Plymouth Argyle (Away) – Papa Johns’ Trophy

May 24, 2023 | 2023 A Season in Review

Home Park Tuesday 30th August 2022

*Plymouth Argyle 1

Hardie (pen, 58)

Bristol Rovers 1

Loft (50)

*Plymouth won 4-3 on penalties

Referee: Carl Brook Attendance: 2,298

Rovers went into this Papa John’s Trophy group match with a stronger side than expected, though to see defender Trevor Clarke starting did come as a little bit of a surprise.

After being given a new two year deal and featuring the opening game of the season he had been told by manager Joe Barton that he wouldn’t feature again and should find a new club. Presumably Clarke and Barton had kissed and made up, though the manager wasn’t around to give his side of the story. Illness prevented him travelling and so Andy Mangan was in charge for the evening.

Jerry Lawrence, who made his league debut at Burton, was handed his first senior start while veteran Glenn Whelan was selected as a central defender.

A pulsating first half it wasn’t, though there was lots of honest endeavour from both sides. The home side should have taken a first half lead, but a 28th minute header from skipper Joe Edwards came back into play off the crossbar and the same player was denied moments later by Anssi Jaakkola’s smart save.

Rovers finished the half strongly, though, and Luca Hoole blasted one shot wide of the upright and then saw another effort well saved by Callum Burton.

The second half, in comparison to the opening 45 minutes, proved to be a thoroughly entertaining contest with play switching from one end to the other with remarkable rapidity.

Rovers went ahead on 50 minutes when Lawrence played a ball over the top for Ryan Loft to chase. His strength carried him past Macauley Gillesphey and he fired a shot that went into the net through Burton’s legs.

Argyle were level within eight minutes when a wayward back pass by John Marquis was intercepted by Morgan Whittaker who was tripped by Clarke. The resulting penalty saw Ryan Hardie convert with ease.

And that was it as far as goals were concerned, though both sides created goalscoring opportunities. After substitute Aaron Collins was denied by Burton’s save, Whittaker, Finn Azaz and Jordan Houghton all went close for the home side, though Rovers might have snatched victory in the final minute when a Harvey Saunders shot was blocked by Gillesphey.

While young Harvey Greenslade was sent on from the bench for his senior debut with 12 minutes remaining, the standout Rovers performer, as far as this writer was concerned, was Whelan. His performance was a masterclass in how to read the game. Sure, at 38 years of age his legs may have gone, but his brain certainly hasn’t!

What an example he must be in the dressing room, and to the younger players especially; if only he were ten years younger, though if he was, he probably wouldn’t be playing for us!

The tie, as it ended in a draw, was settled by penalties. Collins, Luke McCormick and Ryan Jones scored for Rovers, while Antony Evans saw his effort sail past the upright and Greenslade’s effort was saved by Burton. Azaz, Gillesphey, Houghton and Niall Ennis scored for Argyle while Adam Randell skied his kick over the bar.

Plymouth Argyle: Burton, Gillesphey, Halls, Lonwijk, Edwards (Mumba, 46), Endacott, Houghton, Randell, Hardie (Ennis, 74), Whittaker (Issaka, 82), Jenkins-Davies (Azaz, 66).

Substitutes: Cooper, Butcher, Forkuo.

Bristol Rovers: Jaakkola, Hoole (Greenslade, 78), Gordon, Coutts (Evans, 62), Clarke (Jones, 71), Rossiter, Whelan, Lawrence (McCormick, 62), Marquis (Collins, 62), Loft, Saunders.

Substitutes: Belshaw, Kilgour.


There were no former Rovers players in the Plymouth side though Mark Hughes was on the touchline as a member of the Argyle management team

A Yellow card was issued to Harvey Saunders

Paul Coutts began the game as skipper and the armband passed to Glenn Whelan when he was substituted

First senior start for Jerry Lawrence

First senior appearance for Harvey Greenslade

First Rovers cup goal for Ryan Loft

Five substitutes used

Six added minutes

(Photos courtesy of JMP)

Keith Brookman