Plymouth Argyle win at home again with Bradley Wright-Phillips brace
STRIKER Bradley Wright-Phillips was Argyle's hero again as they beat Bristol Rovers in an action-packed League One encounter last night.
Wright-Phillips scored two late goals as the Pilgrims' secured their second successive win at Home Park.
The hot-shot has now netted 10 times in as many League One games this season.
Wright-Phillips had hit the post twice in the first half as the two West Country rivals created chance after chance.
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But it was not until the 64th minute that the deadlock was broken.
That was when Argyle's on-loan Tottenham Hotspur midfielder Dean Parrett volleyed home.
Rovers equalised soon afterwards as striker Will Hoskins struck from close range.
But Wright-Phillips restored Argyle's lead in the 77th minute when he converted a cross from winger Craig Noone.
The same pair then combined when Wright-Phillips made it 3-1 in the 90th minute.
Argyle went into the game without the suspended Kari Arnason and Bondz N'Gala.
They were sent-off in the first half of the 4-2 defeat away to Oldham Athletic on Saturday.
Captain Carl Fletcher was ruled out for the third successive match by a badly bruised leg.
And stand-in skipper Reda Johnson was also sidelined by an ankle injury which he suffered against Oldham.
Manager Peter Reid handed the captain's armband to Noone, who has been Argyle's best player this season.
With Johnson and N'Gala absent, the Pilgrims' new-look centre-back pairing was Curtis Nelson and Marcel Seip.
Nelson, 17, had put in an impressive performance in defence as a half-time substitute against Oldham and was rewarded with his first start for the club.
But Seip did not even travel with the Argyle squad to Boundary Park.
Dean Parrett took over in the centre of midfield from Arnason, playing alongside Conor Clifford.
The combined age of the two loan signings was only 37.
In all, six of the starting line-up were aged 22 or under, with another three on the substitutes' bench.
It did not take Argyle's new captain long to have the first chance of the contest.
Less than 30 seconds had been played when Noone fired into the side netting after a cross from Wright-Phillips.
Argyle had an even better opportunity in the 10th minute after a fine move.
Wright-Phillips threaded a perfect pass out to overlapping right-back Karl Duguid, who hit his cross in stride.
It found Wright-Phillips, who stabbed the ball against the base of the left post.
Noone made a lively start to the match, and went close to scoring again in the 13th minute.
He cut inside from the right wing and unleashed a fierce 25-yard shot which was parried away by Rovers' goalkeeper Mikkel Andersen.
Nelson was the first player to be booked, for a sliding tackle on Rovers' midfielder Chris Lines in the 18th minute.
A free-kick was awarded 20 yards out, which was taken by Hoskins.
His strike deflected off Noone and looped up into the air, and Argyle 'keeper David Button tried to catch it under his own crossbar.
But Button was shoved by Rovers' centre-back Danny Coles and the ball bounced into the net.
Rovers' celebrations were cut short, however, as referee Rob Shoebridge awarded a free-kick.
The visiting players protested, but it was the correct decision as Button was clearly impeded.
Wright-Phillips hit the post for the second time moments later when he darted behind the Rovers' defence and lobbed the ball over the onrushing Andersen.
Duguid followed up, but made a complete mess of trying to put the rebound into the net from next to the left post.
Much to his relief, though, he was flagged offside so the miss did not matter.
It was all-action stuff, and Rovers had the next chance when midfielder Jeff Hughes broke into the box in the 25th minute.
His low shot was destined for the bottom corner of the net, until the diving Button pushed it wide for a corner.
Hoskins then went close to scoring for Rovers in the 32nd minute when he curled the ball narrowly wide from 20 yards, after cutting inside Nelson.
Andersen had to be alert in the 36th minute to punch away a viciously hit inswinging corner from Clifford, the on-loan Chelsea midfielder.
The Rovers' keeper also had to make a diving save to keep out a 25-yard drive from Clifford shortly before half-time.
Argyle ended the first period with only 10 players as Noone was led away to the dressing room with a cut to the top of his head.
Rovers almost took the lead in the 45th minute when a curling shot from midfielder Charlie Reece beat Button but hit the underside of the bar.
It continued to be end-to-end at the start of the second half, with Wright-Phillips having a shot saved by an outstretched leg of Andersen.
That came after Hoskins had broken into Argyle's penalty area but was tackled by a combination of Nelson and left-back Onismor Bhasera.
Noone, playing with a bandage around his head, continued to be a threat for the Pilgrims.
But so too was Rovers' striker Jo Kuffour, who had a long-distance shot saved by Button after flicking the ball over an opponent.
Rovers had another chance soon afterwards, after Kuffour found space on the left.
His low cross reached Lines, who stabbed the ball wide of the near post from only six yards out.
Argyle made their first substitution in the 61st minute with winger Yannick Bolasie replaced by Joe Mason.
The Pilgrims were awarded a free-kick on the edge of the penalty area three minutes later, after Seip was fouled by Coles.
Noone took it, and the ball hit Rovers' defensive wall and rebounded to Parrett.
The on-loan Tottenham midfielder struck it on the volley and sent an unstoppable shot past Andersen to put Argyle ahead.
Rovers almost equalised immediately as Button made a fine low save to deny Kuffour.
But, from the second of two successive corners, Campbell picked out the unmarked Hoskins and he scored with a mis-hit scissor kick.
Argyle's next substitution came in the 76th minute with Chris Clark sent on for Parrett.
The Pilgrims regained the lead moments later when Wright-Phillips netted his ninth goal in 10 League One games this season.
Former Argyle left-back Gary Sawyer failed to cut out a cross from Noone and the ball reached Wright-Phillips.
He controlled it first time and fired left-footed past Andersen from eight yards out to put the home side 2-1 up.
Noone almost added a third soon afterwards but his volley was saved by Andersen.
Rovers went close to equalising on a couple of occasions, with Coles desperately close to heading home from a corner.
But Argyle wrapped up the win when Wright-Phillips finished off a cross from Noone in the 90th minute.
The impressive Clifford was substituted in stoppage time, and received a well-deserved ovation from the Green Army.
The final whistle followed soon afterwards, and Argyle were warmly applauded off the pitch after an excellent, entertaining performance.