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Doncaster match report
10 December 2016 17:49 Post ID: #71960
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Argyle beat League leaders Doncaster Rovers 2-0 and climb back to the top of League Two - natural order is restored!

Goals from Graham Carey and Jake Jervis got the Greens back on track after three successive league defeats.

Argyle manager Derek Adams tactically outwitted his counterpart Darren Ferguson and introduced a new 4-3-3 formation which Doncaster really struggled to break down, we played like an away team and were direct and looked for the counter attack.
We always struggle against teams like Newport and Barnet who sit deep and stop us playing but Doncaster actually helped us by attacking us, we allowed them possession (58% of it), denied them space and waited to counter attack and it worked a treat.

At times it was more like a 4-5-1 formation because Carey on the right and Jervis on the left dropped back to help out the midfield.
Doncaster couldn't find a way through and became frustrated as the game wore on, a missed penalty for them, followed by a red card, meant that we were the first team this season to stop Doncaster from scoring in the league and in doing so we earn't our first clean sheet since the end of September.

For Adams' plan to work the players had to close down space and the work rate was phenomenal.

It would be hard to pick a Man of the Match because every player gave everything but I thought Sonny Bradley was the leader at the back and kept Doncaster out, Oscar Threlkeld had another good game, he's now our third excellent left-back of the season.

The tone was set just before the start of the game when Carey led the players towards the fans and applauded us, we responded in kind. It was also Carey who had a storming run in the first minute that nearly led to a goal.

The game then settled into a pattern with Doncaster having plenty of the ball but were coming up against a Green wall - the midfield three of David Fox, Ryan Donaldson and especially Connor Smith - had a brilliant first half.
Doncaster did manage to supply some crosses into the box and there were a few scrambles nut generally we were never in any danger of Donny creating clear cut chances.

We had to be patient and wait for an opening and sure enough Carey closed down a poor pass, beat a defender and curled a 25 yard shot into the far corner. 1-0 to the fired up Greens.

Still we were happy to conceded possession and with Jordan Slew up front there was always the opportunity to catch Doncaster on the break.

The second half continued in the same way, Doncaster just didn't have the creativity to break us down, if only we could find the right ball forward we would score the killer second goal.

The second goal did finally arrive when after good work by Smith and Jervis Donaldson ran at the Donny defence and was brought down.
Jervis stepped up and thumped the ball high, it hit the cross bar and bounced down and luckily crossed the line before then finally bulging the net. 2-0 and "we are top of the league" which funnily enough is what the Donny fans were signing an hour earlier!

Doncaster took off a defender and brought on a striker but still couldn't find a way through.
They did get a lucky rebound in the 88th minute which resulted in Fox giving away an unlucky penalty.
Mandeville took the spot kick but hit the post, the first time Doncaster have failed to score this season.
There were some words after the penalty between Luke McCormick and some Donny players and Coppinger was shown the red card for violent conduct against McCormick.

Game over: 2-0!

Adams does have a plan B instead of his usual 4-2-3-1 line-up and it was perfectly executed by the players, the key was the work rate of the midfield three, Smith, Fox and Donaldson were excellent, they closed down and stopped Doncaster from playing.

If Donny did get through the midfield Bradley and co. were waiting and closed down any danger.
McCormick's punching still leaves a lot to be desired but his handling was superb.

Slew had a thankless task up front, although his pace and movement caused Doncaster some problems, he brings a different dimension to the team while Spencer is missing.

The players were really up for this game, you could see the confidence oozing back as the game wore on, they were backed by the fans throughout the game.

Doncaster are a very good footballing team but they do leave themselves open at the back.

It was a cracking game of football, very tactical and cagey.

Well done Adams!

Man of the Match: Bradley.

McCormick 7, Miller 7, Songo'o 7, Bradley 8, Threlkeld 8, Smith 7, Fox 7, Donaldson 7, Carey 7, Jervis 7, Slew 7.
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