great escape as Gordon Staniforth achieved the almost
impossible feat of smashing a drive so hard that it
rebounded off two uprights.
80 years on in the Plymouth Argyle story and small boys wearing green and
white scarves at this historic game may be telling their grandchildren of
the only occasion they saw one shot crash against the width of two upright
will never forget the sudden rush of elation as Gordon Staniforth’s
soaring drive inched towards the top corner of the net off the straining
fingers of Derby goalkeeper Steve Cherry.
sadly perhaps, they will always remember how the ball curved in flight
to shudder against the inside of the far upright, bounce down and along
the line to rebound back off the inside of the other post.
of fans in the near-capacity crowd leapt into the air in premature
celebration, only to sink back down refusing to believe what they had
Cherry for a wonderful last-ditch save but the pain and anguish of that
incredible double strike on to the woodwork were felt in the hearts of
every Argyle supporter in the ground.
so rare for that to happen in a League game, let alone at the
quarter-final stage of the FA Cup when there is so much at stake.
seven minutes remained plus a couple of minutes injury-time. A goal at
that moment would have been the crowning glory to reward all Argyle’s
marvellous attacking play that almost but not quite overwhelmed this
subdued Derby County team.
were again superb. They did everything right up to the penalty area. The
shots rained in frequently enough. All the ideas were good. Most of the
execution of forward planning was spot on. They just needed that one
little break that can make all the difference .
couldn’t fault a single green shirted player. Each, in his way, did
his work as capably as in the previous round at The Hawthorns. No one
was overawed or below par. They again played magnificently as a team.
Geoff Crudgington had an off day — but only in the sense that
he had so little to do. As Staniforth cracked afterwards: ‘He had such
an easy match that he should be coming in tomorrow to do some light
expected a tough contest from the Third Division side but were as
startled as West Brom by the way Plymouth seized command from the start,
went on the offensive and virtually stayed in charge for almost the
that Derby just might sneak one on the rebound slowly receded in the
second-half. They just didn’t look capable of springing a single
Robertson. the winger who can be a match-winner, disappeared into Gordon
Nisbet’s pocket and was seldom seen again.
Gemmill, always busy, spent most of his time patrolling in front of his
defence. He rarely got the chance to dissect Argyle’s cool,
resourceful defence with a searching pass.
own hungry midfield operators were the engine drivers in this game.
Leigh Cooper, David Phillips and Kevin Hodges ran and ran, covering for
each other and probing relentlessly to exploit gaps.
all made their quota of mistakes but recovered with such speed to atone
for them that Derby just weren’t allowed to go forward as an attacking
charging into spaces spraying passes and demanding the ball back to keep
the pressure on, was quite the complete player. He will find it hard to
fans packed into the Devonport End were muted until the 67th minute when
a sudden break by Bobby Davison and a cross-shot into the keeper’s
arms brought them to life.
for the rest of the game they had to watch the backs of their Derby
defence working desperately to keep the Argyle aggressors out.
pressure just wouldn’t go away. The final shots were fewer but there
was still Staniforth’s agonising moment to come.
numerous occasions a ball striking the inside of an upright finishes up
in the net. But here — twice in a split-second — the law of
averages worked cruelly against Argyle and so perhaps we must
reluctantly accept that John Hore has finally exhausted his supply of
Comish pixie luck.
Argyle - Crudgington: Nisbet, Uzzell, Harrison, Smith, Cooper, Hodges,
Phillips, Tynan, Staniforth, Rogers. Sub: Rowe.
- Cherry: Barton, Buckley, Gemmill, Burns, Powell, Furcher, Davison,
Wilson, Hooks, Robertson. Sub: Watson.
Mr. B. T. Stevens (Stonehouse, Glos)
RAMS ARE LUCKY
County go into tomorrow’s semi-final draw after the greatest, luckiest Cup
escape I’ve ever seen.
ageing Rams – six of them are over 30 and two are 37 – seemed to have been
knocked out in the 82nd minute by a thundering shot from Staniforth.
in the sellout crowd at Home Park saw it. Or thought they did.
they reckoned without Cherry the 23 year-old keeper rated among England’s
best by Derby manager Peter Taylor.
flew horizontally and got a finger touch. Then the marvels started. For he
touched the ball against his left-hand post and the thousands on the terraces
behind him rose to salut a goal.
The ball rocketed straight back and hit the right-hand post. Then it dropped
almost on the line.
gave a goal to Geoff Hurst in a World Cup Final for one no closer than this.
But plymouth were not blessed with that sort of fortune.
always say that you’ll win the Cup if your names on it. And Derby must be
thinking now that they can go on to Wembley.
nearly all this match they seemed to have no greater ambition that prolonging
this tie until Wednesday and so providing further argument against being wound
up tomorrow in the High Court.
attacked them with pace and movement, extracting the last dram of their home
advantage. But they couldn’t beat Cherry or blond centre-backs Burns and
save from Staniforth in the 26th minute and Burns blocked a Hodges shot on the
roaming down the right, was a continual worry to a Derby midfield that lacked
the legs to go back and catch him.
defender Smith, who spent nearly as much time in Derby’s box as his own, was
derby, usually accurate with the ball and up to all the time-wasting tricks,
kept trying to lower the tempo.
suffocated Plymouth’s attack for a spell in the second half and made them
ragged with frustration.
when Watson, the old England centre-half, came on as a substitute centre-forward,
thoughts turned from a replay to a possible Derby win.
appearance immediately prevented Smith’s advances into attack and livened up
the Cerby line.
then everything changed in the 82nd minute – or so we thought when
Staniforth shot. And 27000 West Countrymen went home still not believing it.
of the World:
are in court tomorrow, but yesterday in Devon they got out of jail.
an audacious escape operation hatched by their old guard at Home Park.
was young 23-year-old goalkeeper, Steve Cherry, who emerged the leader of the
pack which keeps them in the FA Cup.
instrumental in frustrating Third Division Plymouth, who have never been this
way before in the famous trophy and who are hoping to become only the sixth
side from their rank to make the semi-finals.
go happily into Wednesday’s replay, not least because they need the money.
must go before the High Court first because of a PAYE debt of £129 000. They’ll
be taking with them a package deal underwritten by millionaire Robert Maxwell
to keep them alive.
Second Devision relegation strugglers mustered only one shot of note yesterday
– and that was weak. It came after six minutes, when Paul Hooks might have
done better than shoot straight at geoff Crudgington.
Staniforth did far better with his efforts, but had the tough efforts, but had
the tough luck to come across competent Cherry.
competence grew into spectacular form eight minutes from time when the little
Plymouth striker weaved his way cleverly to a spot 20 yards from goal and
smacked a smashing shot.
superbly stretched to get fingertips to the ball, diverting it onto a post,
turning round to see it roll back across the line before being finally
striker Staniforth said: "I was convinced I’d scored. It takes some
doing to hit both posts with an effort but the keeper made an brilliant save.
What a great time it would have been as well so near the end.
manager, John Hore, who was in charge of a Western League side only four
months ago, said: "I’ve been called Cornish lucky, but not today. The
three of us in the dug-out were up out of our seats for the Staniforth effort.
disappointed, naturally, because I thought we did enough to win it".