Derek's Deadly Dozen

ARGYLE’s 3-2 victory over Bristol Rovers on Saturday took the Pilgrims back into the Sky Bet League One play-off places with just nine matches of the season to go – and secured the best start to a calendar year in Pilgrims’ history.

A brace from Jamie Ness topped off by a Graham Carey penalty was enough to see the Greens through a thrilling encounter. The result meant that Argyle have lost only one of their last 17 matches.

Since the turn of the year, Argyle have played 12 EFL matches winning nine, drawing two  and losing just one. This has seen a points yield of 29 points in the process. 

The year 2018 has been particularly impressive considering some of the teams the Pilgrims have beaten along the way: top-half teams Blackburn, Bradford and Shrewsbury have all succumbed, unable to halt the Argyle push. 

All of that makes this is the best opening dozen games of a calendar year in the club’s history. In both 1952 and 2002, the Pilgrims won nine, drew one and lost two of their opening 12. In 1952, Argyle achieved seven victories on the spin since the turn of the year including a 2-1 victory over Exeter City. Argyle achieved promotion at the end of the 1951-52 season after finishing as champions. In 2002 the Pilgrims also achieved promotion winning the division with 102 points.  Their impressive results after the turn of the calendar year saw victories over Hull, Swansea and Exeter. 

Other notable starts to a calendar year after twelve EFL matches include 1927, where there were memorable victories against Aberdare (6-5) and Crystal Palace (7-1), and 1973 where Argyle won eight times, drew three and lost once including a 6-0 win over Rochdale.   

The Pilgrims will be looking to continue their outstanding form when they travel to fellow play-off hopefuls Charlton on Saturday. Argyle manger Derek Adams believes the Pilgrims are now fighting for two play-off positions, and cannot wait to see the Green Army in their thousands at the Valley. 

Adams said: “I think that’s probably the case with nine games to go and Scunthorpe with eight games to go. It looks like there is two places up for grabs now which makes it interesting. There was a point where there was only going to be one place up for grabs but it looks like two now. 

“It’s very tight, you only need to have a run like we have. You look at the likes of Scunthorpe and Bradford, they have had bad runs over the last number of games and we have been able to have a good one. 

“It’s unbelievable support to take to Charlton. We know we have large numbers of support from all over the country. There is a good number in the London branch, which is good proximity for them for the Charlton game. But it’s a magnificent turn out for a league game. It always is when the Green Army travel in their numbers and they are very vocal and will be on Saturday.”