Argyle on the up as Madjo strikes twice
PLYMOUTH ARGYLE 3 ROCHDALE 1
ON-LOAN striker Guy Madjo scored two penalties as Argyle moved up to 15th in League Two by beating Rochdale at Home Park today, writes Chris Errington.
It was the first time the Pilgrims had recorded back-to-back league wins since Easter 2011.
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Madjo fired them into an early lead from the spot and Argentine attacker Andres Gurrieri made it 2-0 in only the seventh minute.
Argyle created further chances before half-time as they played their best football of the season.
It was a different story after half-time as Rochdale applied pressure and cut the deficit with a goal from veteran striker Dele Adebola in the 76th minute.
The Pilgrims made sure of maximum points, though, with Madjo's second penalty deep into stoppage time.
They can now tackle consecutive away games against Cheltenham Town and Rotherham United with a lot of confidence.
Argyle went into the match without in-form forward Rhys Griffiths, who was ruled out by a groin injury.
Gurrieri was added to the team in Griffiths' enforced absence and played behind Madjo in a 4-4-1-1 formation.
Otherwise, it was the same side which started the 4-1 win at Barnet last Saturday.
Striker Warren Feeney was among the Argyle substitutes after being sidelined for the previous three matches by a groin injury.
Rochdale, with four successive away wins behind them, included former Pilgrims' forward George Donnelly, on their bench.
Argyle had raced into an early 2-0 lead at Barnet, with their first goal coming from a penalty, and it was exactly the same against Rochdale.
Madjo tucked away a spot kick in only the fourth minute after a low cross from left-back Scott Griffiths was handled by defender Ryan Edwards.
It was Madjo's second goal of his loan spell from League Two rivals Aldershot Town, and was very confidently converted.
Argyle then doubled their lead in the seventh minute when Gurrieri deftly headed home a cross from Burnley loanee Alex MacDonald.
The goal came after another excellent build up and there were purrs of approval from the Green Army.
Madjo then had a great chance to put the Pilgrims 3-0 up in the 17th minute.
Griffiths controlled a cross from Gurrieri and touched the ball back to winger Paris Cowan-Hall, who delivered it deep to Madjo.
The Cameroon-born striker got in a powerful far post header but the ball was clawed away by Rochdale 'keeper Josh Lillis.
MacDonald and Gurrieri forced Lillis into smart saves before right-back Durrell Berry went close to scoring.
His goalbound shot was blocked by Edwards and the ball span over Lillis and landed on top of the net.
Rochdale did start to threaten for the first time as half-time approached and Adebola almost cut the deficit in the 42nd minute.
His looping header from midfielder Andrew Tutte's free-kick beat Cole but clipped the outside of the left post.
Cowan-Hall limped off early in the second half and was replaced by Joe Lennox in a like-for-like swap.
Rochdale had most of the possession as they tried to stage a comeback.
And they were awarded a harsh penalty when referee Gary Sutton ruled Argyle centre-back Maxime Blanchard had fouled midfielder Jason Kennedy.
Grant stepped up to take the spot kick but it was saved by Cole before the ball was cleared out of play for a corner.
Donnelly was sent on against his former club in the 69th minute as Rochdale made a double substitution.
Just prior to that, MacDonald had a shot blocked by Edwards and midfielder Luke Young fired wide from 20 yards.
Rochdale reduced the deficit in the 76th minute but their goal came in controversial circumstances.
Sutton failed to spot a clear foul on Argyle captain Darren Purse by Adebola inside the Pilgrims' penalty area.
Play continued and the referee awarded a free-kick to the visitors for a challenge on Grant by Blanchard.
Tutte fired the ball into the penalty area and Adebola powerfully headed high into the net from close range.
Argyle's players voiced their frustrations to the referee after Adebola's goal.
That set up a tense finale as Rochdale pushed hard for an equaliser, but Argyle wrapped up the win deep into stoppage time.
Madjo blasted another penalty past Lillis after Lennox had been shoved over by right-back Phil Edwards.
ARGYLE: Jake Cole; Durrell Berry, Darren Purse, Maxime Blanchard, Scott Griffiths; Alex MacDonald, Luke Young, Conor Hourihane, Paris Cowan-Hall; Andres Gurrieri (Curtis Nelson 89 mins); Guy Madjo.
Substitutes (not used): Nick Chadwick, Warren Feeney, Jamie Lowry, Joe Lennox, Rene Gilmartin (gk), Jared Sims.
ROCHDALE: Josh Lillis; Phil Edwards, Ryan Edwards, Rhys Bennett, Kevin McIntyre; Peter Cavanagh (Joel Lynch 69 mins); Bobby Grant, Andrew Tutte, Jason Kennedy, Ashley Grimes (George Donnelly 69 mins); Dele Adebola.
Substitutes (not used): Joseph Rafferty, Brian Barry-Murphy, Matty Pearson, Ian Craney, Ben Smith (gk).
REFEREE: Gary Sutton (Lincolnshire)
ATTENDANCE: 6,261 (111 away)
GOALS – Argyle: Madjo (2 pens) 4, 90 +3 mins, Gurrieri 7 mins; Rochdale; Adebola 76 mins