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20 March 2021 Venue Home Park Attendance

Kick off 15:00 (UK)

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English Football League - League One

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Match Previews

Match Preview: Plymouth Argyle

19 March 2021

The Gas head south on Saturday, travelling to Home Park to face Plymouth Argyle.

Rovers will be looking to bounce back from Tuesday’s narrow defeat at the hands of Charlton at the Valley.

All the need-to-know info for the midweek clash can be found below…

Manager’s Preview

Rovers boss Joey Barton spoke to the local press via Zoom on Friday morning.

On the list of topics discussed was the morale of the squad heading into the final 11 games, an injury update and his pre-match thoughts on Saturday’s opponents.

Watch the interview with the Manager below…

Feature

Manager's Preview: Barton on Plymouth

Media Talk

Ryan Low caught up with Plymouth Argyle's media team ahead of the game, detailing how he sees the clash being played out, "I'm expecting a tough game, I know Joe, I knwo they're climbing the table and need points."

On changes since their 3-0 defeat to the Gas earlier in the campaign, Lowe said, "We're different from then, we've changed a little bit, we've got more desire and more commitment in us and we want to bring that to the party on Saturday afternoon too."

Form Guide

Plymouth head into Saturday’s on the back of five straight league defeats – with three wins coming in their last ten games.

The Pilgrims have been beaten by both Wigan and Northampton in recent weeks.

Four out of their last five games have been away from home.

21-year-old Luke Jephcott is the leading scorer this term for Ryan Lowe’s side, with 16 goals to his name. However, the Welsh forward last scored in the league back at the start of February, netting a brace in a 2-2 draw with Portsmouth.

Stat Pack

At Home Park so far this season, Plymouth have registered 9 wins, four draws and 5 defeat, accumulating 31 points on home soil in the process.

In their last six home games, the Pilgrims have 2 victories, 2 draws and 2 losses.

The 27 goals Ryan Lowe’s side have scored at home rank them 7th in the competition for the home goals scored.

Rovers’ have 14 points on the road this season. Rovers have scored twice in game away from home on two occasions since the turn on the year (Crewe and Charlton) but failed to register points in both fixtures.

The Gas have scored from the penalty spot on three times this season away from home, v Sunderland (Luke Leahy), v Lincoln (Brandon Hanlan) and against Charlton (Luke Leahy).

Brandon Hanlan has recorded the most playing minutes of any Rovers player away from home, closely followed by Josh Grant.

Ed Upson’s long range strike at the Valley on Tuesday was Rovers’ 5th league goal this season from outside the penalty area.

Rovers boss Joey Barton has faced Ryan Lowe in the dugout on two occasions, both recording a win apiece.

Rovers have scored the first goal in the last five meetings with Plymouth.

Referee Watch

Trevor Kettle has been allocated as the match official for Saturday’s game at Home Park. Kettle has officiated 27 games this season, producing 72 yellow cards and 4 red cards. He took charge of our defeat away at Doncaster back in September and refereed Plymouth’s 4-4 draw on the road at AFC Wimbledon in the same the month. Kettle has the referee for our 3-0 win at Blackpool back in November 2018 and our 2-0 win at the Mem over Southend in March 2017.

Betting

EFL sponsors Sky Bet have Rovers priced at 13/8 to pick up three points on Saturday. The scoreline of 2-1 to the Gas is offered at 17/2. On the goal scorer markets, Sam Nicholson is priced at 12/5 to score at any time, with Brandon Hanlan offered at 9/2 to grab the games first goal.

To bet with Sky Bet please click HERE.

All odds are correct at the time of writing. Please gamble responsibly.

How to watch

Saturday’s game will be live on iFollow. All the need to know info on how to buy a match pass can be found below.

Feature

iFollow Guide: Plymouth Argyle

Previous Encounters

Encounters between the Gas and the Pilgrims are always lively affairs, which have been dubbed somewhat a derby, given that Rovers are one the closest league sides geographically to Plymouth.

The sides last met at the Mem in December, where the Gas recorded a 3-0 win thanks to goals from Alfie Kilgour, Zain Westbrooke and Luke McCormick.

