Bristol Rovers 1-1 Plymouth ArgyleRovers and Plymouth played out a 1-1 draw in this final third development cup at our training ground on Tuesday afternoon.
It was a game that Rovers should have won comfortably given the chances they created, but they simply weren’t clinical enough in front of goal. All they had to show for their efforts was Cristian Montano’s 14th minute effort which was cancelled out by Jordan Bentley with 20 minutes of the match remaining.
Marcus Stewart’s side dominated the opening 20 minutes of the game and in between two chances that Montano fired wide of the target, Ryan Broom rolled a shot wide of goal.
Montano’s run from the halfway line and his subsequent shot gave his side a deserved lead, but they failed to capitalise on the amount of possession they enjoyed.
The visitors, playing against a strong wind, created only one serious first half opportunity but Kieran Preston saved comfortably from Callum Hall’s effort. Broom fired wide of the mark again before the half ended and had another opportunity on the stroke of half time, but goalkeeper James Bittner saved easily.
Preston made a fine save 11 minutes into the second half when he touched a ferocious drive from Fletcher behind for a corner. The shot stopper pushed another effort from Jordan Forster round the post while at the other end Bittner saved well from Montano.
Preston was finally beaten on 70 minutes. He touched a shot from Josh Calver behind but following a short corner. Dan Purrington’s cross from the left was met by Bentley who headed past the goalkeeper.
Rovers finished the game strongly, twice hitting the woodwork, through Blake Davies and Jake Gosling, while Montano was denied a second goal by Bittner’s fine save.
There were a number of positives for Rovers, not least the fact that Rory Fallon came through 90 minutes against his former employers and led the line well, while Mark McChrystal, Montano and Gosling also completed the match.
Rovers: Preston, Fry (Corp, 73), Kilgour, McChrystal, Greenslade, Broom, Malpas, Gosling, Montano, Mehew (Davies, 60), Fallon
Substitutes: Green, Confrey, Phillips
Marcus Stewart, in charge of the side for this game, was a frustrated man afterwards and had this to say; “We should have won the game convincingly given the chances, many of them one on ones, we created.
“We started the game with a high tempo, which was great, but we failed to put the ball in the net and that cost us.
“We weren’t clinical enough in front of goal, simple as that, though the rest of our play was great.”
Chances aside, Plymouth didn’t trouble his side in the opening 45 minutes and though they enjoyed more possession and created a few chances in the second period, Rovers applied themselves well.
“We defended well and I can’t complain about our effort or willingness to defend when asked to do so and, in addition, we were resilient and well organised.”
Marcus, though, was able to take a number of positives from the match; “The main thing is that some of senior pros got some much needed game time under their belts, and we were able to have another look at some of our younger pros and scholars in a match situation.”
The club’s latest recruit, Rory Fallon, completed the 90 minutes and drew some appreciative comments from Marcus; “Rory gives us different option. He’s very good in the air, and we don’t have anyone like him in the side at present. He doesn’t complicate his game and, unlike the younger lads in the side he knows his own game well while they are still learning.
“Those young lads are very fortunate to have players such as Rory and Mark McChrystal around at the moment because they always give everything in games such as these and are always willing to pass on advice and give the youngsters the benefit of their experience.”