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Football Association Challenge Cup 1983-84

 
What it was all about - but 34 years before - the FA cup
brought to Home Park by the holders, Wolverhampton Wanderers. 

On that miserable November afternoon in Southend, who would have imagined the historic FA Cup campaign that was to unfold for Plymouth Argyle Football Club. Strugglers in the Third Division (now Division One) for most of the season, the cup run was the club's most successful ever, playing 10 games in front of over 160,000 fans and one of very few teams from the third tier ever to reach an FA Cup semi-final.

Time has not been kind to most of the material that I've been able to find. Just think of the quality as 'atmospheric'!  If you can fill in gaps on this page (video/audio recordings or just personal memories), please get in touch.  In all cases, material has been extracted from personal (non-commercial) recordings; if there's a problem, let me know.


Southend Utd 0  Argyle 0

Att: 3,408  Team: Crudgington, Nisbet, Uzzell, Harrison, Smith, Cooper, Hodges, Rowe, Tynan, Kellow, Phillips.

Stalemate on a wet November afternoon at Roots Hall against a team from the same division, and there was little to suggest the excitement that was to come. Southend were eventually relegated that season and Argyle just survived.

Argyle 2  Southend Utd 0

Goals: Stead (og), Tynan

Att: 5,570  Team: Crudgington, Nisbet, Uzzell, Harrison, Smith, Cooper, Hodges, Rowe, Tynan, Kellow, Phillips. 

The goal drought continued in the replay until extra-time when an own goal and another from Tommy Tynan put the Pilgrims through.


Argyle 2  Barking 1

Goals: Rowe, Smith

Att: 4,754  Team: Crudgington, Nisbet, Uzzell, Ham, Smith, Phillips, Hodges, Rowe, Tynan (Staniforth), Kellow,  Rogers. 

Barking (from the Isthmian League) at home should have been a formality but, as often happens in the Cup, it was far from that. Fortune was with Argyle as Lyndsay Smith's headed winner owed a little to a defender's deflection. 


Argyle 2  Newport County 2  

Goals: Hodges, Tynan

Att: 6,789  Team: Crudgington, Nisbet, Uzzell, Harrison, Smith, Cooper,  Hodges, Phillips, Tynan, Staniforth, Rogers.

No big name in the third round, and another unconvincing performance. But luck was with us and an injury-time penalty from Tommy saved the day.

Newport County 0  Argyle 1  

Goal: Rogers

Att: 5,549  Team: Crudgington, Phillips, Uzzell, Harrison, Smith, Cooper,  Hodges, Forbes (Pearson), Tynan, Staniforth, Rogers.

Just 6 minutes remained at Somerton Park when Andy Rogers netted a low cross to settle the tie. 


Argyle 2  Darlington 1  

Goals: Uzzell, Staniforth

Att: 8,918  Team: Crudgington, Nisbet, Uzzell, Harrison, Smith, Cooper,  Hodges, Phillips, Tynan, Staniforth, Rogers.

Another unglamorous tie and yet again an unconvincing performance against a lower side. But this was the turning point in our FA Cup form; in the rounds to come, with little expectation, Argyle rose to each occasion.


West Bromwich Albion 0  Argyle 1  

Goal: Tynan

Att: 23,795  Team: Crudgington, Nisbet, Uzzell, Harrison, Smith, Cooper,  Hodges, Phillips, Tynan, Staniforth, Rogers.

Round 5 and the run was certain to end! Until now the draw had served up seemingly easy ties against lower division opposition, yet we had struggled to survive. Now we were in with the bigger boys, but as has happened so many times, it was the trigger for a change of form. Suddenly we had nothing to lose and Wembley was not so far away!  


Argyle 0  Derby County 0  

Att: 34,365  Team: Crudgington, Nisbet, Uzzell, Harrison, Smith, Cooper,  Hodges, Phillips, Tynan, Staniforth, Rogers.

An impressive win at the Hawthornes and suddenly we were in the quarter-finals. A huge crowd at Home Park (with Derby fans allocated the Devonport end) saw a Argyle give their all, but it wasn't enough. If only that Gordon Staniforth shot had been an inch to the left!

Derby County 0 Argyle 1  

Goal: Rogers

Att: 26,906  Team: Crudgington, Nisbet, Uzzell, Harrison, Smith, Cooper,  Hodges, Phillips, Tynan, Staniforth, Rogers.

The replay at the famous Baseball Ground, and perhaps our best chance had gone. Yet the 'nothing to lose' spirit, and a little bit of luck,  was still very much with us. Didn't get there myself, but I'll never forget the scenes on Match of the Day that Wednesday evening.


Argyle 0  Watford 1

(at Villa Park, Birmingham)

 

   

 

Att: 43,858  Team: Crudgington, Nisbet, Uzzell, Harrison, Smith, Cooper,  Hodges, Phillips, Tynan, Staniforth, Rogers.

The unbelievable had happened: Plymouth Argyle had reached the semi-finals of the famous FA Cup.  Around 24,000 Argyle fans made their way to Villa Park, Birmingham, to enjoy an unforgettable day in the warm April sunshine. The recent league form had continued to be poor; just one win in seven games since the triumph at Derby, but none of that mattered and in the end it was all so close. If only Kevin Hodges' effort in the dying minutes had been a foot to the right. The Wembley dream was finally shattered, but did anyone really believe it was possible? That PAFC would play in the FA Cup Final at Wembley? Of course we did! 


So that was that. In his first full season as a manager, Johnny Hore took us the brink of final of the greatest cup competition in the world. The season began in usual unsteady fashion, the players, of course, having no idea of what was to come as they lined up for the pre-season photo-call.

Back row: Martin Harvey (Coach), Andy Rogers, Chris Harrison, Paul Chambers, Richard Tomlin, David Phillips, Kevin Hodges, Lee Cooper, Bobby Moncur (Manager) 
Front row: Gordon Staniforth, John Uzzell, Lindsay Smith, Gordon Nisbet, Geoff Crudgington, John Sims, Mike Ham, Tommy Tynan, Mark Rowe.

Hore succeeded Bobby Moncur in October 1983 and then began the cup run. In his first attempt at football management he must of thought he had the Midas touch. Yet the league results continued to stutter and it was a struggle to the last games of the season. In the end, John Hore's reign lasted just 12 months, when along came Dave Smith and the promotion success that was to follow.

 

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