Bristol Rovers 1 Argyle 1
Rovers replay it is
Argyle played out a 1-1 draw against Westcountry rivals Bristol Rovers on Sunday in a match in the end they would’ve felt unlucky not to win against a team 23 places above them in the football pyramid.
The Greens produced an excellent performance in the first half, mirroring recent games where they have been excellent in possession, showing the kind of ball retention, that we have been told to expect from a Ryan Lowe side.
The Gas, in truth struggled to venture out of their half in the first 45`as in possession of the ball, Argyle were precise and looked to be brimming with confidence after three consecutive wins in the league and cup.
However, despite having much of the ball, the away side struggled to create any real clear cut chances as a Rovers side built on resolute defence stood firm.
Danny Mayor having the best attempt of the half from a green perspective, forcing Rovers’ keeper Anssi Jaakola into a smart, but routine save.
Starlet Jonson Clarke-Harris going closest for the hosts, with his strike from 20 yards whistling past Alex Palmer’s right hand post.
Rovers started strongly in the second half, but the struggled to cause their opponents any real trouble.
The game really opened up 15 minutes from time though. as the ball was cut back to former Exeter City player Liam Sercombe who, struck low beyond Alex Palmer to put the hosts in the lead and odds on to reach the third round.
This prompted Argyle manager Ryan Lowe, to take off defensive midfielder Josh Grant (who had another excellent performance in his adopted role, and was my man of the match.)
Antoni Sarcevic was moved to a deeper role and on came George Cooper as Argyle looked to get back into match.
The change had the desired effect, as The Pilgrims suddenly found themselves on the front foot.
They created an opportunity to get back in the game, when Danny Mayor on a typical mazy run into the box was fouled by opposing midfielder Abu Ogogo to earn Argyle a chance to get back in the game in the 84th minute.
Sarcevic’s resulting spot kick snuck in off the post and Argyle were deservedly level.
What followed was a frantic 10 minutes where both sides were searching for a decisive winner. Rovers could’ve so easily snatched a winner in the final minute of normal time after hitting the underside of the crossbar.
Argyle would have the final and best chance to go through to the third round though.
In the sixth minute of stoppage time Byron Moore latched on to a through ball by fellow striker Dom Telford to go through on goal for the visitors, he was adjudged to have been tripped by Centre Back Rollin Menayese, who was sent off.
Replay’s suggest that it was a loss of footing by Moore, rather than a trip by Menayese which the referee gave a second penalty to Argyle for.
Perhaps justice done then, when Sarcevic’s tame spot kick was saved by Jaakola to take the tie to a replay.
I’m sure both sides will eagerly anticipate tonight’s draw with the potential of a moneyspinning tie, perhaps against a premier league side for the winner of the replay.
Surely, Argyle will go into the replay knowing they have a good chance of getting through as they more than matched a side in the league above them away from home, especially with the Green Army behind them.
Perfomance Rating 8.5/10
Man of the match: Josh Grant