Match report: Plymouth Argyle 0 Doncaster Rovers 3

Goals from Andy Butler, John Marquis and Alfie May saw Rovers end their six match search for a league win with a comfortable triumph at Plymouth.

By The Newsroom
Saturday, 23rd September 2017, 3:46 pm
Updated Saturday, 23rd September 2017, 5:00 pm
Plymouth Argyle v Doncaster Rovers
Plymouth Argyle v Doncaster Rovers

Taking the lead in the first half, Rovers turned the screw in the second with an accomplished performance that saw them deliver a much-needed win.

And hosts Plymouth finished with ten men after Sonny Bradley was sent off for lashing out at Andy Butler.

Darren Ferguson made one change from the side which faced Arsenal in midweek with John Marquis unsurprisingly recalled to the starting XI. Rodney Kongolo dropped to the bench despite his excellent performance at the Emirates.

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Rovers started the game with a 4-4-2 diamond which was close to being matched by a Plymouth side who set out with a 4-3-3.

Ferguson had predicted Plymouth would be happy for Rovers to have the majority of the ball and that is just how the game began.

Rovers dominated the early possession, producing some incisive and patient play which saw them build up the pitch well.

Plymouth, despite their defensive agenda, initially looked nervy at the back which helped Rovers maintain pressure.

It was the positive start Rovers had so sorely lacked in more recent games and allowed them to show they had not lost the ability for fluid attacking play which has been absent over the last month.

James Coppinger fired a free kick narrowly over the bar from 25 yards in the closest early chance.

But the pressure did tell on 19 minutes when Rovers took the lead.

A Coppinger corner was headed back across goal by Butler where Alfie May volleyed onto the bar only for the ball to drop where Butler shrugged off defenders to head home.

After the goal it was Plymouth who began to enjoy more of the ball, brought out of their shells with a game to chase.

Rovers, who have been at their best on the counterattack this season, were happy to allow the hosts to have more possession. Whenever on the ball, Rovers showed good patience, happy to take the sting out of play by passing the ball around at the back.

Solid defending ensured Plymouth enjoyed few sights of goal during the remainder of the half.

Their solitary moment of real threat saw Antoni Sarcevic deliver a speculative chip from the corner of the box which cleared Ian Lawlor only to drop onto the bar.

The second half started in rather tame fashion with both sides seemingly feeling each other out for their intentions.

Ferguson sent on Rodney Kongolo and Harry Toffolo in a double switch and moments later Rovers doubled their lead from another corner.

Joe Wright headed Coppinger's corner kick on goal, Argyle keeper McCormick parried and palmed away from May's follow-up only for Marquis to smash in from close range.

May looked to have got off the mark soon after when he slammed home after McCormick palmed away a Tommy Rowe shot but it was ruled offside.

And the diminutive forward curled narrowly wide from just inside the area.

But May finally got the goal his performance deserved and helped Rovers put the game to bed 17 minutes from time.

Kongolo delivered a superb low ball into the box, May slid in and poked past McCormick.

There was no way back for Plymouth two minutes later when they saw centre half Bradley dismissed.

Tussling with Andy Butler, he swung an arm at Rovers' club captain and referee Nick Kinseley immediately flashed a red, seeing Bradley become the fourth Plymouth player in as many home league games to be sent off.

Comfortable, Rovers saw the game out, content on keeping possession and leave the host chasing shadows.

Plymouth: McCormick, Miller (Ainsworth 67), Edwards, Bradley, Sawyer, Sarcevic, Songo'o (Fox 46), Ness (Wylde 67), Lameiras, Ciftci, Fletcher. Subs not used: Letheren, Blissett, Grant, Sokolik.

Rovers: Lawlor, Blair (Toffolo 54), Wright, Butler, Mason, Houghton, Whiteman (Kongolo 55), Rowe, Coppinger (Mandeville 80), Marquis, May. Subs not used: Marosi, Alcock, Garratt, Williams, Mandeville.

Referee: Nicholas Kinseley (Essex)

Attendance: 8,510 (341 away)