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17 March 2018 Venue Home Park Attendance

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Focus On: Plymouth Argyle

16 March 2018

By Gerry Prewett.

Bristol Rovers face a 120-mile trip south-west for a West Country derby game at Plymouth this weekend. The game has taken on massive significance given the respective positions and current form of both teams. When Rovers beat Argyle back in September the Pilgrims were languishing in bottom spot with just 5 points from 11 games.

Since then Argyle have picked up a further 49 points from 25 games, a remarkable turnaround and undoubtedly promotion form. The Pilgrims must be rueing that slow start they made. Having just won 6 games in a row, Argyle were held to a 1-1 draw last week at Fleetwood.

Argyle got off to a good start but just after the quarter hour, when Fleetwood thought they had weathered the storm, they found themselves going behind. After stopping an initial Argyle attack, the home side casually gave the ball away, to Ryan Taylor. Taylor fed Ruben Lameiras, who turned quickly to find the driving run of Moses Makasi.

Makasi showed exceptional composure to take the ball in, then open his body up to curl, left-footed, past Alex Cairns. It was a slick, well-taken goal that epitomised Argyle performance to that point, and was fully deserved.

That was the way the score stayed until ten minutes into the second-half, Ashley Hunter cut in on his right foot down the left flank, and crossed to the far post. It looked as though Yann Songo'o would have the cross covered, but he seemed to react to a shout behind him, and leaving the ball for Paddy Madden to slot home unmarked.

Speaking after the game Argyle manager Derek Adams claimed that Fleetwood Town were fortunate not to have Lewie Coyle sent-off. The right-back was booked in the 24th minute of the League One encounter after clattering into Ruben Lameiras. “You can’t tackle that way. He won the ball but went through the man and over the top. He was completely out of control and it should have been a red card.”

Speaking about Fleetwood’s calls for penalties he commented, “When you are down the bottom of the league you always claim for everything don’t you? That was the nature of the calls today. There was nothing in them. Blasting the ball at somebody from two yards, if that’s what you want to try to get a penalty kick then you should really have a think about what you are trying to do in the game. If that’s the best way that you want to get a goal maybe go back to the training field and look at a better way.”

“We are delighted to come away from home undefeated and get another point. We started very well and got ahead in the game after a great through ball from Ruben Lameiras to Moses. It was nothing more than we deserved at that moment in time. We were pushing forward. The full-backs on both sides (Oscar Threlkeld and captain Gary Sawyer) were causing Fleetwood problems. Their wingers didn’t want to track back and it allowed us the overload on the outsides.”

Like Rovers, Argyle were founder members of the Third Division in 1920-21 season. They finished one spot below Rovers at the end of that season in 11th place. The first ever League meeting between the clubs took place on 23rd April 1921 when goals by Ellis Crompton and Billy Palmer secured a 2-0 victory in front of a 14,000 Eastville crowd. The return match saw Plymouth win 2-1 a week later, Crompton scoring for Rovers again and Jimmy Logan notching two for Argyle.

Looking back over the history of games there have been some real high scoring encounters. The Boxing Day fixture of 1973 kept a 22,353 crowd on their toes as goals by Stuart Taylor, Alan Warboys (2) and Bruce Bannister swept a rampant Rovers to a 4-2 win.

Going back even further to 14th October 1961 a Bobby Jones double, Geoff Bradford and Peter Hooper goals made the score 4-3 to Rovers. This provided some sort of revenge for Argyle’s 5-2 win just 11 months prior.

