VIDEO: Reuben Reid scores late winning goal for Plymouth Argyle
PLYMOUTH ARGYLE 1 BRISTOL ROVERS 0
STRIKER Reuben Reid scored an 81st minute winning goal as Argyle beat West Country rivals Bristol Rovers at Home Park on Saturday.
It was a scrappy League Two game with chances for both teams few and far between.
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However, it was settled in the Pilgrims' favour in the closing stages when a cross from captain Conor Hourihane was powerfully headed home by Reid.
It was Reid's third goal of the season and the first that was not a penalty.
There were home debuts for Argyle's two newest signings, on-loan Wolves left-back Jamie Reckord and midfielder Hamza Bencherif.
Both had played for the Pilgrims for the first time in the Johnstone's Paint Trophy first round tie at Cheltenham Town on Tuesday.
Bencherif scored one of Argyle's goals in that game and continued his partnership in the centre of midfield with Hourihane.
The Pilgrims were boosted by the return to action of right-back Durrell Berry, who had sat out against Cheltenham because of a sore knee.
In total, there were four changes from the JPT tie, with Berry, Luke McCormick, Neal Trotman and Marvin Morgan all recalled.
Curtis Nelson was suspended while Jake Cole, Maxime Blanchard and Andre Blackman were all on the substitutes' bench.
Rovers had lost 2-1 away to arch rivals Bristol City in a televised JPT clash on Wednesday.
Their starting line-up showed one change from that game, with Ryan Brunt taking over from Matt Harrold in attack with David Clarkson.
Hourihane was booked in the second minute for a late, lunging tackle on Rovers midfielder Tom Lockyer.
The Argyle captain dived in after a careless pass from Bencherif and referee Andy Davies had no option but to brandish a yellow card.
Branston was fortunate to escape an early booking after a tackle from behind on Rovers striker Ryan Brunt.
Argyle did not assert themselves at the start of the match and the play became very scrappy.
Rovers had the better of the early possession but could not come up with any scoring chances.
There was near silence inside Home Park, apart from some songs from the away fans.
Bencherif tried to get on the end of a free-kick from Hourihane but Rovers 'keeper Steve Mildenhall made a confident catch of the ball.
The visitors had a good spell after the half-hour mark as they won a series of corners and forced Argyle to defend desperately at times inside their own penalty area.
However, Rovers could not turn that pressure into any chances, let alone goals, and it remained 0-0 until the break.
There was not a shot on target from either team and the game lacked any fluency.
McCormick was the first 'keeper to be called into action in the 48th minute when he saved a 20-yard shot from Clarkson.
Argyle had a promising attack soon afterwards as Reid raced clear on the left.
He drilled the ball low across the face of the goal and Lewis Alessandra could not make contact with it as he slid in at the far post.
Argyle had appeals for a penalty waved away by Davies when Bencherif fell over under a challenge from Rovers centre-back Mark McChrystal.
There was more urgency about the Pilgrims but they were repeatedly let down by their inaccurate passing.
Midfielder Rommy Boco had a shot deflected wide for a corner by Rovers centre-back Tom Parkes in the 64th minute.
From the set piece, Trotman's header hit a post and striker Marvin Morgan then put the rebound over the bar.
Luke Young was a 65th minute substitute for Bencherif before Alessandra sent a low shot wide from 18 yards.
Rovers had appeals for a penalty when a powerful shot from midfielder Oliver Norburn hit the arm of Branston, but the referee took no action.
The deadlock was finally broken in the 81st minute and it was Argyle who took the lead.
Hourihane touched a free-kick to Alessandra before whipping the ball into the centre of the penalty area and Reid powered home a header.
It proved to be decisive to the outcome of the contest as Argyle secured a second consecutive 1-0 win at Home Park after beating Rochdale by the same scoreline a fortnight earlier.
ARGYLE: Luke McCormick; Durrell Berry, Neal Trotman, Guy Branston, Jamie Reckord; Lewis Alessandra, Hamza Bencherif (Luke Young 65 mins), Conor Hourihane, Rommy Boco; Reuben Reid, Marvin Morgan.
Substitutes (not used): Jake Cole (gk), Andre Blackman, Maxime Blanchard, Dominic Blizzard, Tyler Harvey, Andres Gurrieri.
BRISTOL ROVERS: Steve Mildenhall; Michael Smith, Tom Parkes, Mark McChrystal, Lee Brown; Tom Lockyer (Shaquille Hunter 86 mins), John-Joe O'Toole, Oliver Norburn, Ellis Harrison (Matt Harrold 82 mins); David Clarkson (Alefe Santos 69 mins), Ryan Brunt.
Substitutes (not used): Garry Kenneth, Matt Gill, Conor Gough (gk), Josh Southway.
REFEREE: Andy Davies (Hampshire)
ATTENDANCE: 8,631 (1,273 away)
GOALS – Argyle: Reid 81 mins