DONCASTER ROVERS’ Ian Lawlor says the early onslaught that saw Arsenal’s attacking trio of Alex Sanchez, Olivier Giroud and Theo Walcott have no fewer than seven chances inside the opening 15 minutes at the Emirates was unlike any he had experienced before as a goalkeeper.
But, following the second-half showing that caused the Gunners plenty of headaches en route to edging past the Yorkshire club to earn a place in the Carabao Cup fourth round, the 22-year-old believes Rovers can return to League One action tomorrow at Plymouth Argyle with renewed belief that their fortunes can be turned around.
“When we saw the team sheet, we were pleased,” said Lawlor to The Yorkshire Post about manager Arsene Wenger selecting not only his attacking triumvirate, but also Jack Wilshere, Per Mertesacker and Calum Chambers.
“We wanted to face their best players and that was what we got. Coming to Arsenal and taking on one of the best teams in the world is what we all wanted to do. From a selfish point of view, I wanted to see where I was against some of the best players in the world, never mind Europe.
“Mind, I can’t remember having a first 15 minutes like that as a goalkeeper before. The challenge was huge. But it was the same for all the boys and I felt we came through it well.
“As a team, we were proud of what we did. To be honest, I enjoyed it and the manager was pleased with us afterwards.
I can’t remember having a first 15 minutes like that as a goalkeeper before. The challenge was huge. But it was the same for all the boys and I felt we came through it well.Ian Lawlor
“He liked how we stuck together during that early pressure from Arsenal. They were on top, but we dug in and the manager now wants us to take this into Plymouth.”
After a five-game run in the league that has yielded one point and no goals, Rovers have slipped to 19th in the table. Taking on the second-bottom Pilgrims at Home Park, therefore, offers an opportunity to move back up the table and, with that in mind, manager Darren Ferguson has cut down on travelling time by setting up camp in the south since the trip to the Emirates.
“Staying down for a couple of days away together is good,” added Lawlor. “We can get around the dinner table, have a couple of meetings.
“Plus, we have the belief we have taken from the Arsenal game. Overall, we did well and now we take that into Plymouth.”