Mon 1st Apr
Kick-off 15:00

PLY Argyle

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BRC Bristol City

Adam Randell in action against Bristol City

The Game 
Argyle v Bristol City. Home Park. Monday, 1 April. 3pm. Sky Bet Championship.

The Opposition
Bristol City are arguably one of the few teams in the division with nothing left to play for this season. They sit 13th in the table, 14 points behind the play-off positions, and 11 above the drop zone, with seven games remaining.

Their mid-table position is reflected in their form; in their last nine games, City have won four and lost five. The last three of those wins have come at home, against Southampton, Swansea City and Leicester City.

The Robins have played away from home nine times since a Boxing Day win at Watford, and have won just one of those games, which was at Middlesbrough. Their last three away games have been defeats at Sheffield Wednesday, Ipswich Town and West Bromwich Albion.

The Gaffer
Liam Manning was appointed as Bristol City manager in November 2023, having spent eight months in charge at Oxford United. 

Liam Manning

Manning did not make a career as a professional, instead playing non-league football until the age of 25, when he decided to focus on coaching. He worked in the academies of Ipswich Town and West Ham United, becoming the Under-23s coach of the latter. 

He worked in several roles for New York City FC before becoming head coach of Lommel, in Belgium. He joined Milton Keynes Dons in August 2021, taking them to the play-offs, but losing in the semi-finals. After losing several key players, MK had a bad start to the following season, and Manning was sacked. 

He then joined Oxford United, and having impressed in his short time there, got the job at Ashton Gate. 

The Squad
Goalkeeper Max O'Leary has been ever present between the sticks for Bristol City this season. Born in Bath, O'Leary has progressed through the youth-team ranks at Ashton Gate.  It is more than ten years since he was in a squad for the first time, and he has still only played 118 times for the Robins. O'Leary, now 27, has spent much of his time at the club as a back-up, and has had loan spells at Kidderminster Harriers, Bath City, Solihull Moors and Shrewsbury Town. 

Zak Vyner

O'Leary went to school with Zak Vyner, who is now a team-mate at City. Defender Vyner (above) is another who has spent his whole career employed by Bristol City, although he has had several loans out, including 17 games at Home Park during the 2017/18 season. He was also borrowed by Accrington Stanley, Rotherham United and Aberdeen, eventually breaking meaningfully into the Bristol first team during the 2020/21 season. Vyner has now played 180 times for City, including 37 games this season. 

With nine goals, Tommy Conway is Bristol City's leading goalscorer this season, and he is yet another academy graduate. The 21-year-old was born Taunton, but has played for Scotland Under-21s. The 2022/23 season was Conway's breakthrough season, with the forward scoring 12 times in 38 games. 

Earlier This Season 
In the seventh game of Argyle's season, manager Steven Schumacher rotated his squad heavily at Ashton Gate, and Argyle found themselves 2-0 down within ten minutes, through goals from Sam Bell and Matty James. Adam Randell got one back for the Pilgrims, but Mark Sykes quickly restored the two-goal Robins advantage. Harry Cornick added a fourth for City with ten minutes to go. 

Morgan Whittaker

If you have a season ticket and cannot attend, you can make your ticket available via the Ticket Exchange and receive face value credit if your ticket is resold. Find out more about the Ticket Exchange.

Argyle TV
Commentary for the game will be provided by Charlie Price and Ian Stonebridge .

Argyle TV’s pre-match show, hosted by Erin Black and Aaron Cusack, will begin at 2pm, and is available to watch for free on YouTube.

Match passes to watch this game, wherever you are in the world, can be purchased here.

Argyle v Bristol City

Argyle 0

Bristol City 1
Wells 57

Argyle slipped to another painful loss at Home Park and a particularly tough one to take after dominating the first half of a typically tense Westcountry derby. 

The Greens had more than enough moments to grab a decisive lead but Bristol City were much improved after the break, and snatched the points when substitute Nahki Wells scored the only goal just before the hour.

Argyle lost the services of Alfie Devine for the closing stages after he was dismissed for two yellow cards and the Robins held on for the win. 

Argyle boss Ian Foster made three changes from the Good Friday defeat at Norwich, with Bali Mumba, Lino Sousa and Adam Forshaw coming in for Adam Randell, Brendan Galloway and Mickel Miller.