It’s also worth remembering that “Goodnight Irene” was first heard on 4 November 1950 in a game between Rovers and Argyle. Rovers came back from being 1-0 down at half time to score 3 goals. The Rovers fans changed the words of the current hit by the Weavers to ‘Goodnight Argyle”

Meanwhile in Plymouth, Rovers have not won since their 2-1 victory there in the Worthington Cup on 23 August 2000. The last League win was on 10 January 1998 in Division 2 when goals by Jamie Cureton and Barry Hayles (later to pull on the Argyle shirt) for Rovers and one for Carlo Corazzin for Argyle saw a 2-1 result. Back on 5 February 1994 there was a memorable 3-3 draw, when Justin Skinner, Lee Archer and Worrell Sterling replied to goals by Dwight Marshall, Paul Dalton and Mike Evans to keep a 13,318 crowd entertained.

Going back to 1982 Rovers visited Home Park twice, on 2 January they went down to a 4-0 defeat with Jeff Cook and John Sims grabbing a brace each, but on 28 September, goals by Paul Randall (2), Errington Kelly and David Williams ensured the result was reversed, to give Rovers their best ever result on the ground. Argyle certainly found the Rovers defence to their liking in the 1959/60 and 1960/61 seasons, beating Rovers 5-3 and 5-0 (Rovers worst result in Plymouth)

Rovers last visit to Home Park ended in a 1-1 draw. After going behind to a late Jake Jervis strike, Ellis Harrison stunned the home crowd with a 90th minute penalty.

Looking ahead to this weekend’s game Argyle Boss Adams said, “It will be probably 12,000 at the game so the atmosphere will be good. It’s the nearest club for us this season. They are always good matches against Bristol Rovers.”

“When Bristol Rovers come they always take a big support with them. That generates an even better atmosphere.”

“We are more than delighted with 10 games to go to say we are pushing for a play-off position. I think everybody would have snatched your hand off for that at the start of the season.”

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Match Reports

Rovers Suffer Late Defeat in Thriller at Home Park

Plymouth Argyle 3 - 2 Rovers

17 March 2018

A late Graham Carey penalty allowed Plymouth to record a victory at Home Park.

Chris Lines' delightfully placed free-kick gave Rovers an early advantage in the game, but Plymouth responded to level the terms as Jamie Ness headed home from a Lameiras cross.

The balance to scoreline lasted just two-minutes, as Ellis Harrison struck his fourteenth goal of the season, firing home a close-range finish after creating an opening for himself.

Minutes after the interval, the game entered a frantic spell as Plymouth were awarded a penalty as Tom Lockyer and Tony Craig combined to allegedly foul Moses Makasi inside the area, with some suggestions it was a soft decision. Ruben Lameiras took the spot-kick, with Sam Slocombe pulling off and a fine diving save to prevent a goal.

Just seconds later, Plymouth did pull back level, as a Jamie Ness cross took an unfortunate touch off Ollie Clarke which diverted the ball into the net.

A draw would've been a fair result, but Rovers were dealt a sucker punch five minutes from time when Lockyer conceded a penalty from a corner, that Carey stepped up and dispatched to win the game.

Heading into the encounter, Darrell Clarke opted to make two changes to his starting eleven. James Clarke completed his return from injury to start a fixture for the first time since August, while the only other change in the starting Xl came in the shape of another Clarke, Ollie, replacing Rory Gaffney.

The opening exchanges were largely uneventful, with both sides using the period of the encounter to find their feet. There was an early chance that fell the way of the hosts, as Ryan Taylor almost latched onto a driven cross into the Rovers area, but an important interference from Tony Craig edged the ball away from Taylor and behind for a corner.

After taking the time to settle into the highly charged atmosphere at Home Park, Rovers found the perfect way to silence the home crowd by breaking the deadlock just after the ten-minute mark. Stuart Sinclair orchestrated the start of the move that led to the opening goal, by winning Rovers a free-kick in a dangerous location. A group of Rovers players looked set to take the set-piece, but it was Chris Lines who stepped up and delivered a delightfully struck free-kick that curled around the wall and nestled into the bottom corner to put Rovers ahead.

