Nike Academy 1
RYAN Jarvis went from villain to hero in Tuesday’s Development Game with the Nike Academy at Plainmoor. Following a dour first-half, Jarvis was hauled down in the box immediately after the restart but then saw his penalty saved.
The Nike Academy is a group of talented young footballers who are brought together to help them find a club and they showed their quality with a terrific move on 52 minutes, culminating in giant forward Tom Folyton-Brown scoring the first goal.
Going behind galvanised the Gulls, and reward eventually arrived with a neat finish from Jarvis on 81 minutes after good work by Ashley Yeoman.
United’s experimental side started with the tried and trusted Martin Rice in goal. Trialists Alex Evans and Byron Anthony filled the centre of defence, flanked by Daniel Leadbitter and Thomas Cruise in the full-back positions.
The midfield trio comprised two more trialists in Chris Luxton and George Artemi, who were joined by youth-team prospect Daniel Sullivan. Jarvis was picked as the central striker, supported from the wings by new signing Karl Baker and Yeoman.
Baker took just over a minute to make an impression, jinking inside before sliding a pass into Yeoman but his instant shot was beaten away by the fists of Joe Martin. The Nike Academy goalkeeper was in action seconds later, this time fielding an effort from Luxton.
The visitors gradually settled into their rhythm and the Gulls were grateful to flying last-ditch challenge to block a shot on target from winger Alex Parsons. Centre-back Karlton Watson then sauntered forward to hit a low drive, which was comfortable for Rice.
The pattern of proceedings developed into decent possession for the Nike Academy in the face of a disjointed United performance. When the Gulls finally broke free, Jarvis fired over with a strong left-foot shot from distance.
A clipped pass then released Jarvis on 33 minutes and the target-man fed the ball inside to Yeoman. Although his initial shot was blocked, the rebound eventually to Artemi for a spooned shot over the bar. A tame first-half ended with David Goldsmith steering a volley narrowly past the top corner.
The second period burst into life with a threaded pass from Baker found Jarvis, who was bundled to the ground by Jordan Tunnicliffe. Jarvis stepped up and fired the penalty to the right of substitute Alistair Worby, but the strike was a nice height for the ‘keeper to make a fine block.
The miss was a boost for the Nike Academy and Folyton-Brown pounced for the opener on 52 minutes, cracking a sweet drive into the bottom corner after an impressive passing move from the youngsters.
Artemi attempted a quick riposte with an ambitious drive rifling inches wide. The game settled into a period of frustrated impotence for the Gulls and assistant manager Shaun Taylor turned to his bench for inspiration, introducing Jack May for Sullivan.
United finally breached the Nike Academy with an incisive break from Cruise and a wonderful cross by Baker had Worby scrambling backwards to turn the ball away from under his own bar.
There was a distinctly improved tempo to United’s play and Yeoman danced beautifully into space in the right channel, slipping a pass inside for Luxton but the final shot was well blocked.
From the next attack, Evans got forward for a corner and found Baker in space. The first-time shot was arrowing for the top corner until Worby intervened with another crucial save.
The equaliser finally arrived with nine minutes remaining and the catalyst was a superb run down the left from Yeoman and his low cross was perfect for Jarvis to swivel on the spot and steer past Worby at his near post.
The elusive search for a winner was often led by the rampaging runs of Leadbitter from right-back but the Nike Academy held on for a fair result on the day.
Gulls (4-3-3): 13 Martin Rice; 12 Daniel Leadbitter, 4 Byron Anthony, 5 Alex Evans, 21 Thomas Cruise; 11 George Artemi, 7 Chris Luxton, 27 Daniel Sullivan (14 Jack May 64); 23 Ashley Yeoman, 8 Ryan Jarvis, 22 Karl Baker. Substitutes (not used): 1 Sam Sulberg (GK), 6 Jake Hutchings, 15 Robert Nardiello, 16 Jamie Alexandrou.
Nike Academy (4-4-1-1): 1 Joe Martin (12 Alistair Worby 30); 13 Lewis Tallack, Karlton Watson, 5 Jordan Tunnicliffe, 3 Conor O’Sullivan; 10 David Goldsmith (6 Mike Koopervitz 55), 14 Cameron Edwards (15 Ryan Tinsley 55), 19 Jamie Edge (18 Mike Kalu 66), 8 Alex Parsons; 7 Jorge Grant (16 Tom Folyton-Brown H-T); 9 Billy Irons.
Referee: Jason Haywood