Plymouth Argyle 1
Bristol Rovers 0
Reuben Reid’s 82nd minute goal was all that separated these sides at Home Park this afternoon, in a game between two sides that looked as though their midweek exertions in the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy had taken its toll.
At half time it appeared that all Rovers had to do to claim victory was to step up a gear after the break. However they were unable to create too many clear cut opportunities and once Reid had scored never really looked as though they would equalise.
It was a huge disappointment after the way they played against Bristol City in midweek and left John Ward’s side still looking for their first away points of the season.
Ward made just one change to his starting lineup, with Ryan Brunt returning at the expense of Matt Harrold, who was on the bench.
The home side began the game strongly but for all their early possession they never seriously troubled Rovers’ defence or goalkeeper Steve Mildenhall.
We had to wait until the 14th minute for a goal attempt and it was hardly worth waiting for as Marvin Morgan’s wild shot was closer to the corner flag than the goal.
Rovers gradually grew into the game and Ollie Norburn dragged a shot wide of the target after 18 minutes while Brunt met a corner from the right and volleyed just wide.
The home side might have made better of Conor Hourihane’s free kick on the half hour mark, but his delightful ball into the area eluded attacking players and defenders alike and drifted behind Mildenhall’s goal.
As Rovers began to assert themselves on the game Tom Lockyer played in Brunt and he evaded a wild challenge from former Rovers loanee Guy Branston before hitting a shot across the face of goal and behind for a goal kick.
Norburn, and several of his team mates, felt referee Andy Davies should have awarded Rovers a spot kick ten minutes from the end of the half when the midfielder’s cross clearly struck Reuben Reid’s arm, but nothing was given.
The half ended with Brunt dispossessing Durrell Berry and putting a cross into the area but no one had got forward quickly enough to apply the finishing touch.
David Clarkson’s shot three minutes into the second half was the first on target effort by either side, and it produced a comfortable save for Argyle keeper Luke McCormick.
Following the home side’s claim for a penalty, a good break down the right by Tom Lockyer saw him get in a cross but there was no one could apply the touch needed to beat McCormick.
The home side then created opportunities of their own and Marvin Morgan hit a shot well wide of goal before a fierce drive from Hamza Bencherif rattled the upright. The rebound fell to Morgan who blasted the ball high over the bar.
At the other end a speculative long range effort from Ellis Harrison was comfortably held by McCormick, but the home side were looking stronger and Mark McChrystal was on hand to block another attempt while Lewis Alessandra hit a shot wide of goal.
Morgan fired into the side netting under pressure from McChrystal before Reid scored the all important goal.
A short free kick was touched to Hourihane who floated a cross into the box where Reid, the Bristol born striker, powered a header past Mildenhall.
Argyle had chances to increase their lead before the final whistle, through Luke Young, who fired wide, and Rommy Boco whose shot was blocked by McChrystal, though they can consider themselves fortunate to have taken all three points.
Bristol Rovers: Steve Mildenhall, Michael Smith, Tom Parkes, Mark McChrystal, Lee Brown, Tom Lockyer (Shaquille Hunter, 87), Ollie Norburn, John-Joe O’Toole, Ellis Harrison (Matt Harrold, 83), David Clarkson (Alefe Santos, 70), Ryan Brunt
Substitutes: Garry Kenneth, Matt Gill, Conor Gough, Josh Southway
Yellow Card: O’Toole
Plymouth Argyle: Luke McCormick, Durrell Berry, Guy Branston, Neal Trotman, Jamie Reckord, Lewis Alessandra, Hamza Bencherif (Luke Young, 66), Conor Hourihane, Rommy Boco, Marvin Morgan, Reuben Reid
Substitutes: Jake Cole, Andre Blackman, Max Blanchard, Dominic Blizzard, Tyler Harvey, Andres Gurrieri
Yellow Card: Hourihane
Referee: Andy Davies
Rovers supporters: 1,273