The goal looked to unsettle the home side, who almost gifted Rovers the opportunity to extend their lead further when Ellis Harrison charged down a slack clearance from Remi Matthews, who was forced to leave his area to battle to win back possession from his mishap, as Harrison managed to nudge the ball in the direction of the supporting Liam Sercombe, but the ball wouldn't sit kindly for the midfielder to shoot towards the empty goal.

Plymouth found a way to restore balance to the scoreline midway through the first half, as Ruben Lameiras flashed a dangerous delivery into the Rovers area that was met by a glancing header from Jamie Ness that took the ball out of reach of the stranded Sam Slocombe. 

The balance to the scoreline in the game was short-lived, as two minutes later, Rovers were back in front. Ellis Harrison muscled his way to the ball inside the Plymouth area, snatching possession off Yann Songo'o and keeping composes to fire a powerful finish under the onrushing Remi Matthews.

After the interval, a frantic spell of the game followed as Plymouth were awarded a penalty following a coming together between Tony Craig and Moses Makasi inside the area. Ruben Lameiras was on duty with the penalty but was denied by a fine diving stop from Sam Slocombe.

Seconds later, Plymouth did manage to find an equalising goal, as a cross from Jamie Ness took a heavy deflection from the head of Ollie Clarke that diverted the ball inside the near post, with the speed and direction on the ball leaving Slocombe with little opportunity to react with a save.

The action showed no signs of slowing, as once again Ellis Harrison charged down a clearance from Plymouth 'keeper Remi Matthews, with the striker teasing the goalkeeper in making a rash challenge that resulted in a yellow card.

Rovers kept on creating chances and manufactured an opportunity on goal when a delicate touch by Liam Sercombe opened up a shooting opportunity. The midfielder gained his balance and fired a driven attempt towards goal that was pushed away by Matthews, with the rebound falling to Joe Partington, but on his left-foot, the defender could only lift his first-time attempt over the target.

Kyle Bennett aimed a well-weight late cross towards Ellis Harrison that panicked the host's defence and won Rovers a corner with a portion of the game remaining. The set-piece was crafted into a threatening position by Chris Lines and poked towards goal by Tom Lockyer, but the attempt fell straight into the hands of Remi Matthews.

The game had a sting in the tail right at the death as the hosts were again awarded a penalty for a foul by Tom Lockyer on Yann Songo'o. This time Graham Carey was chosen to take the spot-kick and made no mistake in placing his effort to the right of Slocombe to give Plymouth the victory inside the final ten minutes.

Rovers XI: Sam Slocombe (GK), Joe Partington (70' Bola), Tom Lockyer (c), Tony Craig, James Clarke, Chris Lines, Ollie Clarke (86' Tom Nichols), Liam Sercombe, Stuart Sinclair, Kyle Bennett, Ellis Harrison (86' Rory Gaffney).

Subs: Adam Smith (GK), Ryan Sweeney, Tom Broadbent, Marc Bola, Bernard Mensah, Tom Nichols, Rory Gaffney.

Argyle XI: Remi Matthews (GK), Gary Sawyer (c), Yaan Songo'o, Jamie Ness, Graham Carey, Ruben Lameiras (90' Aaron Taylor-Sinclair), Moses Makasi (90' Paul Paton), Oscar Threlkeld, Ryan Taylor, Zak Vyner, David Fox.

Subs: Kyle Letherson (GK), Lionel Ainsworth, Joel Grant, Aaron Taylor-Sinclair, Alex Fletcher, Paul Paton, Cameron Sangster.

Attendance: 13,466 (1,593 away)

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Ticket News

Pay on the Day Available at Peterborough

23 March 2018

Supporters will be able to pay on the day at Saturday's fixture against Peterborough United.

Darrell Clarke's side make the journey to face Peterborough on Saturday 24th March.

Advance tickets are no longer available for the fixture.

On the day prices for the encounter are listed below; 

Adult £28
Senior (60+) £23
Under 22 £19
Under 18 £11
Under 12 £9
Under 7 £1

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