One Game at a Time: You're Only Here for the Pasties The Wurzels (A) September 19th | PASOTI
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One Game at a Time: You're Only Here for the Pasties The Wurzels (A) September 19th

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pafcprogs

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Apr 3, 2008
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One Game at a Time: You’re Only Here for the Pasties

The Wurzels (A) September 19th

So far this season, the two recent away performances have a recurring theme, ironic when compared to the backs to the wall trip to Watford, which has delivered our solitary away point out of the nine available. Dominance of the ball, an abundance of chances, but nothing to show for it.

Cheered on by a staggering just shy of three thousand greens, with only the obsessed few seeking to embarrass their self-appointed nemesis by their bizarre choice of dress up for the day, Argyle looked for a superhero performance from their side in the lair of The Riddler and Two Face. Unfortunately, rather than Batman we got Suicide Squad and, forty-five seconds in, for the second time this season a decent save from Hazard which could have dropped at the feet of Miller, instead became the perfect assist, this time landing on the head of Holmes.

One nil down in less than a minute became two after just shy of the half hour, when Canadian international Millar cut inside KKH to rifle home after a misplaced pass from Whittaker was turned over with ease on halfway.

Despite the fast start beloved of our former leader when he began his spell at Home Park, it was far from one way traffic. Preston were forced to show their considerable and commendable defensive mettle and Woodman made goal saving saves from Mumba and a rampant KKH.

In the second half, with Houghton and Whittaker pulling the strings, Argyle continued to dominate, and a precise flowing move cut though the divisions meanest defence, Cundle supplying the deft touch for Hotdog’s mustard finish around the hour mark.

The Green wave continued to break on the Preston beachhead, whose defence was dogged and desperate at times, but which held out for a hard-fought victory. They finished the game with a cramped-up man of the match Millar hobbling around after a series of shoring up substitutions left them unable to replace him, but Argyle were unable to find the finish their approach play deserved. In truth only a brilliant save by Hazard prevented a second debutant goal, this time from Osmajic. North End also hit the post from Potts (albeit the flag was up for an offside Osmajic), but in the end it was another undeserved defeat and a journey home with plenty of time to wonder what might have been.

There were still the tedious (to us) fist pumps to endure, and the consideration that rather than Two Face, perhaps our managerial miscreant was more like fellow Arkham villain Clayface, whose alter ego was the all too appropriate Preston Payne.

No time to lick our wounds and feel sorry though, as Tuesday night sees an even larger insurgency of close to three and half thousand head to Ashton Gate, as we leave behind the Riddler and co and visit the home of the Robins.

Having played at the long-standing home of one of the oldest League clubs, time therefore to visit one of the youngest. Most City fans will talk about their long and proud history and formation in 1894 as Bristol South End. For a team that proudly entitles is fan site as One Team in Bristol, it overlooks the fact that the club adopted the name Bristol City at a meeting in Bedminster Somerset, before merging with Bedminster FC in 1900 just before it joined the Football League. So far, so historic, but what is this strange appending of the year 1982 to the club’s name?

In reality, the current version of Bristol City came into existence in only 1982, after the previous club, following three successive relegations from their heyday of a trip to the top tier collapsed under a mountain of debt and was declared bankrupt. The new club was formed and acquired the contracts of the players, with a notable group, known as the Ashton Gate Eight, agreeing to take a massive reduction in their contracted terms in order to allow the effective takeover to be completed. So, this current club is up there with the likes of AFC Wimbledon in the age stakes, but for the sake of neighbourliness (as Neighbours has appeared back on UK screens just in time for this fixture) we will treat the two clubs as one slightly interrupted single entity.

The merger with Bedminster that was designed to create one of the strongest teams in the South of England was initially a success. Only the third team from South of Birmingham, on arrival in the league the club won the Division Two in 1906 winning a record thirty of thirty-eight games and fourteen wins in a row. Preston North End, by coincidence did the same in 1950/1. Can you imagine how tired RL’s biceps will be if they were do that again? This was all the more impressive in that the City squad was built with a transfer kitty of just £40 by Sam Hollis. Even more ironic is that, due to FFP restrictions, that is almost the exact same amount Nigel Pearson was handed to rebuild his squad in the last transfer window after the multi million pound sales of Alex Scott and Antoine Semenyo to Bournemouth.

The following season they were runners up behind Newcastle United and in 1909 were runners up in the FA Cup to Manchester United. As football took a grip nationally, they were relegated back to the second and then third tiers, but by the time the First World War broke out they were one of only two southern sides to have finished in the top two of the League.

Argyle's meetings with City before the war tended to divide on territorial ground with Argyle winning all their home games and pretty much losing all the away ones. There tended to be goals aplenty, with one wartime league fixture finishing 10-3 to Argyle. Forty-two home goals in eight matches at Home Park for Argyle, with only twelve conceded before the League resumed in 1945.

The trend continued after the war, where meetings were even more sporadic, never more so than in 1955/6 when Argyle triumphed five nil on Boxing Day, only for City to extract full revenge and go one better with a six-nil home win the following day.

