Argyle U18s 1 Bristol Rovers 3
INJURIES and first team call ups meant that Academy Manager Kevin Hodges had only four second year apprentices available for this opening Football League Youth Alliance game at Haye Road.Consequently a very young Argyle side were outplayed by the reigning champions, for the first hour, finding themselves 3-0 down before they began to play.
Rovers started strongly with Donovan Wilson's 20-yarder deflected wide by Tom Moxham before the visitors took a 14th minute lead.
Danny Greenslade's corner flew over Argyle 'keeper Andrew Hannah to thud back in to play off the inside of the far post but the home defence froze as Laurent Davis-Wilson lashed the loose ball into the roof of the net from six yards.
Moxham's timely challenge deflected Aaron Ward-Baptiste's close range drive wide before Wilson fired across the face of the home goal.
Argyle had been restricted to Jake Miller's low 12-yarder and Solomon Wheatley's angled drive whereas only a fine save by Hannah denied Carlos Barra after Wilson's astute pass had sent him clear.
The home side replied with Louis Rooney's drive superbly pushed over the bar by Kieran Preston before Rovers doubled their lead in first half stoppage time.
Greenslade, who was at the heart of most of Rovers attacking moves, crossed from the right for Davis-Wilson to fire home, first time, at the near post.
The game looked to be over on the hour when Davis-Wilson was given far too much room on the edge of the Argyle area before turning and firing low in to the corner of Hannah's goal.
Wilson then rounded Hannah only for Will Sargent to make a good goaline clearance before Argyle came back strongly for the last half-hour.
The young Pilgrims pulled a goal back, on 72 minutes, when a great run from full-back Callum Hall took him past several challenges before he squared the ball to substitute Jason Vincent who hit a superb shot into the top corner from 20 yards.
Argyle went close again, six minutes later, as Rooney's head-on sent Wheatley charging in from the angle of the box but his fierce, early drive, flew just over the Rover's bar.
Rovers replied with a cracking far post volley from Chad Douglas but Hannah pulled out the save of the game to beat the ball out from under his bar.
The action switched to the other end of the field where Rooney saw his shot blocked and when it came out to Allen his 20 yard effort was deflected for a corner. Miller took the flag-kick to find Allen hitting another 20 yard drive goalwards only for Preston to make a fine save.
Argyle: Andrew Hannah, Nathan Ewings, Callum Hall, Keiran Asumadu-Sakyi, Will Sargent, Tom Moxham, Solomon Wheatley, River Allen, Louis Rooney, Jake Miller, Joshua Hutchinson (Jason Vincent 58). Substitutes: Teigan Rosenquest, Liam Knowles, Jack Calver, Tom McHale.