Plymouth Argyle’s spot in the next round of the Premier League Cup is in danger as they suffered a resounding 4-0 loss to, current champions of the competition, Everton U23’s at Home Park.
This means that Argyle remain bottom of the group on 5 points and need to beat Fulham to have any chance of progressing in the competition.
Everton however, top the group on 10 points and have qualified for the next stage.
While the two teams warmed up before the match in howling winds and torrential rain, Home Park welcomed Argyle and Everton to a cold February overcast at the time of kick off. Storm Ciara had appeared to of thrown its worst at the Home Park pitch ten minutes prior to the 2pm start. Wind would remain to play its part throughout the fixture however, as dead ball situations would suddenly come to life as balls would roll away with the gales.
The game started slowly. Argyle struggled to maintain the ball in the opening stages and Everton failed to create chances with dominant possession. It wasn’t until the 18th minute where Argyle had the first shot of the game, a low drive from Telford, well wide of the left post.
This seemed to of inspired the Everton players as they would see the first shot on target of the game, a penalty. Argyle captain Adam Randell fouled Everton lead goal scorer Ellis Simms in the box and conceded the golden opportunity for Everton to take the lead in the 20th minute.
That would have been the case had it not been for an excellent diving save from Cooper to stop Adeniran’s low driven shot, thundering toward Cooper’s right.
Fuelled with the disappointment from missing the penalty, 4 minutes later, Adeniran won the ball from the Plymouth defence, ran 25 yards and slotted the ball past Cooper to break the deadlock and give Everton the advantage.
Everton continued to dominate play, but a half chance fell Argyle’s way in the 36th as Ryan Law made his way into the box and weaving his way to create a yard of space. However, the left back couldn’t sort of the placement of his feet to get a shot away and the keeper gathered the loose ball.
Everton’s dominance would show its dividends as a clattering challenge on the edge of the box caused the ball to bundle toward Law who drilled a low cross to Simms. All that was required from him was a simple tap-in which he comfortably managed making the scoreline 0-2.
Simms could have scored a brace before the break had Adeniran squared the ball to him in a 2 vs 2 situation leaving which would have left an open goal for Simms to net his second. Adeniran opted to shoot and landed his effort into the side netting, much to Simms’ dismay.
Plymouth Argyle had hoped to enter half time at a 0-2 disadvantage, still giving them a big chance to get back into the game. Toffee defender Ryan Ashley and Storm Ciara had other ideas. A flicked head on from the corner ball and huge push from the wind sent the ball spinning into the back post and into the goal.
Half Time whistle goes and Plymouth Argyle trail three goals to nil.
Conditions stayed the same throughout the second half as the wind continued to swirl around home park. The Toffees looked to control the game and see their advantage through to the end and Plymouth looked to salvage anything they could to try and get back into the game.
The Blues kept dominating the ball as the match was further tilted their way when the Plymouth defence left Simms unmarked in the box, meaning that Foulds could loop an easy ball from the left side of the box onto Simms’ head and extend his goal tally to nine in the season and the Everton score to four in the match.
Further domination meant that Argyle could not create any clear chances in the second half. Simms however had the chance to complete a hat trick in the 90+1 minute. He blazes clear on the right side of the pitch and looks the place the ball high past goalkeeper Cooper. Simms played the ball past the keeper but only to plant it into the crossbar and clear, meaning he missed his chance to take home the match ball.
Final whistle gone. Plymouth Argyle 0 – 4 Everton
In a post-match interview, Plymouth U23 manager Kevin Nancekivell said that he ‘wouldn’t change too much’ if he were to play the game again. He added “it was a good experience for them [the Plymouth Argyle players]. Individual mistakes, I think the players will learn about their roles and their responsibilities, when to play forward and when to play backwards. As long as the lads are learning from it then it’s a winning game all the time.”
Nancekivell praised the attitude of his players “I thought they did ever so well, its very easy when you’re on a big pitch in a high profile game for our young boys to suddenly find themselves 3-0 down at half time and a 4th one very quickly in the second half to give in and cave in and want to just hide and pretend your not there. They stuck at it and worked hard, couldn’t fault them for that. I thought our character and attitude was spot on.”
The result means that Everton have qualified to the next stage of the competition. Argyle need to win their next game against Fulham AND need Everton to take points from their game against Watford for them to advance any further in the Premier League Cup.