ARGYLE'S 100% winning record in the Central League came to an end with a disappointing 1-0 loss against Bristol Rovers at Coach Road.
A solitary second half goal by Rovers’ Ryan Broom was the only goal, and sent the Gas, managed by former Pilgrim Chris Hargreaves, back to Bristol with the points.
Argyle’s starting line-up saw the return of Ruben Lameiras who had not featured in the past two league games through injury. Appearances were also made by Michael Cooper and Ryan Law from the youth team in the starting line-up, with development professionals Aaron Taylor, Alex Battle and Cameron Sangster augmenting a line-up otherwise made of professionals.
The opening half saw Bristol Rovers dominate in the first few minutes of the game, Rhys Kavanagh almost managing to put them in the lead with a powerful strike but young ‘keeper Cooper was able to prevent the ball hitting the back of the net.
Argyle began to pick up a lot more of the possession and created just as many chances for themselves as Bristol did throughout the first half, especially from Alex Fletcher who, in the 14th minute, just got the ball out of the reach of the net from a powerful header.
Law, one of the young defenders brought in to make an appearance in this match, made a number of good efforts to get the ball out of Bristol’s possession and up the pitch to fellow youngster Fletcher on a number of occasions.
Argyle soon picked up the majority of the possession and noticeably increased the number of chances they had to up the score line to place them in the lead. Attempts from both Nathan Blissett and Gregg Wylde saw the ball go just over the top of the net within two minutes of each other.
With the second half underway and no changes made to the line-up, Argyle continued to be the dominant side. Cooper made a brilliant save three minutes into the second half that came from a long-range shot from Bristol’s Louis Leigh-Gilchrist.
Not long afterwards, it was Rovers ‘keeper Andre Alexis’s turn to make an impressive couple of saves, one that came from a free kick from Lameiras and the second, which followed three minutes later, a long-range shot from Fletcher.
Just five minutes later, there was a one-on-one between Kavanagh and Cooper. A block from Miller deflected the ball away but it still was not comfortably out of the box so Jakub Sokolik also stepped in to ensure the ball did not end up in the back of the net.
In the 66th minute, the lack of defence near the goal meant that Broom was able to slip the ball into the back of the net, putting Rovers into the lead.
Bristol’s defence made a massive improvement in the final 15 minutes of the game, including a block from Alfie Kilgour that came from a shot by Blissett. Another good save from Alexis then followed after Lionel Ainsworth had a promising strike from the right side of the goal, and, within the last few minutes, there was a close shot from Wylde that just went over the bar.
This was good game built on a lot of chances, but unfortunately the scoreline did not work in Argyle’s favour.
Argyle (4-4-2): 31 Michael Cooper (gk); 2 Gary Miller, 26 Jordan Bentley, 20 Jakub Sokolik, 3 Ryan Law; 8 Lionel Ainsworth, 7 Antoni Sarcevic (33 Cameron Sangster 64), 11 Ruben Lameiras, 21 Gregg Wylde; 13 Nathan Blissett; 27 Alex Fletcher (10 Alex Battle 74). Substitutes (not used): 1 Max Childs (gk), 6 Aaron Taylor, 28 Callum Rose.
Bristol Rovers: 1 Andre Alexis (gk); 2 Jordan Williams, 3 Michael Kelly, 4 Luke Russe, 5 Jonathan Burn (17 Alfie Kilgour 66), 6 Rollin Menayese, 7 Ryan Broom, 8 Cameron Hargreaves, 9 Kenan Dunwald (16 Cameron Ebbutt 66), 10 Rhys Kavanagh (15 Ben Morgan 88), 11 Louis Leigh-Gilchrist. Substitutes(not used): 14 Conor Jones, 20 Thom Jonkerman (gk).
Booked: Dunwald 33.