Half-time: Bristol Rovers 2 Plymouth Argyle 0
First-half goals from Joe Anyinsah and Matt Lund have put Bristol Rovers on course to win for the first time since November 6.
Anyinsah pounced to fire high into the net from close-range after Plymouth goalkeeper Rene Gilmartin failed to get sufficient purchase on an effort to clear a Fabian Broghammer corner from under his crossbar in the 19th minute.
Six minutes later Rovers profited from a set-piece situation again to double their advantage in a game that sees new manager John Ward take charge of the side in front of home supporters for the first time.
Lund was the beneficiary of another corner delivered perfectly delivered by Broghammer into the danger area, which allowed the on-loan Stoke City midfielder to execute an accurate and powerful volley past a helpless Gilmartin.
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There were few other chances of note throughout a scrappy opening period, however. Broghammer did have an early opportunity that was slashed wide following neat interplay with debutant midfieder John-Joe O'Toole. The on-loan Colchester United midfielder then tried his luck from distance towards the end of the opening period only to see his effort go wide.
O'Toole showed flashes of good play as one of three debutants in a side showing six changes from the one that drew 2-2 with Aldershot on Boxing Day. Steve Mildenhall replaced Sam Walker in goal after completing a loan move from Millwall and was relatively untroubled and without a shot to save on what has been an uneventful debut so far.
Young striker Tom Hitchcock also started for the first time after completing a loan deal to join from QPR – but was offered a difficult job when asked to lead the line on his own up front. He took time to warm to the task, but has shown some intelligent thinking in his play, even if some of his intended attempts to execute a defence-splitting pass were sometimes over-hit or misguided.
Elsewhere, Lee Brown was drafted in to replace the injured Jim Paterson, while Tom Parkes dropped back from midfield to replace suspended skipper Garry Kenneth at the heart of the defence and was also made captain for the day. O'Toole came straight into a midfield three alongside Lund and Oliver Norburn – Seanan Clucas dropped to the bench, while David Clarkson missed out through injury.
Bristol Rovers (4-5-1): Mildenhall; Smith, Bolger, Parkes, Brown; Anyinsah, Lund, Norburn, O'Toole, Broghammer; Hitchcock. Subs: Gough, Richards, Harrison, Harding, Clucas, Lockyer, Santos.
Plymouth (4-4-2): Gilmartin; Berry, Blanchard, Nelson, Williams; Cowan-Hall, Hourihane, Young, Bhasera; Chadwick, Feeney. Subs: Cole, Griffiths, Wotton, Lowry, Lennox, Lecointe, Molesley.