response to that goal.
The first yellow card of the contest did not come until the 83rd minute when Hourihane was booked for diving when challenged by Torquay midfielder Craig Easton.
Argyle almost equalised in the 87th minute when Poke fumbled a long-range shot from Young but then made a brilliant block to deny Griffiths from the rebound.
Moments later, Poke pulled off another outstanding save, this time from a 30-yard free-kick from Williams, clawing the ball away from the top right corner. Argyle kept up their late pressure and the equaliser did come in the 90th minute.
Young slid the ball into Harvey and his accurate low shot squeezed inside the left post and nestled in the net.
Harvey raced to the fans in the Devonport End to celebrate his first senior goal for Argyle.
Mansell was stretchered off in the closing seconds after a crunching 50-50 tackle with Hourihane as the game ended honours even.