Throughout the curtailed 2019/20 season, Rovers made three trips to Home Park. The Gas registered a 1-0 win in a pre-season friendly as Kyle Bennett grabbed the only goal of the game. In the EFL Trophy the game, the group-stage fixture ended 1-1, as Tom Nichols’ opening goal was canceeled out by former Rovers player, Byron Moore. The hoem side took the bonus point on offer with a 5-3 win the penalty shootout. The final trip to Home Park that season, was a Emirates FA Cup replay that was settled thanks to Alex Rodman’s well-placed header. The game also saw Anssi Jaakkola produce a stunning diving save.

Our trip to Home Park back in March 2019 will hold memories for Rovers fans. Rúben Lameiras opened the scoring in the second half for the home side, only for the goal to the cancelled out by a fine individual strike from Jonson Clarke-Harris in the 72nd minute. Moments later, a Tony Craig own goal fired the home side and they held until the 91st minute, as Gavin Reilly climbed to head home James Clarke’s cross to level the score at 2-2.

Catch the encounter below…

Feature

Match Highlights: Plymouth Argyle 2-2 Bristol Rovers

Around the Grounds

There’s a full run of Sky Bet League One action this weekend. The games that wil spike the interest of Rovers fans will be Swindon Town’s trip to Fleetwood and AFC Wimbledon’s home game against Charlton Athletic. Northampton entertain Crewe Alexandra, while Wigan make the short trip to Accrington Stanley. Burton will look to continue their fine form when they play host to MK Dons. There’s a sixeabel clash at the top end of the table as Lincoln travel to Sunderland and Portsmouth’s game at home to Ipswich is the league’s early KO.

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Match Reports

Match Report: Plymouth Argyle 2-0 Bristol Rovers

20 March 2021

Rovers defeated on the road.

Ennis' first-half brace led the Pilgrims to a 2-0 victory at Home Park.

Niall Ennis fired the home side ahead early on, converting from Adam Lewis’ cross at close-range to open the scoring in the 7th minute.

Rovers had a series of first-half chances, with Jonah Ayunga testing Cooper with a fierce volley, but were unable to find an equaliser in the opening forty-five minutes.

Ennis managed to grab the game’s second goal in the final moments of the first half, again converting from close-range after being found by a low Lewis cross into the Rovers area to give the home side a two-goal advantage at the break.

In the second half, Rovers created credible opportunities, as Luke McCormick forced Cooper into making a save down low to tip his effort wide, while a deflected effort from the Chelsea loanee also forcing Cooper into making an impressive save, as Plymouth claimed the points on offer.

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Rovers headed to Home Park looking to add to the tally of 14 points picked on the road so far this season, with the incentive to push clear of the congested foot of the league table.

Plymouth headed into the encounter on the back on 5 straight defeats, which had seen the Pilgrims slip to a mid-table berth, poised in the middle group between the play-off chasing pack and the teams fighting to avoid a drop into the bottom four.

Ahead of the contest, Rovers Manager Joey Barton made two changes to the side that started Tuesday’s encounter at the Valley.

Jordi van Stappershoef deputised for the suspended Joe Day in goal, while Max Ehmer returned to the side in place of Sam Nicholson.

On the bench, there was a spot for U18’s goalkeeper, Jed Ward – who signed his first pro deal with Rovers back in January, alongside the likes of Erhun Oztumer, David Tutonda and Josh Hare, who have all had to be patient for first-team opportunities in recent weeks.

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Trevor Kettle was the man in charge of the encounter on the south coast, with the experienced official refereeing both teams one occasion previously this season.

Rovers had found the net first in the last five meetings with the Pilgrims and notched the game’s first opening early when Jonah Ayunga fired a volley towards goal from the edge of the area that Mike Cooper was equal to, in what as reaction stop by the Plymouth ‘keeper.

It was a lively start for Rovers, who looked eager to challenge the host's defence. Zain Westbrooke managed to dig out a useful cross that flung into the direction of the advancing Luke Leahy, who couldn’t quite leap high enough to plant a header towards goal.

With a positive showing from Rovers in the early stages, it was the home side that grabbed the first goal. The move originated down the left, as Connor Grant’s through ball picked out the run of Adam Lewis. The left-back was able to hang a high cross towards the far post, where Niall Ennis was on hand to supply a close-range finish to put the Pilgrims ahead.

