Goals for Jamie Lucas and Chad Douglas
Plymouth Argyle 0
Bristol Rovers 2
Jamie Lucas and Chad Douglas scored either side of half time to secure our U-18s a 2-0 Alliance Cup victory at Plymouth.
The points mean Rovers leapfrog Argyle and go top of their group with one game to play.
While Youth Team Manager Alan Walsh was happy with the win, he felt his side could have had a greater margin of victory.
“I’m pleased with the result, but I thought we should have scored more goals,” said Walsh.
“I think 2-0 keeps you on the edge of your seat a little bit and we didn’t get the second goal until the last 20 minutes of the game, so they were always in with a chance when it’s 1-0.
“We’ve got the second goal which gave us a little bit of breathing space, but we had chances to be out of sight, really.”
Rovers had the first opportunity of the game in the seventh minute when Aaron Ward-Baptiste released Ryan Broom into space down the right, though Lucas could only volley his cross wide.
A Danny Greenslade corner also allowed centre back Trey Anderson a volleyed effort early on, which was blocked at close range.
Ward-Baptiste also shot high and wide when Argyle keeper Andrew Hannah fumbled a Greenslade cross from open play into his path, but the visitors eventually took an 18th-minute lead.
Lucas received possession of the ball in space and, with the Plymouth defence backing off, drove a shot into the top corner from 20 yards for his fourth goal of the season.
The striker was also presented with a chance to double the lead following an exquisite through ball from Dominic Thomas, though the Argyle defenders were able to block his effort.
Greenslade’s set-piece deliveries were a constant menace, with Louis Ezwele volleying over from another corner five minutes before the interval.
The final chance of the half fell to Ward-Baptiste. Lucas was at the heart of the action again, holding the ball up before laying off to his strike partner, who failed to find the target.
After the break, Plymouth wasted an early chance to equalise when Joshua Hutchinson scuffed Ethan Stark’s cutback kindly to Rovers keeper Kieran Preston.
More excellent link-up play between Ward-Baptiste and Lucas led to the latter sweeping a shot into the bottom corner, only to be denied his brace by an offside call.
Lucas was involved in most of Rovers’ forward play and had two excellent chances to increase his sides’ tally.
The first came when Ward-Baptiste won possession in midfield and played him in behind, with the Plymouth defence scrambling to clear his low cross for a corner.
Soon after, Lucas made another opportunity for himself with a superb turn on the byline before being crowded out by the home defenders.
He had little part in the second goal, however. Greenslade was the provider this time with a whipped cross to the far post that was hammered home by substitute Chad Douglas in the 70th minute.
The winger came close to adding a third with a low shot that Hannah was forced to parry behind.
Plymouth rarely stretched the Rovers rearguard, but Walsh was keen to emphasise the whole team’s defensive ethic.
“We limited them to very few goalscoring opportunities, and you could say it’s the defence, which it partly is, but it’s the work of the whole team,” said Walsh.
“We try to say that we defend as a team and we attack as a team, but you’ve got to give them a little bit of credit - the back four and the goalkeeper. They limited them to very few opportunities in and around our 18-yard box.”
Team: Kieran Preston, Mitch Palmer, Trey Anderson, Louis Ezwele, Danny Greenslade, Ryan Broom (Chad Douglas, 63), Jay Malpas (Harrison Trueman, 46), Dominic Thomas, Carlos Barra (Laurent Davis-Wilson, 63), Aaron Ward-Baptiste, Jamie Lucas
Our thanks to Rovers supporter Henry Burridge for this match report