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Focus On: Plymouth Argyle

10 December 2020

By Gerry Prewett.

There is a rich history of games, 104 in total, between the clubs. 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 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. 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 14thOctober 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, 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 79thminute 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.

In the 1918/19 encounter at the Mem Argyled head back down the M5 with a point from a 0-0 draw. The Gas crafted a handful of chances, with the closest opportunity coming via a sweetly timed volley on the hour mark from Sam Matthews that required an admirable diving save from Matt Macey. 

Matthews again tested Macey with a powerful drive from inside the area that forced a stop from the Plymouth 'keeper. At the other end, on his first start at the Mem, Jack Bonham produced an extraordinary save to prevent Carey from breaking the deadlock, with a reaction save from close-range keeping the scores level in the final stages, as the game ended with deadlock intact.

Last season the teams clashed in a 2ndRound FA Cup tie, Argyle were the better side in the first half, with Antoni Sarcevic and Gary Sawyer having early shots blocked as Danny Mayor forced a 22nd-minute save from Jaakkola. Rovers improved after sending on Tyler Smith to support Jonson Clarke-Harris for the second half.

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