I was surprised with the team selection, it was pretty much a first team presumably with the intention to give players an extra pre season game, and as it turned out that was pretty well what it was.
We dominated, scored, scored again and after 20mins the game was over.
Not sure I can add any player ratings but Meite looked like a decent replacement to challenge McCleary. Otherwise it was just game time for our midfield to gel and out attack to prove we're pretty blunt. Defence had nothing to do at all. If I was a Plymouth fan that travelled for 4 hours to watch this dross I'd be livid.
The write up on the Plymouth OS says it all really.
TO no-one’s great surprise, Argyle fell at the first hurdle in the EFL Cup for the fourth season in succession, succumbing to Championship opponents who, at the moment, they can only aspire to emulate.
A double Dutch dose of first-half goals from Joey van den Berg and his fellow Netherlander Roy Beerens, a full international, gave countryman Jaap Stam his first knockout victory since become manager at the Madejski in June.
Argyle manager Derek Adams had made four changes to the Pilgrims’ starting line-up from the one which began the previous Saturday’s 3-0 Sky Bet League 2 Home Park defeat by Luton Town.
Vincent Dorel was selected to keep goal in place of captain Luke McCormick, with the skipper’s armband passing to Gary Sawyer; Fox was the preferred David in a midfield three as Ijaha also started life on the bench; and Fox’s fellow Saturday substitutes Jake Jervis and Jordan Slew formed a three-man attacking unit with David Goodwilie, having swapped places with Jimmy Spencer and Ryan Donaldson.
Reading, 1-0 Madejski winners against Preston at the weekend, shuffled their pack even more, making eight changes of personnel. Craig Tanner, who played 50 times for the Pilgrims last season, was among their replacements.
It was a Tanner-like run, straight into the heart of the Argyle defence from John Swift, that threatened to undo a solid start by the Pilgrims’ back four but, speaking of things solid, Swift’s progress was halted with little fuss by Yann Songo’o.
Swift quickly bounced up and was able to deliver the free-kick from the Argyle right that gave Reading the lead, Van den Berg timing his unhindered run to the edge of the six-yard box and glancing a header past Dorel.
Argyle had understandably begun with a defensive game plan but the early goal necessitated opening up. That, in turn, encouraged Reading to play with even more impressive fluidity than previously.
Callum Harriott brought the best out of Dorel after Swift had broken against a defence that had pushed up and was therefore wrongfooted when Jervis was bundled off the ball to hasten a Reading counter attack.
Dorel made another good save minutes later, when Reading captain Chris Gunter joined in the home side’s fun from right-back, but the ball fell to the feet of Beerens, who slammed the ball home.
Argyle, to their credit, did not let their heads drop in the face of now insurmountable odds. They worked hard and looked to make the most of what scraps came their way. A Slew-led break in first-half injury-time had the home side on the back foot and showed promise.
After the interval, Jervis broke from halfway and reached the edge of the Reading penalty area but his cross fell a shade short of Goodwillie.
The Scot pounced a wee while later after Graham Carey’s free-kick from the left found its way to him on the right, switching feet smartly before firing a just the wrong side of spellchecker-busting goalkeeper Anssi Jaakkola’s post.
Reading substitute Yakou Meite reminded everyone of the natural order of EFL life with a shot that followed a sweeping Royals move and extended Dorel once more.
The Pilgrims sent on Connor Smith – a tenth Argyle debutant this short season – and Spencer for the final 20 minutes, during which there was still plenty of defending to be done, with former Chelsea youngster Swift again asking Dorel to make a save.
Argyle kept going until the end and ended on the up. A move in injury-time, involving the impressive Smith, saw Spencer just fail to get a firm head on the ball, before Sonny Bradley zinged a shot into the side-netting.
A great first half, similar to the first half against PNE, which we controlled with ease. When the second goal went in it was not a matter of who would win but by how many goals we would win. Sadly that remained at two!
