Argyle 2 Doncaster 3: Match report

A FIRST SkyBet League One win of the season remains frustratingly out of reach for Argyle, who lost by the odd goal in five against Doncaster Rovers.

For the visitors, a fourth successive victory was secured through two goals from John Marquis and one from Matty Blair. Argyle’s replies from Ruben Lameiras and Graham Carey were of much higher quality, but where goals are concerned, it is quantity that matters.

With an injury list so long that team selection was a case of “hands up if you can run”, Argyle boss Derek Adams had very few decisions to make. Peter Grant, David Fox and Gregg Wylde all kept their places after coming on as injury replacements at Charlton last week, the last mentioned being asked to continue in the unaccustomed left-back role that he filled so admirably at the Valley.

The spaces created on the bench were occupied by Lionel Ainsworth, whose hamstring injury had eased sufficiently for him to be named in a match-day squad for the first time this season, Ryan Law and Dan Rooney.

Following their win over Bradford City last time out, Grant McCann made just one change to the Doncaster line-up, drafting in Jermaine Anderson for Ben Whiteman, with Ali Crawford promoted to the bench.

Argyle’s worrying tendency to make costly individual errors might easily have seen them concede within five seconds of kick-off, when Ryan Edwards’ attempted long ball was blocked by Marquis and the rebound caused Matt Macey in the Argyle goal to have to back-pedal uncomfortably to gather.

Nothing in the early exchanges suggested that one team was in fourth place and the other rock bottom, as Argyle played some neat, progressive football, particularly down the left flank. One threatening incursion by Joel Grant was thwarted by the unlikely sight of Donny centre-back Joe Wright heading the ball to safety while both he and it were on the ground.

At the other end, Edwards pulled off a similar trick while lying prone, albeit with his left foot, as the ball bobbled dangerously around the penalty spot.

However, as Argyle have experienced repeatedly this season, matching the opposition is not an end in itself, and they found themselves behind in the 18th minute. Marquis, playing his 100th game for the visitors, is not a man to leave totally unmarked 10 yards from goal. When you do, he tends to score, and he duly did. The inquests that followed were long and heated.

Argyle went in search of an immediate response, with Graham Carey testing Marko Marosi in the Doncaster goal with a low right-footer and Edwards planting a meaty header against the far post from a Carey corner. At that moment, the world seemed an awfully unfair place.

The force remained with the home side as the half hour mark came and went, but it was at the other end that the next goal very nearly arrived, when Marquis lined up a thunderous drive that cannoned back off the post, with Macey not within sniffing distance.

As the breathless pace showed no sign of relenting, it was anyone’s guess which team would score next. The smart money was on it being Doncaster when Marquis was released by a quicksilver counter-attack, but the threat was extinguished by a superbly timed tackle by Edwards.

Instead, it was Argyle who conjured an equaliser in the 40th minute. More good build-up play on the left led to chances for Freddie Ladapo and Lameiras, both repelled by Marosi, but when the third shooting opportunity fell to Lameiras in the same attack, his left-footed strike was only ever going to find the top corner.

The fact that the teams left the field to a chorus of “We love you Argyle” said everything about the performance and the balance of play.

Read the full match report here.