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Argyle 2, Darlington 1

Saturday, January 28, 1984 FA Cup, 4th round


The following article has been extracted from Harley Lawer's excellent  book: "Argyle Classics" published by Green Books, Plymouth (ISBN: 0951381709), and is reproduced with his kind permission.


John Uzzell congratulated by Andy Rogers after a rare headed goal to keep Argyle on the FA Cup trail.

Sunday Independent:

A new pair of boots worked wonders for goal-starved Gordon Staniforth and his tiring, frustrated Plymouth Argyle team mates. All the signs pointed to John Horeís men being forced to pack their bags for the long trek north for a replay as they laboured for 81 minutes to make any real impact against their Fourth Division opponents.

Then someone pointed our that Argyle had left it late in every previous tie and why should this game be any different? It might have been dismissed as a cynical remark if at that precise moment the ball hadnít finished up nestling snugly in the back of the Darlington net!

Kevin Hodges nodded the ball to Staniforth, lurking a couple of yards clear of the Darlington penalty area. The little man instantly took aim and his low, pin-pointed drive arrowed through a row of defenders and past Fred Barberís despairing dive.

Now at long last, nothing could stop Argyle charging through to the last sixteen of the FA Cup for only the second time in their history.

"Iíve certainly never reached the fifth round before," said a delighted Staniforth. itís been so frustrating for me over the last few games that I have kept changing my boots hoping it would change my luck.

"Iíve tried three different pairs and today experimented with new ones. I think Iíll stick with them now for the next round ..."

Staniforth paid tribute to Kevin Hodges for setting up his chance. "It was such a nice touch on that I could get my head down and smack it first time. I was pleased to see the ball go in because I did think the Ďkeeper was going to get to it."

The goal was Staniforthís first since Boxing Day and only his fifth of the season. It came as a shattering blow to a Darlington side that tied Argyle up into so many knots that they never looked capable of unravelling enough to succeed . Just one Darlington goal was enough to torment home fans. Chris Harrison deliberately obstructed Kevin Todd to concede a free kick. Todd took up his place in the middle and moved in unchecked, to steer a simple shot past Geoff Crudgington after Dave McLean lobbed the ball in at his feet.

The game was 35 minutes old and Argyle still hadnít forced a corner and had tested Barber at full stretch only once to parry a drive from Hodges.

But five minutes later they were level. Gordon Nisbetís free kick into the heart of the Darlington goalmouth was headed on by Staniforth. As the heads went up to clear. John Uzzell beat them all to the ball by nodding it into the roof of the net off Barberís outstretched fingers.

Argyle - Crudgington, Nisbet, Uzzell, Harrison, Smith, Cooper, Hodges, Phillips, Tvnan, Staniforth, Rogers. Sub: Pearson.

Darlington - Barber, Craggs, Johnson, Honour, Smith, Barton, Cartwright, Todd, Gilbert, Walsh, McLean. Sub: Davies.

Scorers: Argyle - Uzzell, Staniforth : Darlington - Todd.

Referee: Mr. R. G. Milford (Bristol)

Attendance: 8918.

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