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West Bromwich Albion 0  Argyle 1

Saturday, February 18, 1984 FA Cup, 5th 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.


Sunday Independent:

Plymouth Argyle today stand just two steps away from Wembley after producing the most amazing FA Cup triumph in the club’s 80-year history.

Older Plymouth supporters have waited a lifetime to see their team produce just one giant-killing act on a First Division ground.

Now, history was unfolding before their eyes and they could hardly believe it.

Argyle are not through to the quarter finals on a fluke. For the first time ever, they figure in tomorrow’s draw - and they’re in the hat on sheer soccer merit.

They may have cut it fine struggling to dismiss Southend, Barking, Newport, and Darlington but there was no disputing their clear-cut superiority over the First Division stars in this memorable tie.

It took Argyle less than 10 minutes to break down the class barrier at The Hawthorns. By halftime, West Brom’s superior Football League status was fading fast. Once Argyle scored ‘status’ was virtually forgotten.

Argyle were the masters in every department. They assumed far more authority in all facets of the game, and even disbelieving Albion fans would reluctantly have to testify to that.

All West Brom’s pre-match optimism, generated by the change of management and the arrival of ‘miracle worker’ Johnny Giles, was shattered by an Argyle side, battling superbly and refusing to be overawed by so many international reputations both on and off the field.

As John Hore stressed so much afterwards this was a real triumph for teamwork, with every man playing a major role, not only to stop West Brom, but also to work confidently on their own well-drilled strategy for success.

Everything, and I mean everything went according to plan. From a composed start, Argyle kept calmly building on the conviction that they could play it around just as sweetly as any First Division club.

Unbelievable, perhaps, for folk more used to seeing Plymouth Argyle struggling, fitfully, to get their game together, week in, week out in the Third Division.

But this really happened and, for once. Hore’s green-shirted heroes didn’t waste all their possession play.

They got their shots in. too, and Tommy Tynan’s match-winner is worth a hundred TV action replays this week.

The fear that Argyle might regret not cashing in earlier on their positive approach work evaporated in that one magical moment in the 58th minute.

Paul Barron left his line to intercept a forward pass from Leigh Cooper just outside his goal area. There seemed no risk for the former Argyle ‘keeper, until Gordon Staniforth sprinted in to beat him to the ball and slant it back across the box.

Tynan, steaming in from outside the penalty area, collected the pass on his chest and, despite the close attention of a defender, propelled a first-time drive into the net.

Three or four more defenders blocked the route to goal but the ball sneaked in past Barron’s right hand as he stood flat-footed trying to recover his position.

The stadium erupted as Argyle fans hailed the goal. And they cheered the whole team, too, because everyone had worked so hard to deserve such a rich reward.

Yet the Green Army of travelling fans must have been filled with apprehension at the start when Giles and his newly-appointed management team of Norman Hunter and Nobby Stiles paraded on the pitch to milk the applause of an ecstatic Hawthorns welcome.

However, within minutes of the kick off, Giles had to watch grimly as his team were pinned back on the defensive and, then worse, as West Brom showed little idea of how to go forward.

West Brom’s attack rarely got a look in. Smith stuck to dangerman Garry Thompson like a leech. He quelled Thompson’s aerial menace by ensuring he won the ball first - and he invariably succeeded.

Harrison, cool and composed under pressure, blotted out twin striker Michael Perry so effectively that the player was substituted seven minutes after the re-start.

Gordon Nisbet, clearly revelling in this one-sided contest on his return to The Hawthorns, reduced Morley’s threat to a whimper by refusing to allow the winger near the ball, let alone control it or start using his speed and trickery.

Geoff Crudgington was troubled only twice in the first half and dealt competently with a header and a stinging shot on the turn from Thompson.

Argyle’s midfield department battled heroically, challenging every Albion attempt to get the ball moving in Plymouth’s direction. They never relented with crunching tackles and 110 per cent commitment that was helped in the physical exchanges by the affable, but firm refereeing of Durham’s Peter Willis, who did all he could to keep the action flowing.

Whatever Giles said at half time had little effect on his team’s morale in the second period, and Tynan’s early goal made matters even worse for their mistake-prone defence.

Phillips almost succeeded with a blockbuster of a free kick that was deflected only inches off target by a defender, and Albion kicked into touch, in desperation, far more than an average Third Division side in trouble.

The cry ‘Drink up thee zider’ echoed from the Argyle sections of the ground as Albion’s defence rocked back on their heels like a bunch of Saturday night revellers leaving a party.

But this was Argyle’s party and everything was swinging their way.

Clive Whitehead headed dangerously over Barron and his own crossbar to stop Rogers meeting a penetrating cross from Tynan after a brilliantly-worked move on the right by the rejuvenated striker.

Argyle legs tired visibly after so much physical effort, but their spirits never flagged and they just kept on going forward, looking for a second goal to wrap up this remarkable victory.

 

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

West Brom - Barron: Whitehead, Statharn, Zondervan, McNaught, Bennett, Jol, Thompson, Perry (Luke), MacKenzie, Morley.

Scorer: Argyle - Tynan.

Referee: Mr. P. Willis (Durham)

Attendance: 23,795

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