Plymouth Argyle 2 Doncaster Rovers 3: Power to go again delivers a fourth consecutive win – analysis

John Marquis scored twice in Doncaster Rovers' win at Plymouth Argyle
John Marquis scored twice in Doncaster Rovers' win at Plymouth Argyle

Grant McCann says he wants Doncaster Rovers to be top of League One by this time next week.

Well, on this sort of form, you would not back against them.

A fourth consecutive triumph was delivered with a spectacular second half performance that washed away a sluggish opening period and swept aside a Plymouth Argyle outfit who looked a much better prospect than their winless status would suggest.

Plenty of questions had been asked of Rovers in the opening period.

They took an 18th minute lead when James Coppinger caught the Plymouth defence napping and found John Marquis, who controlled and slammed in at the near post from the angle.

But the Pilgrims were much the better side for the remainder of the first half, flooding forward in number, and grabbed a deserved equaliser five minutes from the break when Ruben Lameiras curled in a beauty from the edge of the area after Marko Marosi had twice denied Plymouth an opener with a quickfire double stop.

While they struggled with the answers in the first half, Rovers responded emphatically in the second.

Controlling play from the start, they went ahead 12 minutes in when Mallik Wilks found Matty Blair from the byline and the midfielder drilled in his third goal in fourth games.

Rovers were in complete control, leaving Plymouth chasing shadows, growing all the more frustrated with the game slipping away from them.

The side most likely to score always looked like being Rovers but they left it until the final minute to do so when Herbie Kane played through to Marquis, who drew out keeper Matt Macey and clipped a shot into the far corner from a tight angle.

There was time for drama when Plymouth’s star man Graham Carey – relatively anonymous throughout – smashed in a stunning goal off the crossbar from 25 yards five minutes into seven added on.

But all it did was to narrow a scoreline which should really have been all the more comfortable for Rovers.

POWER TO GO AGAIN

Grant McCann confessed he was not happy at half time – and he had every right to feel that way.

Rovers were sloppy, sluggish and vulnerable for much of the opening period and the tide seemed to be firmly with the hosts.

But yet again McCann and his men demonstrated they have the ability to ride through a tough period, reset themselves and drastically improve.

The second half was chalk and cheese from the first.

They showed some stunningly patient, composed and incisive play to take control of the ball, keep it and frustrate Plymouth.

Rovers pushed forward with accurate play, finding the gaps and exposing them with real ruthlessness.

It was a superb response and showed Rovers really cannot be counted out.

THE FINEST HERB’

So much has been said in such a short space of time about the quality of Herbie Kane.

But anyone who witnessed his brilliant performance at Home Park on Saturday will not hesitate to wax lyrical about the Liverpool loanee.

Kane was the major driving force behind Rovers’ superb second half performance.

Deputising in the deeper midfield role for the suspended Ben Whiteman, the 19-year-old dictated play with the composure and maturity of a player ten years his senior.

He shielded the back four, broke play up, eased any pressure with smart touches and turns and sprayed the ball around with sheer delight.

What a player Rovers have on their hands.

And this was just his tenth game in senior football. Let that sink in.

THE MARQ OF QUALITY

For all Kane’s brilliance, the day really belonged to John Marquis.

On his 100th league appearance for Rovers, he bagged another two goals to take his tally to nine for the season already and 50 overall for Rovers.

His hot streak is down to his ever increasing maturity into one of the – if not the – finest forwards in the division.

But it also down to his rapid adaptation into Grant McCann’s system and the demands it places upon him.

Though there is a greater emphasis on sticking close to the opposition defence, Marquis has managed to make the role work for himself and his strengths.

It allows for his tireless running and workrate to continue to shine through.

And as important as his prowess in front of goal is for the side, his unselfish runs to create space and opportunities for his team mates is vital.

If his streak continues, Rovers are in January going to be fending off much more interest in Marquis than they had to in the summer.

But also if he continues this run, Rovers will be in a superb position come the New Year.