Jordan Houghton


Argyle 1 
Hardie pen 58 

Bristol Rovers 1 
Loft 50 

A fine save from Callum Burton and Niall Ennis rifling into the top corner ensured a penalty shoot-out victory and the bonus point for Argyle in their first outing in the Papa John’s Trophy for this season. 

Burton saved brilliantly to give the Greens the edge in the spot-kick lottery and Ennis held his nerve with the final penalty to secure a 4-3 shoot-out success. 

The 90 minutes produced plenty of drama and a riveting encounter. Argyle dominated the first period but were hit by a Ryan Loft soon after the restart. 

Ryan Hardie equalised eight minutes later, keeping up the spot-kick theme with a confident effort after Morgan Whittaker had been fouled.  

Argyle boss Steven Schumacher opened the door for young trio Oscar Halls, Jack Endacott and Will Jenkins-Davies to make their mark on the first-team environment, and there was also a first start of the season for goalkeeper Callum Burton. 

The Greens moved the ball around with impressive zip in the early stages before Rovers came back with their own spell of possession, although neither side genuinely threatened in the first ten minutes. 

Halls demonstrated his aerial prowess with an important clearance from Rovers’ third corner in quick succession. Whittaker changed the picture with a weaving run and low cross cleared at the near post by Lewis Gordon. 

The pace of Hardie troubled Glenn Whelan in the right channel but he dragged the shot wide and a couple of whipped crosses from Endacott and Jordan Houghton were just about repelled by the Pirates. 

A delicious curling pass from Macauley Gillesphey released Hardie down the middle but credit to Trevor Clarke for a crucial last-ditch tackle. Gillesphey’s next assist was a stand-up cross to the back post for Joe Edwards, who powered his header against the bar. 

Hardie scuttled an effort into the arms of Anssi Jaakola, as Argyle continued turning the screw. A brilliant cross from Jenkins-Davies came next, volleyed inches wide by the late arriving Edwards. 

For all the Pilgrim pressure, Rovers spurned the final chances of the first half, Luca Hoole steering a header narrowly wide from a deep cross before the same man drilled a low shot from 18 yards that was well saved by Burton. 

Bali Mumba replaced Edwards at the break but Hardie was again the early threat, twisting into space for a shot charged down by Whelan. 

From nowhere, Rovers pinched the lead, Loft racing on to a long ball over the top and firing a low finish past the advancing Burton. Harvey Saunders almost doubled the pain with a long-ranger that just cleared the bar. 

A fine low cross from Endacott eluded the run of Hardie on 56 minutes but Argyle were soon smiling, Whittaker deceiving Clarke in the box and he hauled down the man on loan from Swansea for a clear penalty. 

Hardie did the honours with his third successful spot-kick of the season, calmly sending Jaakola the wrong way for a deserved leveller. The Greens were very nearly in front two minutes later, a dipping free-kick from Whittaker skipping off the surface and Lonwijk’s stooping header flashed wide. 

After three substitutions for Rovers, Finn Azaz replaced Jenkins-Davies and he immediately released Hardie on the right wing for a terrific cross headed inches over by Whittaker. The next pass over the top from Azaz was even better, Hardie cutting it back for a Whittaker shot that fizzed past the post. 

The next twist in a thoroughly entertaining game saw Burton save with his legs from Collins and Argyle instantly countered through Houghton, who cleverly chopped on to his left but was denied by the out-stretched hand of an exposed Jaakola. 

Niall Ennis replaced Hardie for the closing stages and he was the target for yet another superb whipped cross from Endacott, just about defended by Rovers. 

Freddie Issaka for Whittaker was the next Pilgrim switch but there was no further scoring, largely thanks to a goal-saving block from Gillesphey, sending the game to a penalty shoot-out for the bonus point. 

Collins (BR) - Scored  
Azaz (Arg) - Scored 
Evans (BR) - Missed  
Randell (Arg) - Missed 
Greenslade (BR) - Saved  
Gillesphey (Arg) - Scored 
McCormick (BR) - Scored  
Houghton (Arg) - Scored 
Jones (BR) - Scored 
Ennis (Arg) - Scored 

Argyle win 4-3 on penalties.

Argyle: 25 Callum Burton; 21 Nigel Lonwijk, 43 Oscar Halls, 3 Macaulay Gillesphey; 8 Joe Edwards (capt) (17 Bali Mumba H-T), 4 Jordan Houghton, 20 Adam Randell, 42 Jack Endacott; 44 Will Jenkins-Davies (18 Finn Azaz 66), 9 Ryan Hardie (11 Niall Ennis 74), 19 Morgan Whittaker (48 Freddie Issaka 82). Substitutes (not used): 1 Mike Cooper (gk), 7 Matt Butcher, 41 Jeff Forkuo. 

Booked: Whittaker 37 

Bristol Rovers: 32 Anssi Jaakola; 3 Lewis Gordon, 9 John Marquis (10 Aaron Collins 62), 14 Jordan Rossiter, 15 Paul Coutts (capt) (21 Antony Evans 62), 18 Ryan Loft, 20 Trevor Clarke (44 Ryan Jones 71), 22 Harvey Saunders, 25 Glenn Whelan, 30 Luca Hoole (27 Harvey Greenslade 78), 34 Jerry Lawrence (23 Luke McCormick 62). Substitutes (not used): 1 James Belshaw (gk), 5 Alfie Kilgour. 

Booked: Rossiter 88 

Attendance: 2,298 (95 away) 

Referee: Carl Brook