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)