The next fixture of note was in 1978, when a two-nil win for City at Home Park in the Anglo Scottish Cup pre group B saw them progress and Argyle eliminated. City went on the clinch this inconsequential trophy by beating St Mirren, managed by a fledgling Alex Ferguson over two legs. In what may be a unique achievement, City have continued to hoover up the “trophies that really don’t matter but sometimes get you to Wembley”, winning the Freight Rover Trophy in 1986, the 2003 Leyland Daf Cup, and the Johnsons Paint Trophy in 2014. They missed the chance to go nap in 2000 when they blew the Auto Windshield trophy against Stoke City.

Argyle clinched a promotion in 1986 with a thumping four nil home win against City, which we will revisit in the home game preview, but the games at Ashton Gate require that we focus on the other end of the pitch a little. Hardly a shock as Nigel Pearson, who is about to undergo back surgery, has some history with keeper selection and Argyle. In his first job as a manager, he was tasked with the unenviable task of keeping Carlisle United in the Football League. The task was made somewhat more challenging when his chairman sold their only fit goalkeeper on deadline day. Pearson scrambled and brought in a loan signing by the name of Jimmy Glass. He was to prove pivotal in their survival, but as all Argyle (and most other football fans) know, not so much for his saves against the Greens but for his injury time winner scored from a corner.

Back problems are also a factor when reviewing the all too short Argyle career of Robert Te Loeke. Signed by Derek Adams as a back-up to Super Luke, Te Loeke made his Argyle debut at Ashton Game in a League Cup tie and after a mere twenty-eight minutes had fished the ball out of the net three times. In all the unfortunate Te Loeke was beaten five times by a rampant City and barring a Football League Trophy game against Chelsea U21’s that was his Argyle, and sadly, his football career, done and dusted. Injuries, specifically a back injury, possibly aggravated that evening, were to retire him from the game.

One player’s entire Argyle career was his performance against City at Ashton Gate. Loaned in from Leicester City, Rab Douglass, the Scottish International answered Argyles goalkeeper emergency in March 2008, and was instrumental, along with recalled striker Rory Fallon’s brace of goals with an unexpected away win (Argyle’s first at Ashton Gate since 1931), only being beaten by a dodgy Lee Trundle penalty.Douglas, who spent much of that season on various loans, never made the breakthrough at Leicester and returned North of the border. He retired from the game and was later declared bankrupt after involvement in a tax avoidance scheme, and now writes for the Dundee Courier.

Argyles last trip to the Robins was a League Cup win, by a single Songo’o goal, and whilst no doubt said red, red robin will be bob, bob bobbing along to the tune of the 1920’s Harry Wood hit, the club had a number of other nicknames, from the prosaic Reds or Citizens, to the slightly more obscure Garabaldians.

Unlike Readings “Biscuitmen” this has nothing to do with twice baked (or even as might be more likely with Pearson as boss), half baked pre match treats. The red shirts of City were likened to those of right wing nationalist Italian politician Giuseppe Garibaldi’s followers. Fortunately for City the closest they ever got to a right-wing Italian nationalist at the club was Paolo di Canio’s brief and turbulent managerial stint at Swindon Town.

The club were also known in the early twenties as the Bristol Babe, the same names the small bi-plane manufactured by the Bristol Aircraft company and reflecting their steep and meteoric rise, although the initial evidence is that the nickname reflected their newness to the League. Certainly there are cigarette cards reflecting this name that predate the aircraft e.g Ogdens Club Nicknames from 1909) but the nickname stuck around until the 1940's. Gradually, however the Robin has taken over, much as it has in English back gardens, aided by its Christmas card image, more than its aggressive chasing out of other rival birds.

In more recent seasons Argyle have been grateful for the steady stream of young loan players who have travelled Westwards, including Joe Bryan, Bobby Reid before he started playing the Decordova, and Paul Arnold Garita, who managed to score at St James Park to secure his place in Argyle folklore, before almost costing the Greens a game at Anfield in the cup with possibly one of the worst ever penalties taken by an Argyle player, in the cup replay at Newport County.

We may well also reacquaint ourselves with Zac Vyner who had a popular spell in the Argyle defence and who is now an established senior player at the Gate.

City have a small injury crisis, which extends beyond their crutch bound manager, but are a well established Championship side and presently sit a few places, and two points above Argyle, although the encumbrance of the live League table has been removed from Pasoti to allow the club to start climbing again. City have yet to win at home this season, Argyle yet to win away.

With Neil Warnock announcing he is to step aside from Huddersfield after the Stoke City game, neatly making himself available for later in the season when he will be doubtless be appointed to rescue, er, Huddersfield, and Ryan Lowe having established Preston as this year’s QPR, who were racing away at the top, this time last season, the Managerial sack race has well and truly fired the starting gun.

Time to trust the process and enjoy the fact that we have a managerial team that knows how to fine tune a side that is this close to being a contender.

COYG!!!!
 
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