After last week’s stalemate at Valley Parade, Sky Bet League One action returned to Home Park as Plymouth Argyle hosted a struggling Rochdale side managed by former Pilgrim Keith Hill. Dale failed to cause the Pilgrims a lot of problems as the home side breezed past the lacklustre visitors, who finished the game with ten men.
Kyle Letheren – 6
The Welsh giant has been a great pillar during Plymouth Argyle’s recent resurgence to the middle of the table and he continued this vein of form this afternoon with a collection of good saves. The former York City man did not leave Home Park with a clean sheet but that was not due to his wrong-doing. A very brave performance from Argyle’s number 21 as he closed down onrushing attackers whilst enduring multiple hits in the process. That being said, he did enjoy a relatively quiet afternoon, with his defence dealing with the majority of threats before they even neared the penalty area.
Ashley Smith-Brown – 8
A new-found beacon of confidence within the Greens’ back line, the Mancunian born full-back continued to impress down the right flank. Defensively solid throughout, Smith-Brown continued to frustrate the Rochdale front line as he correctly positioned himself on numerous occasions. Arguably the most exciting part about the young fullback’s game is his ability to overlap and cause damage in the opposition’s half. Technically very gifted on either foot, Argyle’s number 23 lashed in a handful of dangerous crosses which often resulted in a corner. A relatively sound performance was topped off by a superb curling effort from just outside the right-hand side of the box which nestled into the top left-hand corner.
Ryan Edwards – 6
The former Morecambe man is at the peak of his form whilst in an Argyle shirt – this continued with another stellar performance against Dale. A moment of madness in the early stages of the second half is what prevented him from having the perfect performance as he sold a back pass short to goalkeeper Kyle Letheren and Rochdale forward Matt Done capitalised. However, retribution was served mid-way through the second half when Edwards pounced upon a loose ball in the Dale penalty area and directed it into the bottom left hand corner, much to the disgust of the Rochdale players.
Niall Canavan – 8
The Leeds born centre half produced another faultless performance for the Pilgrims yesterday afternoon. He professionally went about his business whilst even getting in the heads of Dale winger Stephen Dooley which resulted in his withdrawal at halftime. Dooley felt he had been tripped by the Irish centre half, clearly frustrated by his sides performance he retaliated by sprinting towards Canavan and shoulder barging him in the back, out of site of the referee but clearly not Keith Hill. A very solid performance by the assertive centre half and it seems that we have finally found the centre back partnership that we were all crying out for at the start of the season.
Gary Sawyer – 7
A solid game for Sawyer with little to do as Dale failed to create any chances that we would describe as clear-cut. In a similar vein to Smith-Brown, Sawyer excelled in providing assistance to the front line as a handful of his technically perfect crosses provided great bother for the Rochdale back line. Excellent positioning at all times resulted in the Argyle captain nearly gathering his first goal of the season as he collected a cross at the far post. He did everything right only to be met by the ever so present Andy Lonergan.
Yann Songo’o – 7
A surprisingly astute performance from the Cameroonian as he lacked any sort of large-scale blunder. Technically, the former Ross County man is improving his passing game week after week as he continues to find passes that you would not expect from the number 4. His ability to control the ball is also grandly improving as upon numerous occasions he performed some great touches after the ball came plummeting down from the sky. Lameiras-esque you could say. Defensively a very quiet afternoon but Songo’o was ever present in the air which contributed to the nulling of the attacking force provided by Rochdale.
David Fox – 8
A very good afternoon from the Argyle number 8 as he continued to show his class with a string of pinpoint long-distance passes. An excellent challenge midway through the first half halted any chance of an immediate resurgence from the opposition and with Fox surprisingly dominant in the air the Dale game-plan was scuppered. The former Norwich man continued to find himself with acres of space in which he was able to inflict the most damage with. Many managers in the past have talked about if you stop Fox you stop Argyle and Keith Hill clearly didn’t get the message – Fox was allowed to roam free relatively unchallenged and pick out his intended targets with great ease.
Antoni Sarcevic – 7
Another stellar performance from the Mancunian engine as he continued to assert himself in the Argyle midfield as a box to box midfielder with an ability to charge forward with the ball at his feet. A singular negative to the number seven’s performance came when he accumulated his 10th yellow card of the season, which sees him ineligible for the trip to Sunderland and the home fixture against high flyers Luton Town. Aside from this, his performance was almost faultless yesterday afternoon, and he will surely be missed in the coming weeks.
Graham Carey – 8
The Irish talisman is beginning to rediscover his confidence after his set-piece against Portsmouth. The number 10 is finally back to his normal self, trying ludicrous things and upon numerous occasions taking on long range strikes which are always troubling for the opposition goalkeeper. An assist for the goal to Ryan Edwards was all that Carey had to put to his name in terms of statistics yesterday, but he was much more than that with an excellent defensive shift as well as making numerous defence splitting balls. A thoroughly good afternoons work by the former Ross County man.
Rubén Lamerias – 9 Man of the Match
An outstanding performance by the Portuguese trickster as he continued to cause absolute havoc for the opposition’s defence with his quick footwork and a superb eye for a defence splitting pass. He came away with three assists to his name – quadrupling his tally for the season – as he contributed to the goals for Ladapo, Threlkeld and Smith-Brown. Keeping hold of the dangerous winger must be top of the priority list for Adams as we come to the close of this season.
Freddie Ladapo – 9
Back amongst the goals, and both relatively self-created. The first an excellent strike on the turn away from a defender which nestled itself in the top left-hand corner of the goal. The second a one-on-one which was created after a defensive blunder capitalised upon by Ladapo with great calmness. If this was early on in the season, I can’t help but think he may have squandered this chance, which shows just how far he has progressed during this season.
Oscar Threlkeld – 7
Four minutes into yet another debut at Home Park, Threlkeld found himself on the scoresheet with a super strike from just outside the area. A possible candidate to fill in for Sarcevic over the next couple of weeks, particularly after yesterday’s showing. He appears to be fit again and put in an adequate performance against a relatively lifeless Rochdale side. By the time of his introduction there was little to no attacking threat from Dale, so he was not overly challenged in that regard. Nonetheless, a good performance from the Argyle fan favourite.
Lloyd Jones – 6
A late introduction for the Plymouth-born centre half saw him left completely unchallenged, but it is always good to get the backup players some minutes.
Paul Anderson – 6
Anderson received a good reception from the Green Army this afternoon as he made his debut as an 88th minute substitute for star man Graham Carey. Little time on the ball saw Anderson with little way to show off his ability but some good movement and a good work rate were good signs from the new signing.