The Big Takeaway: United behind the gaffer and with a fresh verve, Doncaster Rovers show steel to beat Plymouth Argyle

It could easily have been a week which derailed Doncaster Rovers’ hopes of achieving something remarkable this season.

Sunday, 7th March 2021, 12:00 pm

But that would have been severely underestimating the true power of the resolve, determination and collective will of the squad and their new manager alike.

Rovers responded to the abrupt departure of Darren Moore with a performance packed with fresh energy and drive to shoot down a promotion rival.

And they continued their response with another impressive showing, this time packed with doggedness and steel to ensure they held onto the lead they had established.

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Andy Butler talks to his players during the win over Plymouth Argyle. Picture: Andrew Roe/AHPIX

A group of players feeling sorry for themselves or concerned about the future would have folded in the face of such a fierce second half onslaught from Plymouth Argyle.

But Rovers demonstrated an iron will to throw themselves in front of everything Argyle had, as well as seeing lady luck smile on them on occasion.

This is a squad that has had a fresh spring in their step since the surprising events of Monday morning.

Worries about a derailing? Rovers have barely missed a step as they have got on with the task at hand and lifted themselves to a level of performance they had not shown over the previous month.

Omar Bogle celebrates his goal against Plymouth. Picture: Andrew Roe/AHPIX

And there is a tremendous buzz about the place that was clearly in place from the moment the new era began.

In Andy Butler, they have a leader everyone in the squad can get behind. He was always one of them, but he was also always an authoritative figure within the group.

What Butler has asked of them so far has been delivered on. The added zip in possession play and a noticeable upping of tempo is clear evidence of that.

And the atmosphere has lifted too. Casting an eye over the post-game session for substitutes and those not involved shows the players are enjoying themselves.

There was every reason for enjoyment for anyone watching on for Saturday’s game, even if the second half proved to be a lot more nervy than those of a Rovers persuasion would have preferred.

They had controlled much of the first half, even if their grip on the game was not nearly as tight as it was against Portsmouth.

They dealt with a frenetic midfield battle well and created opportunities with more excellent movement off the ball.

The cause was aided by the early goal and a rare header from a corner to give Tom Anderson his first goal of the season.

Barring an unfathomable miss from Plymouth skipper Joe Edwards, Argyle were struggling for real threat.

It looked as though Rovers were on their way to putting the game to bed when Omar Bogle headed in James Coppinger’s superb cross - the veteran marking his 600th league appearance for the club with two assists.

But ex-Rovers loanee Niall Ennis got in ahead of Anderson to pull a goal back two minutes later, sparking an all-out assault from the visitors that stretched until the later stages of the game.

Rovers stood firm, with Anderson and Joe Wright in particular towers of strength at the back, breaking the hearts of the visitors to ensure their efforts petered out as full time approached.

Another win, and another occasion for Butler’s beaming smile as he walked down the tunnel.

Well on track.


In these confusing and worrying times, local journalism is more vital than ever. Thanks to everyone who helps us ask the questions that matter by taking out a subscription or buying a paper. We stand together. Liam Hoden, editor.