Darren Moore is the man with a plan - Analysis of Doncaster Rovers' win over Shrewsbury Town

It's all about the game and how you play it.

Wednesday, 8th January 2020, 11:45 am
Updated Thursday, 9th January 2020, 4:33 pm

For once this month, we are not talking about the transfer market.

Instead, it is all about matters on the field for Doncaster Rovers and their growing ability to deliver on a set game plan.

Tuesday night's victory over Shrewsbury Town was the latest example of this, following on from the big wins at Peterborough United and against Oxford United.

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Rovers look to break clear against Shrewsbury Town. Picture: Marie Caley

Drawing up a specific game plan for a specific opposition appears to be the latest evolution of Darren Moore's Rovers.

After their early attacking freedom was met with an attempt to stifle by opposition teams, Rovers were forced to find a way to play around teams seeking to stop them.

After mixed results in that, the next step has been addressing exactly how opposition teams will approach the game, handling that and finding success off the back of it.

And it has been so far, so good with Tuesday's win making it three from four matches and pushing Rovers within two points of the top six.

They masterfully quietened the attacking threat of Peterborough and ruthlessly struck. They soaked up pressure from Oxford and launched dangerously on the counter attack.

And on this occasion they moved the ball quickly to neuter the Shrewsbury press and got balls forward early to use pace up against the trio of towers that make up the back three for the Shropshire side.

Moore is a man with a plan or two and those plans look more and more solid with each passing week.

The cause was certainly helped with an early goal as Niall Ennis pounced on a fluffed clearing header which allowed him to nod into an empty net just four minutes in.

But Rovers could easily have allowed a robust and organised Shrewsbury side to force their way into the game - which they did not.

Shrewsbury looked to press with real aggression across the pitch and unsettle Rovers but failed to do so for any sustained period.

A big part of that was Rovers, in the main, not dawdling in possession and moving the ball quickly.

Jon Taylor pushed high up against the Shrewsbury back three alongside Ennis, looking to be sprung clear at every opportunity with balls slid through or lofted into the channels.

A rejuvenated Kieran Sadlier operated a little deeper, pushing into space in wide areas and looking to create opportunities, as he did with the opening goal.

It allowed Rovers to push numbers forward with Ben Sheaf in particularly advancing high into opposition territory.

Sheaf typified the excellent organisation Rovers demonstrated. Whenever Shrewsbury took possession, Rovers would drop into a flat 4-4-2, denying space and ensuring attacking options were quickly picked up.

The plan worked exceptionally well and kept Rovers fully in control against a side that had only lost three times on the road.

And it paved the way for them to become only the second side to score more than once against a visiting Shrewsbury when Tom Anderson powered in a header at the near post from a Taylor corner.

Rovers could, and perhaps should, have had more but in truth they did not need it.

This was another plan delivered perfectly. Whisper it - that top six looks pretty reachable right now.