Football: Plymouth Argyle 5 - 1 Rochdale
Date published: 25 February 2019
Ten man Rochdale slipped back into the relegation zone of League One after being thrashed by a resurgent Plymouth Argyle at Home Park. In a one sided first half it took some heroics from Rochdale keeper Andy Lonergan to keep the scoreline down as the sides went in at the interval 1-0 to Plymouth thanks to Freddie Ladapo’s goal midway through the half.
Matty Done stunned the home crowd when he capitalised on a mistake from former Dale defender Ryan Edwards to level soon after the restart but when Ethan Ebanks-Landell saw red for a deliberate handball, the game swung in the home side's favour as they brushed aside former Plymouth man Keith Hill and his relegation threatened side.
After defeat against bottom club AFC Wimbledon in midweek, Keith Hill made two changes to his side for the long journey to Devon. Ryan Delaney replaced Jim McNulty whilst Rory Holden replaced Reikel Pyke.
Plymouth, who ended 2018 at the foot of the League One table have turned their season around since the turn of the year and started the game on a run of just one defeat in ten, whilst Dale had just one win in nine.
Derek Adams’ side looked the better of the two from outset and tested Dale's loan goalkeeper Andy Lonergan on numerous occasions. Midfielder Yann Songo’o was the first to try his luck; his curling effort brilliantly tipped away by Lonergan.
Moments later and the Middlesbrough loanee was called upon again as he beat away full back Gary Sawyer’s angled volley but from the resultant corner, Plymouth would open the scoring. A deep corner was played back in to Freddie Ladapo who was afforded too much room in front of goal to turn and drill the ball past Lonergan.
Rochdale’s forays forward into the home side’s penalty area were few and far between but they perhaps should have been awarded a penalty on the half hour mark when Rory Holden turned inside the box and was seemingly tripped; referee Chris Sarginson not interested in the appeals from the visitors.
That was about it in a poor first half from Dale, the rest of the half certainly belonged to the Devon side.
The front four of Ladapo, Graham Carey, Antoni Sarcevic and Rueben Lameiras were a real handful with all four seeing shots go off target or saved by Lonergan.
With some decisions to make at half time, the Rochdale boss brought on Calvin Andrew and Bradden Inman giving the Plymouth defence something else to think about and it seemingly paid off as Dale levelled inside three minutes of the second half. Ryan Edwards sending a short back-pass to Kyle Letheren which allowed Matty Done to nip and finish coolly past the keeper on his 200th appearance for the club.
Dale started to push forward more with Inman and Done linking up well on the left and when the former Barnsley man was played in by Inman, the striker took too long and was tackled when in a very good place for a shot.
The major turning point came just shy of the hour mark. The powerful Ladapo beat Ebanks-Landell to the ball and as the on loan Wolves defender was falling to the ground, he scooped the ball away with his hand. The referee took his time and after consulting his assistants via the headset, brandished a straight red card meaning Dale would play over 30 minutes with ten men.
Another talking point in the game came almost immediately afterwards. From the free-kick coming from the handball, Plymouth won a corner from which they scored. As the ball dropped six yards out, replays show that Graham Carey handled the ball which set up Edwards who made amends for his earlier mistake to sweep the ball home. The Rochdale players surrounded the referee pleading with him to speak to his assistants but to no avail and the goal stood.
From then on it was damage limitation for Hill’s side and when a mistake from Delaney let Ladapo in on goal, the forward finished well for his second of the game.
The travelling Dale fans were in fine voice despite the scoreline and they were up in arms in the 67th minute when Sarcevic went to ground in the box. Sarginson had seemingly pointed to the spot for a penalty but instead booked the former Fleetwood Town man for diving.
With game looking likely to end in a 3-1 win for the home side, Plymouth stepped up a gear once again to net two late goals. Substitute Oscar Threlkeld rifled in a first time shot from outside the area just four minutes after coming on whilst the scoring was finished in stoppage time; full back Ashley Smith-Brown looping a shot into the far top corner from 18 yards out.
It’s a result that see’s Dale’s poor form continue and with a trip to runaway league leaders Luton up next, things are looking bleak for the Rochdale faithful.
Rochdale: Lonergan, McLaughlin, Ebanks-Landell, Delaney, Bunney, Camps, Hamilton, Dooley (Andrew 46), Holden (Inman 46), Henderson ©, Done
Subs: (not used) Wade, McNulty, Wilbraham, Adshead, Matheson
Plymouth: Letheren, Smith-Brown, Edwrads, Canavan (Jones 90), Sawyer ©, Songo’o, Fox (Threlkeld 81), Sarcevic, Carey (Anderson 87), Lameiras, Ladapo
Subs: (not used) Macry, Riley, Taylor, Wootton
Referee: Mr C Sarginson
Assistants: Mr R Cheosiaua & Mr S Shaw
Fourth Official: Mr M Pottage
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