The setback of going a goal down didn’t deter Rovers’ attacking play, as shortly after Ennis’ goal a deep cross into the Plymouth area found Leahy. The skipper managed to nod a header back across goal, where Brandon Hanlan adjusted to fire a volley into the side netting, in what was an encouraging sign for the Gas.

Jonah Ayunga again looked bright for Rovers, with the striker’s movement ensuring that the Plymouth defence remained on alert. On the 20-minute mark, the striker managed to craft a run to greet a through ball from Westbrooke and played a low delivery into the area where McCormick scuffed an effort narrowly wide of the target.

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A steady flow of chances kept coming for Rovers as the first-half progressed. Zain Westbrooke clipped a free-kick into a congested Plymouth area with the delivery dropping to Ayunga, who saw his effort blocked. Numerous further attempts from Rovers to poke the ball towards the Plymouth goal were also quashed, as the hosts hurried the ball clear.

The home side had opportunities of their own, as Connor Grant connected well with a low effort from outside the area that van Stappershoef was able to claim at the second attempt. Moments later, Opoku managed to get on the end of a deep free-kick and directed a header into the arms of van Stappershoef.

In the ten minutes leading up to the break, Rovers mounted chances to get back level. Brandon Hanlan saw an effort from inside the area blocked, as soon after Ed Upson timed a run to the far post to get on the end of a cross and managed to fire a volley towards goal that Edwards deflected away.

Despite being competitive and creating chances, Rovers found themselves facing a two-goal deficit in the closing stages of the first half. Again it was a low cross from the left from Adam Lewis that did the damage, as the defender’s delivery picked out Ennis with his back to goal. The forward had plenty to do, but a swift turn saw the striker glance a low finish into the bottom corner beyond van Stappershoef to double both his and Plymouth’s goal tally for the afternoon.

At the break, Josh Hare was introduced, with Max Ehmer making way.

Rovers crafted an early opportunity in the second half, which was created by tenacious work in the deep by Hanlan to get the beating of Opoku. The forward managed to square a pass to McCormick, who side-footed an effort towards goal that deflected off Ayunga. The ricochet actually took the effort back across the goalmouth where Cooper made an excellent stop to tip the attempt over the target.

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As the hour approached, Ennis had the opportunity to add his third, as the forward was played in behind the Rovers backline. The striker took control of the bouncing ball at a narrow-angle and whittled a powerful volley that struck the meeting between the crossbar and the upright.

Inside the final twenty minutes, Rovers had the chances to dent Plymouth’s advantage. A low, drilled effort from McCormick from the edge of the area was pushed wide by a fingertip stop from Cooper. From further out, minutes later Ed Upson curled a measured effort wide.

Barton turned to the bench with 15 minutes to play and introduced Erhun Oztumer, who made his first appearance since our meeting with Wigan last month.

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Oztumer had an immediate involvement, drifting a swirling effort from range towards goal that Cooper was equal to.

Further Rovers changes come in the shape of a double alteration, as Daly and Tutonda were drafted from the Rovers bench.

Rovers applied late pressure, with James Daly seeing two efforts blocked by the resolute Plymouth defence, as the home side held firm to secure the three points.

Rovers face a quick turnaround, ahead of Tuesdays’ fixture against Swindon Town at the Mem.

Plymouth Argyle: Mike Cooper, Will Aimson, Joe Edwards, Danny Mayor, Conor Grant, Tyrese Fornah, Niall Ennis (78' Ryan Hardie), Adam Lewis, Jerome Opoku, Panutche Camara, Luke Jephcott (90+1' Byron Moore).

Subs: Luke McCormick, Ben Reeves, Byron Moore, Klaidi Lolos, Sam Woods, Ollie Tomlinson

Rovers: Jordi Van Stappershoef, George Williams, Jack Baldwin, Alfie Kilgour (81' David Tutonda), Max Ehmer (45' Josh Hare), Luke Leahy, Zain Westbrooke (75' Erhun Oztumer), Ed Upson (81' James Daly), Luke McCormick, Brandon Hanlan, Jonah Ayunga.

Subs: Jed Ward, Pablo Martinez, Josh Hare, Zain Walker.

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