Rovers Revisit

THIS Sunday’s FA Cup trip to the Memorial Stadium is the 141st meeting between Argyle and Bristol Rovers, a typically feisty Westcountry Derby with games dating back to as early as the 1903-04 season.

But how do the two teams fare against each other in this weekend’s competition, the prestigious Emirates FA Cup?   

Argyle’s first meeting with their Westcountry rivals in a cup of any kind came in the 1974-75 season where a 0-0 draw at Rovers’ then Eastville stadium took the tie into an evenly-poised second leg.

In the return leg, the Gas were the victors as striker Alan Warboys scored in the 86th-minute, taking his side through to the second round of the Football League Cup.

The first FA cup encounter came six years later when, once again, a draw was played out at the Eastville stadium [2-2 draw], taking the replay back to Home Park.

Argyle grabbed the initiative this time through full-back Mike McCartney’s strike, his solitary goal sending the Greens through to the third round, five days before Christmas.

The next encounter in the competition is one that Argyle fans may have chosen to forget. A 5-0 win for Rovers at Bath City’s Twerton park in January 1992.

Reading does not get much easier from a Green perspective, the two teams drawing each other out of the hat on four occasions in the world’s oldest competition, (including this weekend's tie) with Rovers winning two out of the three previously played. Argyle’s only victory coming in the aforementioned 1-0 win.

However, excluding the 5-0 anomaly in 1992, scorelines in the FA Cup show close encounters between the two sides with the other two ties going to a replay.

Argyle’s last visit to the Memorial Stadium in the FA Cup, was by no means a memorable one in terms of result, losing 3-2 in December 2001, with fans favourite David Friio bagging a brace for the Pilgrims in a second-round replay.

To rub salt into the wounds for Argyle fans, Rovers went on to shock Premier League Derby in the third round 1-3, eventually being knocked out by Gillingham in the next round.

But, such is the magic of the FA Cup, anything can happen.