Bristol City started their Easter weekend with an impressive 1-0 win over promotion-chasing Leicester City, Anis Mehmeti scoring the only goal, but it was all Argyle in a frenetic opening. 

The Greens won four corners inside seven minutes, Mumba going closest with an improvised effort steered narrowly over. Ryan Hardie was the next Pilgrim to have a pop, dragging his shot wide from the edge of the box after excellent approach play by Devine. 

Morgan Whittaker did manage to warm the hands of goalkeeper Max O’Leary with his attempt after cutting inside, as Argyle continued to dominate in a fever pitch Home Park atmosphere. 

Whittaker’s next trick was a delightful turn and pass to Hardie, who saw his shot charged down by the Robins. Matty Sorinola then picked out Whittaker with a fine cross from the right, but the volley was lashed over the bar. 

City had to wait until 35 minutes for their first big chance of the half, which fell to Scott Twine. Thankfully, his attempted lob was well judged by a retreating Michael Cooper, who tipped it over. The half ended with Argyle winning corner number seven but the Robins again dealt with the set-piece.

The visitors made three changes at the break, Mark Sykes, Joe Williams and Wells replacing Haydon Roberts, Matty James and Tommy Conway, with Sykes making a swift impression, forcing Sousa into an uncomfortable challenge that had the visitors claiming a penalty. 

Argyle quickly regrouped to muster their first attack of the half, Jordan Houghton threading a delightful pass into the path of Devine to win a corner, which eventually dropped to Sorinola and his shot was only narrowly off target.

Moments later, Bristol City broke the deadlock with a goal that came against the run of play. Mehmeti had the first drive, parried into the air by Cooper, who then saved again from Sykes but the ball fell for Wells to convert from close range.

The goal was incredibly harsh on the Greens, who immediately turned to the fresh legs of Randell and Miller to replace Forshaw and Sousa. Mustapha Bundu for Mumba was the next Pilgrim change ahead of a massive final quarter.

Devine attempted to answer the call, feeding a pass into the run of Whittaker, who took the ball a fraction wide and the eventual low save was fairly comfortable for O’Leary. Sorinola then went on a crossing spree from the right but, such is the rotten run of luck that is hurting Argyle at present, the loose ball refused to fall kindly.

City replied with a fine effort from Wells, prompting a to save by Cooper, diving low to his left. The challenge then became a lot tougher for the Greens, with Devine dismissed for a second bookable offence after a lunging tackle.

Captain Joe Edwards replaced Sorinola for the final push and Argyle peppered the City box with a succession of set-pieces. The equaliser would not come, however, and the Greens move on to a huge game at Rotherham on Friday.

Argyle: 1 Michael Cooper; 2 Bali Mumba (15 Mustapha Bundu 67), 3 Lino Sousa (14 Mickel Miller 60), 4 Jordan Houghton (capt), 9 Ryan Hardie, 10 Morgan Whittaker, 16 Alfie Devine, 17 Lewis Gibson, 26 Ashley Phillips, 27 Adam Forshaw (20 Adam Randell 60, 29 Matty Sorinola (8 Joe Edwards 81). Substitutes (not used): 21 Conor Hazard (gk), 5 Julio Pleguezuelo, 11 Callum Wright, 22 Brendan Galloway, 23 Ben Waine.

Booked: Devine 54, Gibson 62, Houghton 90

Sent Off: Devine 78

Bristol City: 1 Max O'Leary; 3 Cameron Pring, 6 Matty James (capt) (8 Joe Williams H-T), 7 Scott Twine (10 Andy King 82), 11 Anis Mehmeti (9 Harry Cornick 71), 12 Jason Knight, 15 Tommy Conway (21 Nahki Wells H-T), 16 Rob Dickie, 19 George Tanner, 24 Haydon Roberts (17 Mark Sykes H-T), 26 Zak Vyner. Substitutes (not used): 23 Stefan Bajic (gk), 2 Ross McCrorie, 27 Jamie Knight-Lebel, 47 Dire Mebude.

Booked: Twine 28, Pring 88

Referee: Keith Stroud

Attendance: 16,866 (1,736 away)