Torquay United 0 Argyle 3

Jacob Evans of Torquay United battles for the ball with Luke Jephcott of Plymouth Argyle during the

Jacob Evans of Torquay United battles for the ball with Luke Jephcott of Plymouth Argyle during the pre season match between Torquay United and Plymouth Argyle at Plainmoor Torquay, Devon on Saturday 31st July 2021 - PHOTO: Dave Rowntree/PPAUK

Plymouth Argyle underlined their League One quality, seven days before they tackle Rotherham United away with points at stake, with a comfortable win over Torquay United in the Gulls' third friendly at Plainmoor.

Gary Johnson's men were competitive for most of the first half, but two goals in the space of five minutes just before half-time by Niall Ennis and Panutche Camara established a grip which the Pilgrims never looked like easing.

Johnson had said that he did not expect his side to push Argyle at this different stage of their build-ups, and so it proved in the second half, although Plymouth had to wait until the 82nd minute for Ryan Hardie to score their third goal.

Nobody played better in an Argyle shirt than Adam Randell, who spent all of last season on loan at Plainmoor. In a 'holding' midfield role, he did his chances of starting the League One campaign no harm.

United were still without skipper Asa Hall, and the 3-0 midweek win over Truro had also cost them Tom Lapslie and Dan Martin.

But Johnson did bring a new trialist into midfield, and he promoted goalkeeper Mark Halstead, Ben Wynter, Keelan O'Connell and Klaidi Lolos from Tuesday's bench.

Randell and fellow ex-Gulls loanee Ryan Law were both in Ryan Lowe's starting XI.

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It was Plymouth's last outing before starting the serious stuff and, without the tackling that will doubtless be on show at the New York Stadium next weekend, they played with an obvious sharpness and intent.

United still created the first good chance, Joe Lewis heading wide when he should have hit the target on Armani Little's second minute corner.

North Devon referee Brett Huxtable, never the most popular official at Plainmoor, didn't take long to raise a few eyebrows, to say nothing of Johnson's displeasure at a couple of early decisions.

Halstead made an excellent early catch to boost his confidence, on one of several impressive set-piece deliveries by Randell.

Law was at the heart of a slick end-to-end Plymouth move in the 14th minute, which ended with Ryan Broom firing just over from 18 yards.

Lewis also did well to deflect a Luke Jephcott shot behind from Camara's 22nd minute cross - the visitors' best chance so far.

Argyle's 'wing-back' formation caused problems at times, especially down United's left where Edwards and Camara combined well, and the Gulls were also forced to make a change in the 39th minute after an injury to centre-back Omar.

Wynter dropped into the back-four, the trialist to right-back and Jake Andrews went on in midfield. 

Three minutes later a mistake by Wynter led to the Pilgrims taking the lead.

Wynter had a chance to beat Ennis to Broom's lofted ball upfield, was outmuscled and outpaced and Ennis went on to beat Halstead with a firm right-foot shot from just inside the box into the left-hand corner…0-1.

United had been competitive enough in the first half, but they did themselves no favours by conceding again in the second minute of stoppage-time.

Jephcott was given time to turn and shoot from 12 yards, Halstead did well to parry but Camara was there to tap in…0-2.

Repeated substitutions had the inevitable effect on the play in the second half, but Argyle moved into cruise-control without using all the gears available to them.

United threatened to catch them on the break several times, Keelan O'Connell showing up well as an attacking midfielder.

But the Gulls spent increasing time chasing the ball, and in the 82nd minute Plymouth confirmed their growing superiority.

After some highly impressive work by one sub, Rhys Shirley, it was another, Finley Craske, who went to the right bye-line and crossed low to Hardie, who took a touch, turned and tucked the ball inside the near-post from eight yards…0-3.

Torquay United (4-3-3): Halstead; Wynter, Lewis (Moyse 74), Omar (Andrews 39), Moxey; Trialist A (Trialist C 46), Little (Piper 85), O'Connell; Lemonheigh-Evans, Wright (Koszela 74), Lolos (Trialist B 46); subs not used - Brzozowski.

Plymouth Argyle (3-5-2): Burton (Cooper 59); Tomlinson (Mitchell 82), Scarr, Gillesphy (Pursall 82); Edwards (Craske 74), Camara (Houghton 66), Randell, Broom (Mayor 59), Law (Galloway 66); Jephcott (Shirley 80), Ennis (Hardie 58). 

Referee: Brett Huxtable (Bideford).

Attendance: 2,356.