By Gerry Prewett.
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 11thplace. The first ever League meeting between the clubs took place on 23rdApril 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.
Rovers record in Devon shows that they have played Argyle 51 times with 10 wins (20%), 17 draws (33%) and 24 defeats (47%)
Prior to last season’s FA Cup victory in the port city, Rovers had not won there since their 2-1 victory in the Worthington Cup on 23 August 2000. That was 9 games in which there were been 4 defeats and 5 draws. The last League win was on 10 January 1998 in Division 2 when goals by Jamie Cureton and Barry Hayles (later to pull on the Argyle shirt) for Rovers and one for Carlo Corazzin for Argyle saw a 2-1 result. Back on 5 February 1994 there was a memorable 3-3 draw, when Justin Skinner, Lee Archer and Worrell Sterling replied to goals by Dwight Marshall, Paul Dalton and Mike Evans to keep a 13,318 crowd entertained.
Going back even further to 1982 Rovers visited Home Park twice, on 2 January they went down to a 4-0 defeat with Jeff Cook and John Sims grabbing a brace each, but on 28 September, goals by Paul Randall (2), Errington Kelly and David Williams ensured the result was reversed, to give Rovers their best ever result on the ground. Argyle certainly found the Rovers defence to their liking in the 1959/60 and 1960/61 seasons, beating Rovers 5-3 and 5-0 (Rovers worst result in Plymouth).
The 2017-18 game was a real roller coaster Chris Lines opened the scoring with a 12th-minute free-kick from outside the box that he swept home past Argyle keeper Remi Matthews. Argyle levelled when Jamie Ness sent a header over Sam Slocombe and in at the far post from a cross from the right by Ruben Lameiras on 34 minutes.
Within two minutes Ellis Harrison restored Rovers lead, scoring with a low shot. Argyle levelled again in the 48thminute when Ness' cross-cum-shot was deflected off Ollie Clarke and the post before going in. A minute before that Lameiras' penalty was brilliantly saved by Slocombe, diving to his left.
Moses Makasi - on loan from West Ham - won the spot-kick, tripped by Tom Lockyer as he sped into the Rovers penalty area. On 85 minutes Yann Songo'o was fouled by Lockyer and Graham Carey converted to take all 3 points for Argyle.
The game on 23 March 2019 was a real thriller. The first half was goalless as Matt Macey made a superb save in added time to deny Tom Nichols as he met Ollie Clarke's cross from the right with a goal-bound strike. Plymouth's Ruben Lameiras broke the deadlock in the 51stminute. He jinked into the area down the right, exchanged passes with David Fox and then curled the ball past goalkeeper Jack Bonham.
Rovers' reply was out of the blue on 72 minutes, with Jonson Clarke-Harris shrugging off numerous strong challenges with a thumping angled strike into the top corner from 20 yards which gave Macey no chance. Tony Craig scored an unfortunate own goal just three minutes later, heading in off the crossbar as Lameiras' corner from the right bounced up at the far post to make it 2-1 to the home side. Then in added time substitute Gavin Reilly scored a stoppage-time leveller as his headed flick on James Clarke's curling cross took the ball out of the reach of keeper Macey.
That FA Cup victory came in the aftermath of Graham Coughlin’s departure and prior to Ben Garner’s appointment. Antoni Sarcevic went close early in the game and Gary Sawyer had a goal-bound effort deflected over. The former Gas loanee Dom Telford was denied by Anssi Jaakkola before the break.
Jaakkola acrobatically clawed a header from Grant onto the post and then kept a deflected Cooper effort out seconds later, with Telford wastefully sending his shot on the rebound over before Rodman won it for Rovers on 68 minutes.
Alex Rodman met a deflected clearance to head home the winner. It was a fortuitous goal as an attempted clearance from Plymouth defender Scott Wootton looped up off Rovers' Cameron Hargreaves before falling invitingly for Rodman to nod home at the far post.