Full Time: Robins 1, Pilgrims 3A day to forget as Cheltenham lost 3-1 at home to Plymouth Argyle in Sky Bet League 2.
Three goals in the first half from Marvin Morgan, Conor Hourihane and Romuald Boco stunned the Robins before they replied to offer some hope through Matt Richards's freekick.
A comeback wasn't to be however and the Robins remain without a league win so far this season. Early days but still a disappointing day for Mark Yates' Cheltenham.
Mark Yates set about the search for a first league win of the season by naming a Cheltenham side including returning striker Steven Gillespie who joined the club on an initial one month loan from Fleetwood Town. The striker left the club back in 2008 and he was named in the starting XI to make his 96th appearance for the Robins here this afternoon. The rest of the team was unchanged following last weekend's defeat away at Chesterfield with Jamie Cureton (dislocated shoulder) and Terry Gornell (groin) both watching from the stand. Plymouth were also in need of a first win in this new campaign and they recalled Guy Branston into their defence following an injury in an effort to tighten up a leaking back four.
The records show that both teams are even in terms of league results with both sides winning 5 games over the years and 2 draws when they couldn't be separated but it was Cheltenham who started the more bright and Curtis Nelson could consider himself a lucky boy after a dangerous challenge on McGlashan right by the dugouts brought about just a warning. Another foul on the far side handed Cheltenham the opportunity to swing a freekick into the box but McCormick punched clear before McGlashan lashed a shot over the bar from 18 yards. Cheltenham almost found themselves ahead in the early stages when a corner led to Byron Harrison heading at goal but the ball was cleared off the line to deny the Robins an immediate foothold in this game. Just a few minutes later and Plymouth had their first shot on goal recorded by Romuald Boco's fiery striker could only find the roof of the Hazlewoods Stand.
There would have been a few bets being placed ahead of today's game that Steven Gillespie would bag a goal on his second debut for the club and the striker almost did just that when Harrison picked up on Jombati's pass before firing a cross into the area but Gillespie's shot was straight into the body of McCormick. Another long range effort, this time from Sam Deering, proved comfortable pickings for the Plymouth keeper but it was the Pilgrims that drew first blood on 17 minutes. Boco's cross found the head of Reid and his header slammed against the crossbar before Marvin Morgan picked off the rebound to make it 1-0. Against the run of play but the travelling Devon support cared not one bit.
A blow for Cheltenham who had actually started this game very well and they failed to hit the net on their first chance since conceding with Steve Elliott heading Sam Deering's corner over the bar. Cheltenham showed brief promise of getting back into the game quickly with a Penn shot narrowly wide and some Gillespie magic finished with a tame shot but Plymouth doubled their lead on 27 minutes through Conor Hourihane. The midfielder scored here last season and he did so again with a 22 yard drive into the bottom corner of Brown's goal. A bitter blow for the Robins who were performing well but finding themselves with an increasingly tall mountain to climb.
Guy Branston was yellow carded ten minutes from the break for a foul on Harrison but it wasn't too long after that incident that Plymouth scored another. 38 minutes and Reuben Reid played a sublime through ball into the path of Boco who made no mistake in slamming the ball past Brown to make it 3-0. A sense of deflation was felt around the home crowd with the travelling fans in full voice and rightly so with Cheltenham starting to flounder.
Steven Gillespie's curled effort on 44 minutes was about as close as Cheltenham came to at least grabbing a goal back in the first half of this match but Mark Yates will have welcomed the half time whistle and the opportunity to reassess.
Half Time: Cheltenham Town 0-3 Plymouth Argyle
Robins chief Mark Yates had his say in the dressing room and Cheltenham almost responded to their manager's demands straight away with Jombati's deep cross finding the head of Harrison before McGlashan smashed a shot well over the bar when he really could have done better. It would have been the perfect response from Cheltenham but the signs were at least positive. A yellow card for Braham-Barrett was issued on 49 minutes for a foul on Alessandra and that was quickly followed by another yellow, this time shown to Dominic Blizzard for shirt pulling.
Mark Yates opted for a change four minutes before the hour mark with newly professional Zack Kotwica replacing Sam Deering on the left wing. The team certainly needed Kotwica's raw talent to pay off but the youngster gave the ball away to Hourihane in a central position and the Pilgrims midfielder was narrowly wide with his effort. There wasn't too much hope for the Robins and Plymouth were quite obviously growing in confidence with every pass they made and the ironic jeers were clear to hear from the away stand. Ashley Vincent replaced Steven Gillespie on 66 minutes before Zack Kotwica fired wide. Cheltenham needed something to happen and it did, on 72 minutes, courtesy of Matt Richards. A freekick, given away by Marvin Morgan, was driven in low by Matt Richards and his curling set piece had the goalkeeper standing still in disbelief as it crept inside the far post. Some light at the end of the tunnel for Cheltenham but still a steep slope to climb.
Youth team striker Bobbie Dale was introduced on 82 minutes to make his professional debut in the Football League. The 17 year-old replaced Byron Harrison but Cheltenham weren't offering enough going forward to try and force a miraculous comeback. Efforts from Blizzard and Boco offered the Plymouth fans more reassurance that they weren't about to let their lead slip in the dying embers of this game and despite a five minute injury time signalled by the referee, you couldn't see Cheltenham's miracle happening.
And so the full time whistle was blown to end a miserable day for the Robins, briefly lifted by Matt Richards' freekick, and the Robins still search for their first league win of the season. A response would be needed and asked for next weekend away at Accrington Stanley.
Full Time: Cheltenham Town 1-3 Plymouth Argyle
Cheltenham Town FC (4-4-2): S. Brown (GK); Jombati, Elliott, T. Brown, Braham-Barrett; Deering (Kotwica 56), Penn (C), Richards, McGlashan; Harrison (Dale 82), Gillespie (Vincent 66)
Subs not used: Roberts (GK), Inniss, Lowe, Taylor
Plymouth Argyle FC (4-4-2): McCormick (GK); Nelson, Branston, Trotman, Berry; Alessandra (Gurrieri 90+2), Hourihane, Blizzard (Young 90+4), Boco; Morgan, Reid (Harvey 68)
Subs not used: Hannah (GK), Young, Richards, Purrington
Referee: Mr. Charles Breakspear
Attendance: 3,460 (892 from Plymouth)