Tyler Harvey scores on full debut for Plymouth Argyle
TYLER HARVEY made it 'the best Christmas ever' for his family after scoring on his full debut for Plymouth Argyle.
The Pilgrims drew 1-1 with Torquay United in their Boxing Day clash at Home Park, with the 17-year-old apprentice from Oreston equalising in the 90th minute.
His dad, Lee, a former striker for local clubs such as Liskeard Athletic and Saltash United, was 'the proudest father in the world' after the Devon derby.
The 43-year-old told Herald Sport: "It's the best Christmas ever for the whole family. We were all at the game.
"When we heard he was starting it was really exciting. During the game itself, I was in his boots half the time and he played very, very well.
"It's the club we have all been brought up with and the club Tyler has done his apprenticeship with.
"He has come through the ranks – good times and bad times – and has come to the pinnacle of his youth career.
"Now it has all led to him making his full debut in a Devon derby against Torquay on Boxing Day and scoring the equaliser in the last few minutes.
"You couldn't write a script any better. I'm probably the proudest father in the world at the moment."
The Pilgrims' apprentice was told by manager Carl Fletcher he would be starting against Torquay only a couple of hours before the 1pm kick-off.
Harvey had previously made two substitute appearances for his hometown club.
His dad said: "He was in for training on Christmas Day and (first team coach) Kevin Nancekivell told him to watch what he ate and to prepare for the game.
"Pursey (Argyle captain Darren Purse) picked him up this morning and took him to the ground.
"We had a call from Tyler after 11 o'clock and he said the gaffer had called him into his office and told him he would be starting.
"That was it. It was pretty exciting for all of us from there on."
Argyle were on the brink of their first defeat in League Two for four games until Harvey popped up with the first senior goal of his career.
His dad said: "It was from Luke Young, initially, which is great because he's another player who has come up through the youth ranks and we are very good friends with him.
"It looked as though it was congested in there but Tyler seemed to have time on the ball.
"He just opened up his body and slotted it in with his left foot. He probably only had a tiny window to aim for.
"I was climbing around on the framework up in the Grandstand at that time. It was fantastic."
Harvey had made his first appearance for Argyle as a second half substitute in a 1-1 draw away to Bradford City on November 20.
He also came off the bench in the closing seconds of the Johnstone's Paint Trophy last 16 tie at home to Oxford United on December 4.
Harvey did not show any signs of nerves against Torquay and that did not come as a surprise to his dad.
"I think he broke the ice at Bradford," said Lee. "It's a massive club and it was in front of 9,000 people. That was unexpected as well."
There was a season-high attendance of 10,003 at Home Park for the visit of Torquay and Harvey soon started to impress.
The Green Army were singing his name even before he grabbed his late equaliser.
His dad said: "Tyler adapted better than I thought to tell you the truth, and I do take my hat off to the crowd that they do encourage the youngsters when they come through.
"Not just for my son's benefit, but I hope it really does pay dividends for Plymouth Argyle."
Harvey will complete his apprenticeship at Argyle at the end of the campaign but has already agreed a professional contract for next term.
His dad said: "He won't be satisfied until he's scoring 20 goals a season. He's a striker and that's what he lives and breathes for."
Meanwhile, Fletcher praised Harvey for showing a lot of confidence on his full debut for the Pilgrims.
"We didn't play him today hoping he would do well," said the Argyle manager.
"We see it every day in training. He's technically good and he looks after the football. The way he plays, he's probably older than his years."