Under-18s Report | Bristol Rovers 1 Argyle 4
Argyle’s Under-18s continued their 100% record at the start of this season in Saturday morning’s Youth Alliance League fixture against Bristol Rovers.
A brace from Josh Bernard either side of half-time in addition to goals from Tegan Finn and substitute Kieran Edworthy were enough to see off the Gas with a 4-1 win.
There was one change to the starting line-up ahead of this fixture, with Caleb Roberts replaced by Sam Lord, who made his first start of the season.
The opening exchanges of the game were fiercely contested with Rovers proving early that they were going to be a tough test for the unbeaten Greens.
Argyle struck first when, in the 10th minute, Bernard and Finn’s relentless pressing paid dividends with the former running onto a loose ball inside the Rovers penalty area and firing it low past the keeper and into the bottom-left corner.
Just seconds later, Rovers launched the ball forward from the kick-off and Dan Holman came rushing off his goal-line in an attempt to claim the ball. The young goalkeeper took out the opposing striker in doing so, giving away a penalty.
The spot-kick was well converted and within a blink of an eye the score was 1-1, with Rovers back in the game.
Throughout the remainder of the first-half, the Young Pilgrims battled well and grew into the game, eventually gaining complete control and subjecting the hosts to large spells of pressure whilst they methodically probed forwards.
On the stroke of half-time Argyle restored their lead through winger Finn. Some neat work from Lord on the right allowed for the ball to be cut back to Finn inside the box who saw his effort fly into the bottom-left corner, a delightful finish.
With that late goal, Argyle went into the interval leading 2-1.
The start of the second half was very cagey with neither side able to create much in the way of chances.
The introduction of Edworthy from the bench in the 67th minute changed the game. His fresh legs up front gave the team a new lease of life and they began to start controlling the game in the same way they did at the end of the first 45.
It was the second-half substitute himself who put the game to bed when he made it 3-1 with seven minutes left to play.
Lord and Finn linked up well again finding space on the right flank for the ball to be slid into the box to Edworthy who was ready to pounce. He made no mistake, taking a touch before firing the ball low past the Rovers keeper who was left helpless.
Bernard made it even sweeter for Argyle when in second-half stoppage time his second goal of the game made it 4-1.
This time, a seemingly innocuous cross rolled across the box and into the path of Bernard. His close control inside the area proved too much for the Rovers defence to handle and he poked the ball into the back of the net from close range after putting one of their defenders on the deck.
Shortly after, the full-time whistle sounded marking another free-scoring victory for the Young Greens who extend their 100% record to five league matches.
The attention of all the players will immediately turn to next weekend’s fixture against Cheltenham Town in the third round of the Youth Alliance Cup.
Argyle: Dan Holman, Lewis Colwell, Harry Shield, Josh Bernard, Jack Matthews, Cole Gibbings, Fin Wilkes, Sam Lord, Henry Donovan (Kieran Edworthy 67), Tegan Finn, Freddie Issaka. Substitutes not used: Joel Sullivan, Cole Fisher, Joe Hatch, Jensen Ireland.