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Club News

Focus On: Plymouth Argyle

By Gerry Prewett

29 September 2017

Bristol Rovers are for the third game in a row facing a team on the coast, Blackpool, Portsmouth and now Plymouth.

Despite being the bottom team in the division Argyle will be treated with a great deal of respect by Darrell Clarke going into this game especially in the light of the recent home defeat by Oldham.

Talking about our West Country rivals he commented, “When you look at the division and how close and how tight it is, the teams in the top-six have found that consistency level so far after the 10 games, but there’s nothing in it. You see results over the weekend and midweek and think ‘how’s that happened?’”

We’re going to have to be on top of our game. They were very unfortunate not to hold on at Wigan. A great defensive display and then they got beat 1-0 on a penalty.

I’m sure they will be trying to build on that. It’s a big game for ourselves, to be honest. If we can manage to get the three points, which isn’t going to be easy, we’ll be a point off where we were last season,”

On Tuesday evening Plymouth gave a debut to keeper Kyle Letheren, 2,972 days after first signing for the Devon club. Right from the start of the game at Wigan, the home team poured forward and Argyle even saw a Samy Morsy free-kick take a deflection off Will Grigg only to hit the underside of the crossbar and was cleared. 

Right on half-time, Letheren divined to his left, full length, to tip a shot from Jacobs around the post.

The start of the second-half brought more of the same as he twice tipped headers from Nick Powell over the bar.

Then with continued Latics pressure and the game looking as though it was going to end all square, Referee Seb Stockbridge saw a push on Michael Jacobs by Jakub Sokolik in the Argyle penalty area and blew for a penalty.

Powell smashed the spot-kick home. Despite this setback Argyle were not out of it and Graham Carey hit a free kick off the top of the crossbar in injury time. 

Despite seeing his team go down to their sixth defeat in seven games the Pilgrims Boss Derek Adams believes in his team, “I think we have got a squad that is capable of competing in League One, there is no doubt about that.

"We have shown that in the games we have played in and we have shown that tonight. Wigan had to score a penalty kick, and they are going to be promoted out of this division at the end of the season.”

“I take a lot of positives, the shape of the team and the work ethic was fantastic. We were coming here to try to get a win. We obviously didn’t get that and we didn’t get a point but the players have shown great desire. We will eventually get there. We will go on a run and get things moving forward.”

Like Rovers, Argyle were founder members of the Third Division in 1920-21 season. They finished one spot below Rovers at the end of that season in 11th place.

The first ever League meeting between the clubs took place on 23rd April 1921 when goals by Ellis Crompton and Billy Palmer secured a 2-0 victory in front of a 14,000 Eastville crowd.

The return match saw Plymouth win 2-1 a week later, Crompton scoring for Rovers again and Jimmy Logan notching two for Argyle.

It was the first of 10 games in which Argyle remained undefeated against Rovers.

Looking back over the history of games there have been some real high scoring encounters.

The Boxing Day fixture of 1973 kept a 22,353 crowd on their toes as goals by Stuart Taylor, Alan Warboys (2) and Bruce Bannister swept a rampant Rovers to a 4-2 win.

Going back even further to 14th October 1961 a Bobby Jones double, Geoff Bradford and Peter Hooper goals made the score 4-3 to Rovers. This provided some sort of revenge for Argyle’s 5-2 win, just 11 months prior.

It’s also worth remembering that “Goodnight Irene” was first heard on 4 November 1950 in a game between Rovers and Argyle. Rovers came back from being 1-0 down at half time to score 3 goals. The Rovers fans changed the words of the current hit by the Weavers to ‘Goodnight Argyle”

On 8 March 2014, a 7,799 crowd saw Rovers run out 2-1 victors. It only took the home side 6 minutes to find the back of the net through loan striker Chris Beardsley.

Michael Smith delivered a long flat throw into the Argyle penalty area to Kaid Mohamed at the near post. Mohamed flicked the ball across the 6-yard box to find an unmarked Beardsley who nodded in from close range. 

The home side were made to pay for their missed chances as just before half time Plymouth drew level. 

A Luke Young free-kick was palmed wide by Mildenhall but only to the head of Maxime Blanchard. Blanchard headed the ball back across the Rovers 6-yard box and Neal Trotman jumped highest to make it 1-1.

Rovers looked the more likely to break the deadlock and did on the 79th minute through the head of Kaid Mohamed. Further pressure from down the Rovers left allowed Lee Brown to deliver a pinpoint ball to the far post and an unmarked Mohamed restored Rovers advantage. 

Prior to that game, The Mem had been a happy hunting ground for the Pilgrims; they had collected maximum points in the previous three League encounters, the last two of which had seen the Devon team record 3-2 wins.

In 2015-16 both fixtures ended up 1-1 as Rovers late assault on the top of the table saw them gain automatic promotion.

This weekend it looks as though the Devon team may be without seven players; Lionel Ainsworth and Jake Jervis are both rated as doubtful. Goalkeeper and captain Luke McCormick is also not expected to return from an ankle problem.

Second-year apprentice Michael Cooper will probably be among the substitutes as goalkeeping cover for Letheren with Robbert Te Loeke still sidelined by a back injury.

Sonny Bradley will sit out the second of his three-match suspension after his red card for violent conduct when the Pilgrims lost 3-0 to Doncaster Rovers at Home Park last weekend. Long-term injury absentees Ryan Taylor and Oscar Threlkeld are also on the injury list.

One piece of good news is that left-back Aaron Taylor-Sinclair has recovered from a leg injury.

McCormick had been an ever-present for Argyle in the EFL since the start of the 2016/17 season but was ruled out in midweek by an ankle injury. He picked up the problem during the defeat by Doncaster and did not even travel to Wigan with the rest of the squad. Adams said: “We are just going to assess him and see how he is. He’s obviously doubtful for the game on Saturday as well.”

 


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