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Plymouth Argyle 0 v 4 Rochdale
SkyBet League One
Tuesday, 1st December 2020 Kick-off 19:45
Match Report: Plymouth Argyle 0-4 (FOUR) Rochdale
Tuesday, 1st Dec 2020 23:00 by Chaff

Jingle bells, jingle bells, jingle all the way, oh what fun it is to see the Rochdale win away!

Dale were back in action after a weekend off with a long trip down to Devon to take on Plymouth Argyle. BBM and his team, and not least the fans, will have been desperate to get their first win in 7 games against a Plymouth side who will more than likely be happy with the start they've made back in League. The green army (bet you said that in a west country accent!) were top half and six points better off than Dale going into this fixture.

Unfortunately, we had to settle for a 7:45 kick-off this week rather than the earlier kick off time we had against Northampton. This meant a night trying to stay off social media in case I found out who was kicked out on I'm a Celeb! That said, if we were getting tonked, there was every chance I'd have done the match report of the goings on inside the castle instead of Home Park! As it happened, it would be about bloody midnight before I could watch it!!

Team news came through twitter and the first thing I noticed was that Tolaji Bola was dropped for Ryan McLaughlin. This would obviously mean Jimmy Keohane went back to left back. The second thing I noticed was the lack of a sub-keeper! Bazunu was still out with his broken finger so Lynch kept the gloves but there was no sign of Ben Chalton on the bench and with Brad Wade out on loan, we with with a full bench of outfield players. We lined up with Jay Lynch in goal, Ryan McLaughlin at right back and Jimmy Keohane at left back with Eoghan O'Connell and Haydon Roberts at centre back. Aaron Morley and Matt Lund were in the middle while Alex Newby played wide right and Ollie Rathbone wide left in what looked like a 4-4-2 with Stephen Humphrys and Jake Beesley up front. The bench consisted of Tolaji Bola, Jim McNulty, Stephen Dooley, Jimmy Ryan, Matt Done, Fabio Tavares and Kwadwo Baah.

The first half was mental. Absolutely mental.

With just 30 seconds gone, Dale should have been ahead. Beesley won a good flick on and Humphrys had a shot blocked when he should have laid it off to Rathbone who was free.

Literally about 90 seconds later and we were ahead! What a bloody start to the game. Humphrys did fantastically in the middle of the pitch to out-muscle his marker, break forward and play a brilliant through ball to Jake Beesley who rounded the keeper, took it a touch wider than he should but still slotted it home with his left foot via the defender for his first league goal in a Dale shirt and Dale were 1-0 up!

Then disaster struck for Dale and for Beesley. He challenged for the ball in the air but the keeper seemed to wipe him out and the referee blows for a foul by Beesley. The collision didn't look great and then when Beesley hit the deck, the keeper landed on him and when keeper got off him, it was pretty clear that Beesley was in trouble and it looked like a serious incident, just two days after the horrendous injury to Raul Jimenez of Wolves in not too dissimilar circumstances. This wasn't good at all. Beesley wasn't for moving as both sets of medical staff came on to help and after a very lengthy stoppage, Beesley was eventually stretchered off and replaced by Stephen Dooley. The stoppage had lasted the best part of 20 minutes.

Dale didn't react the quickest on the restart and Plymouth should have equalised! Keohane was easily beaten and the ball ended up falling to a Plymouth man who rattled the post and the rebound was hit by Cooper but blocked well by O'Connell.

Just two minutes later and Dale were 2-0 up! Good play from Newby and then brilliant work rate and tenacity from Humphrys saw the ball find Aaron Morley who smashed the ball into the top corner. Great finish, great set up. It did look like the ball went out of play and Niall Canavan even stopped playing!

With less than half an hour gone (somehow), Plymouth also had a man down for a spell. At this rate there was gonna be about an hour's stoppage time!

In fact, there was 19 minutes held up by the fourth official! That must be some sort of record?!

Just as we went into stoppage time, Jimmy Keohane was completely unmarked at the back post but volleyed way over. He had time to take a touch but didn't.

With 12 (twelve) minutes of stoppage time gone, Keohane made up for that miss with the most bizarre goal he may ever score! The ball came over, Keohane headed the ball into the ground, Wootton left it for the goalkeeper and the goalkeeper left it for Wootton and the ball trickled into the far corner. It almost belonged on a Danny Baker Own Goals and Gaffs DVD! Somehow, Dale were 3-0 up. What the hell was going on!

The first half was over at last.

Before the second half started, Plymouth made a triple substitution. Notably, Canavan and Wootton were dragged off after the worst defensive display since Boardman and McArdle against Stockport about 15 years ago!

Plymouth started the half well in fairness. Ben Reeves was pulling the strings and he volleyed wide early doors.

More good play from Reeves set up Nouble but his header went straight up in the air rather amusingly!

Plymouth couldn't break through as Dale tried keeping the ball more and the cherry was well and truly put on top of the cake with about 20 minutes left. Keohane and Rathbone did brilliantly on the left to keep the ball alive, it switched over to the other flank where Stephen Dooley picked the ball up, he put a delightful ball across for Stephen Humphrys to head home to make it 4 (FOUR!) nil!

In the shock, I kind of switched off really to the game. Newby came off for Done and then a few minutes later, Morley and Humphrys made way for Ryan and Tavares. I've no idea if any of them touched the ball. I didn't care.

Dale won 4-0. I didn't see it coming, nobody saw it coming but, you know, 2020 innit!!

The switch to 4-4-2 cannot be understated in my view. We looked a lot more attacking, especially in wide areas. Please lets see more of that!

WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOW

PLAYER RATINGS:

Jay Lynch- 7 (Clean sheet, did well)

Ryan McLaughlin - 7 (Should play whenever fully fit)

Eoghan O'Connell - 7 (Very assured, rarely troubled)

Haydon Roberts - 8 (Watching him run with the ball is one of my favourite things to do)

Jimmy Keohane - 8 (Bizarre goal and should have had another)

Aaron Morley - 7 (Frustrating to watch when he gives the ball away but scored a belter of a goal)

Matty Lund - 7 (Typical Lundy performance)

Ollie Rathbone - 7 (Worked really hard as always, better performance before visibly tiring)

Alex Newby - 7 (Did quite well, gave the ball a little too much but still tried to create whenever he could)

Jake Beesley - 8 (Did really well in the 5 minutes he was on! Scored and almost set one up. Hope he's ok, and has a speedy recovery)

STEPHEN HUMPHRYS - 8 (Man of the match for me and looked very good again, looks like he's going to score plenty for us)

Subs:

Stephen Dooley - 8 (One of his best performances in a Dale shirt)
Matt Done - 6 (I switched off but he didn't do that much while he was on)
Jimmy Ryan - 6 (No idea if he even touched the ball)
Fabio Tavares - 6 (See above lol)

Photo: Action Images



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