Steven Schumacher

Schumacher's Bristol Rovers Reaction

Sync Fixtures

The footballing cliché you would possibly expect to use for Argyle’s 2-2 draw at Bristol Rovers is probably a ‘game of two halves’ – but this was a game that a second half that had two distinct periods of its own.

In the first half, Argyle were on top, and much more clinical than their hosts, going in 2-0 up at the break with goals from Finn Azaz and Adam Randell.

After the interval, though, Rovers came roaring back at Argyle, and scored via Josh Coburn and Ryan Loft before an hour had been played. The Pilgrims, though, showed a renewed battling quality to halt the considerable Gas momentum and by the end of the game, it was Argyle who looked the most likely to nick it.

“There was a lot of action in the game,” said manager Steven Schumacher. “It was well contested and played at a good tempo. Both teams were desperate to win it. We got off to a good start, played some nice stuff early on then without being at our best with the ball, scored two great goals.

“We went in at half-time and spoke about having to start the second half properly because we were expecting a reaction from Bristol Rovers, unfortunately we didn’t, we gave them a lifeline. Them, their crowd gets up, and they are on top for a few minutes and we had to ride a storm out.

“Credit to our players for doing that, because it was tough under the circumstances. We made a few substitutions and got a foothold in the game. It wasn’t to be, but it’s a good point. We are disappointed to lose a 2-0 lead, obviously, but a point here is not the worst result.

“I thought we limited them to very few opportunities in the first half. They had one when Aaron Collins got in and Michael made a good save, but that was their only chance. I felt that we were on top but you always get a reaction from the home team, when they are 2-0 down and have nothing to lose.

“We have to manage the game a little bit better in the first ten minutes [of the second half] because we conceded early last week at MK Dons. Our experienced heads have got to get us through that first ten minutes and quieten the crowd down. But they scored a goal and then it gets difficult for half an hour.

“But we stuck at it, dug in when we didn’t have it all our own way and we come out of here still unbeaten.

“When they scored two quick goals the crowd were up and they had the momentum, so we had to show some character to get through it. We made a couple of changes, adjusted what we were doing slightly and got a foothold in the game.”

Argyle continue to average two goals a game in Sky Bet League One this season, and have scored in every one of their 15 fixtures thus far. The two goals scored in this one, by Azaz and Randell, were both of a very high quality, but Schumacher would have liked to have seen more moments where his players could have made good opportunities count.

He said: “They were great strikes, nice moves where we looked after the ball – which too often we didn’t do. Finn Azaz showed his quality once again with an unbelievable finish, and Rands showed what he can do as well with a strike from outside the box. Two good goals, but I don’t think we did enough to win the game.

“We had a few little moments in the box, but we didn’t show enough quality in the final third all afternoon. In the second half we just needed someone to produce one moment of magic and we might have won the game.

“We’ll take the point and move on. This point will look a lot better if we can get a really positive result on Tuesday against Shrewsbury.

“We are still top of the league, we’re still doing really well. It’s all good.”

During the game, two smoke bombs were activated from the away end following Argyle goals. This comes off the back of the club appealing to supporters not to commit such actions, and one individual receiving a three-year banning order for transgressing.

Schumacher had this to say on the matter: “I wish it wouldn’t happen.

“First of all, it takes a long time to get them off the pitch. We’ve got momentum, we’ve just scored, so we want to game to get going again.

“We don’t want a fine. Any fines we get comes out of the January transfer kitty, and we don’t want that.

“The FA keep warning us, and the worst-case scenario is that they could deduct us points. The lads are playing so well, but because a couple of people are throwing smoke bombs on, it could have a knock-on effect.

“It needs to stop.

“Celebrate a goal. Go wild, limbs – all that. But keep the smoke bombs at home.”

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