Bristol Rovers 2
Anyinsah (19), Lund (25)
Plymouth Argyle 1
Stunning first half goals from Joe Anyinsah and Matt Lund gave Rovers victory against Plymouth Argyle at the Memorial Stadium this afternoon.
The visitors pulled a goal back in the second half but, apart from another effort that hit the post, they didn’t really give debut goalkeeper Steve Mildenhall too many problems on his Rovers debut.
John-Joe O’Toole and Tom Hitchcock, also making their debuts, worked exceptionally hard in an excellent team performance and O’Toole picked up the sponsors Man of the Match Award.
Rovers boss John Ward made five changes to his starting lineup and included all three of yesterday’s signings, Mildenhall, O’Toole and Hitchcock.
Lund and Ollie Norburn also returned to the team while Seanan Clucas and Eliot Richards were the most experienced substitutes that the manager had at his disposal.
Although Rovers enjoyed a great deal of early possession all they had to show for their efforts was a wild effort from Fabian Broghammer that was well wide of the target, while Argyle went close when a poor first touch in front of goal by Curtis Nelson, robbed him of a shooting opportunity.
The opening Rovers had been looking for came in spectacular style on 19 minutes when Broghammer’s corner from the right saw goalkeeper Rene Gilmartin punch clear as far as Anyinsah who hit a first time volley straight back into the roof of the net.
Onismor Bhasera headed over the bar as the visitors attempted to get back into the game, but Rovers were looking comfortable and extended their lead on 25 minutes with another spectacular strike.
Broghammer was again the provider. His corner, this time from the right, was cleared as far as Lund who had made a late run to the edge of the area and he volleyed a shot past Gilmartin before the keeper had a chance to move.
O’Toole hit a long range effort just wide of goal and Nick Chadwick headed on to the roof of the net, while Broghammer blocked a shot from Durrell Berry.
However Rovers comfortably held out until the break.
Three minutes into the second period Broghammer’s angled drive was blocked by Nelson while at the other end a weak header from Chadwick was comfortably handled by Mildenhall.
Anyinsah saw his header easily dealt with by Gilmartin before Argyle pulled a goal back with 63 minutes on the clock.
A cross from the right found Conor Hourihane in space at the back post and he hit a first time shot past Mildenhall from 12 yards.
A looping header from Tom Parkes, skipper this afternoon, almost restored Rovers two goal advantage, but landed on top of the Plymouth net, while Hourihane went close to equalising for Argyle when it appeared that Mildenhall got the slightest of touches to his shot and touched it on to the outside of the post.
Lund might have added a third goal for Rovers with a free kick that was only just wide of the target, but as far as chances went that was it and in spite of a few anxious moments Rovers held on to claim all three points.
Argyle boss Carl Fletcher paid the ultimate price for his side’s defeat as he was relieved of his duties shortly after the final whistle.
Rovers: Steve Mildenhall, Michael Smith, Cian Bolger, Tom Parkes, Lee Brown, Joe Anyinsah (Mitch Harding, 90), John-Joe O’Toole, Fabian Broghammer (Eliot Richards, 77), Matt Lund, Ollie Norburn (Seanan Clucas, 73), Tom Hitchcock
Substitutes: Conor Gough, Ellis Harrison, Tom Lockyer, Alefe Santos
Plymouth Argyle: Rene Gilmartin, Curtis Nelson, Robbie Williams (Matt Lecointe, 75), Nick Chadwick, Conor Hourihane, Luke Young (Mark Molesley, 85), Onismor Bhasera, Durrell Berry, Paris Cowan-Hall, Warren Feeney (Rhys Griffiths, 79), Maxime Blanchard
Substitutes: Jake Cole, Paul Wotton, Jamie Lowry, Joe Lennox
Yellow Cards: Berry, Hourihane
Referee: Mark Heywood
Away Fans: 864