Argyle Move Out Of The Relegation Zone
07/11/09 @ 1500
Plymouth Argyle beat relegation rivals, Doncaster Rovers, 2-1 at a rain soaked Home Park, thanks to goals from Alan Judge and Rory Fallon.
The win wasn't pretty, but it was three points against a very good footballing side. Argyle's direct style was better suited to the conditions, than Doncaster's passing game. Doncaster's captain being sent off, early in the second half, also helped the Pilgrim's cause.
Argyle lined up in a 4-3-1-2 formation, with Fallon replacing the suspended Fletcher. Fallon played on the left, with Gow in the 'hole', in a formation that often looked disjointed.
Doncaster looked the better side in the opening exchanges and passed the ball through Argyle's midfield three quite often. But for all their pretty football, they struggled to create meaningful chances and were guilty of overplaying. Argyle's counter were long balls for Mackie to chase, which was ineffective for the most part. Doncaster had early chances with an Oster effort, Woods free kick and a Billy Sharp effort which Larrieu saved.
Argyle started to come into the game from 20 minutes with Gow and Judge missing chances. On 25 minutes, Gow produced a great cross from the left, and Judge finished with a great half volley from 8 yards- the Mariner magic was working again!
Unfortunately Mariner's 'spell' didn't last long. Gray fouled a Doncaster player on the right hand side of the box, and was booked in the process. Woods played the freekick into the box, which Duguid weakly headed across goal. Shiels had his first effort blocked by Fallon, and then easily beat Larrieu at his near post with a second low drive. Donny had equalised in under 3 minutes!
The game continued with Doncaster passing a lot, but not getting anywhere and Fallon struggling in his left wing position. Judge was set up by Gow, but his left footed shot was well blocked by Doncaster's Hird.
Martin Woods was booked shortly before half time. He'd spent much of the half on the sidelines for a blood injury so Doncaster were often down to ten players. He was wearing a shirt with no number when he got booked.
The first incident of note in the second half, was a nasty tackle from behind by Doncaster's Woods. The ref booked the player, and was about to allow play to continue, but the Argyle players and fans protested that it was Woods' second booking and had to be shown the red. The ref, Paul Taylor, realised his error and produced the red card, although Woods protested quite strongly and had to be escorted from the pitch by a team mate.
Doncaster didn't look too badly effected by the loss of their captain and had chances through Hird and Coppinger. Mackie set up Duguid with a good chance, but the stand in skipper's shot, would have looked better on the rugby pitch than on the football field.
Argyle still struggled to gvet Fallon involved and thankfully the decision was made to revert to a 4-4-2 with Gow on the left and Fallon in his correct position. Argyle shortly substituted Noone for Gow, and the substitute started to make an impact.
Noone controlled the ball superbly on several occasions to put the Doncaster defence on the back foot. His dribbling started the move that led to Argyle's second- laying the ball back to Sawyer whose cross was headed down by Fallon, to Mackie, whose tame shot was deflected by Sullivan. Luckily the deflection fell to the feet of Fallon, who scored an easy goal from 6 yards.
Doncaster made a number of attacking changes and were often playing with just 2 defenders. They didn't create much until injury time when Oster's low cross shot was well saved by Larrieu.
After 4 minutes of injury time the ref blew and sent the Green Army home happy, but very wet!
A good win for Argyle, despite being outplayed for periods of the game. Doncaster's tactic of passing and moving was impressive, but they seemed to lack the final pass that would lead to a chance.
Folly worked tirelessly in midfield and broke up a number of moves- he was awarded man of the match by the sponsors and it was deserved.
Duguid, on the other hand, was extremely poor. He was weak in the tackle, lost the ball continually and as the bloke behind me said 'All he seems to do is clap the fans at the end'. Centre midfiled does not seem to be his position- maybe he'll perform better in the wide positions?
Judge and Mackie were their usual tireless selves and Noone made an impact when he came on. Gow showed good touches, and I felt was unfortunate to be substituted, but it was clear that the 4-3-1-2 tactic wasn't working, even against ten men.
Whether it was Sturrock or Mariner, or both of them, who decided that Argyle needed to change formation, it was a good decision, made at the right time.
Argyle move up to 21st on 15 points, level with Doncaster. Argyle can move up the table, if form continues, as there are 6 teams on 17 points.