NATHAN Blissett earned praise from Argyle manager Derek Adams after opening his account for the season at Bristol Rovers.
Nathan’s stunning strike against his former club, early in the second half, levelled Rory Gaffney’s early opener for the home side as the Pilgrims wrested control of the game from their hosts.
However, the double whammy of a Billy Bodin strike to put Rovers ahead again and a red card for Argyle defender Gary Miller meant that Argyle left the Memorial Ground with only another hard-luck story.
“Nathan’s overall game is improving all the time,” said Derek. “He’s taking in the ball very well and then finding a player with it. It’s a step up in level.
“He scored a very good goal. He took it well. He nearly scored just before that with a fantastic strike towards the top corner but the goalkeeper made a great save, and it was good for him to get a goal today.
“He probably could have scored two more in the game. He’s scored against his old club but he hasn’t got the right result.”
A switch in tactics during the first half saw Bliss joined up front in a two by Jake Jervis – who, like Gregg Wylde, had returned to the starting line-up – and the combination worked well.
Derek said: “We changed formation and it stopped the flow from Bristol Rovers about 15 minutes into the game. They played quite narrow in midfield and we were a wee bit wide so we had to change that. We did that and put pressure on their back line.
“That caused them problems. Blissett and Jervis caused them problems up front. We have got a good pairing there.
“Jake had been out for a couple of games, but he’s looking strong and did well. I thought Wylde, as well, coming in, was excellent, the crosses he put in and the work-rate over the 90 minutes.”
Goalkeeper Kyle Letheren franked the form of his Argyle debut the previous Tuesday, when he stood in for injured captain Luke McCormick at Wigan, with another fine display.
“Kyle Letheren was excellent again today,” said Derek. “He is going to push Luke all the way this season.
“I’ve been delighted with him because it’s not been easy, coming into a new football club and starting right away.”
The several bright spots were eclipsed by the gloom of another defeat.
Derek said: “We started not badly, then Bristol Rovers got the goal. We started the second half exceptionally well; we were on top and got the goal, got ourselves back into the game and were right on top of them.
“Then we concede a goal and get a sending-off straight after that and all the momentum then changes to Bristol Rovers.
“In stages in the game, we competed well but we are not getting a break at this moment in time. We’ve played 11 games and we’ve had five sendings-off and that’s not easy.
“We obviously can’t continue to play with ten players. It’s not been easy for us because of that.”