The second half was a disappointment except for the performance of substitute Meite whose pace and skill should be a real handful for any team. Otherwise we seemed to take our collective foot off the gas and got sloppy in our passing - it was almost too easy! Jake Cooper does not look comfortable with this new style of play. Whenever he got the ball (which was a lot) he would slow things down and take an age to pick a pass. Plymouth had some chances in the second half without managing a single shot on target throughout the match.
The remaining games this month should give us a better measure of this new Reading side!
Pleasing that we could put out a team a long way from what will be our regular first eleven and still play good, patient football with regular passages of top stuff. Stam is till developing his side and style and players are still settling but we already look a different team to recent seasons. Of course we've played two poor sides, and for a spell last season we looked world class before disintegrating so at the moment we cannot get ahead of ourselves in any way, we have green shoots rather than full bloom. But Van Den Berg has gone from looking like a liability to a calm and assured presence, Beerens seems to be playing a division below where he should be, Swift is a lovely player, Evans looks to have matured from the rather lost kid of last season to a proper midfielder, Watson is a bonus and Willakms has been fitted with new batteries.
1st half was was great to watch again (like Saturday) with fast possession football and probably going into the break only scoring 2 when we could have scored more. 2nd half was similar to Saturday in a way where the intensity and need for a goal had gone but we were 2-0 up against a team showing no real desire to get back in the game.
Just don't get the people that are moaning about the way we are playing. This is a new team with a new way of playing and will take time, but having watched last season and the absolute rubbish we we were playing in that diamond i will happily watch us keep 80% possession, win the game and not concede again. They will only get better and better after playing together more and getting used to this style of play.
Watson MOTM. The lad's got everything. Fast, composure, can defend & can get forward well. So basically the opposite to Gunter (who had a good game at left back tbf)
Also to whoever was trying to start the "viking clap" in Y26, please stop.
Cooper saw a lot of the ball in the first half, I don't know whether this was intentional to try and get him more comfortable on the ball. It seemed to be working for the first 10/15, but then a couple of misplaced passes rocked his confidence.
In contrast, Watson was great. So composed. Never panicked, even when under a pressure in his own half. Wouldn't have guessed which of the fullbacks had 70+ caps for his country. Although saying that, Gunter didn't have a bad game, and actually took his man on a couple of times. Nearly scored n all.
JVDB looked solid, and his passing is very good. Almost a little bit too casual at times though. Can see us giving away a few silly goals this season, as we pass our way out of the defence.
Swift and Evans look excellent. Swift just doesn't lose the ball.
Beerens flashes of brilliance. Same goes for Meite when he came on.
Kermorgant held it up well, but didn't get a sniff of goal.
Jaakola had nothing to do, but his distribution was good. Looks like a decent ball player.
All in all a professional, solid display, and we never looked in danger. Didn't really get out of second gear. Will be interesting to see what happens when we go a goal down, whether we'll continue with the patient build up play. Hope our fans buy into it as well and have a bit of patience. Already a couple of idiots around shouting for us to go forward when we were just playing keep ball, and for Meite to RUN as soon as he got anywhere near the ball.
Wolves will be a good test on Saturday, but they're a big WIP, so should be very winnable.
My first game of the season last night and I have to say if this is a sign of things to come, then I am very much IN for this new Dutch revolution. Some lovely quick passing football on show at times last night, and yes as others have said Plymouth weren't great, but we made them look a poor side cutting through them at will at times. The flicks and tricks on show were delightful and Beerens and Meite look to be exciting prospects. The young right back Watson looked very assured which is again very encouraging. I like the look of Joey vdB as well. And Swift, Evans and Williams looked a very good unit last night, Swift putting in a lovely freekick for the opening goal - Norwood leaves and we've scored our first two goals of the season from set pieces, the corners in particular were a massive improvement on last season ie actually beating the first man.
The second half was all about making sure we didn't do anything silly to allow Plymouth back into it but there was always the sense we could step it up again if needed.