“RING out the bells again/Like we did when spring began…”
As the Pilgrims’ final last match in September approaches, Argyle have one last chance to rid themselves of a crazy, maddening, inexplicable and unwanted statistical blip that has followed them for what will be one day over three years by the time we kick off against Mansfield.
We go to the One Call Stadium on Saturday, having not managed to win a Sky Bet League game in the month of September since the 27th of the month in 2016 – 16 matches ago.
The last time we achieved a three-point haul in September was when we won 2-0 away at Leyton Orient in a match in which the hosts lost two players to red cards and another to an injury inside the first 14 minutes. Goals from Jimmy Spencer and Ryan Donaldson gave us the points in the capital.
From that day, until now, Argyle have played 16 times in September and have come away with just four points from four draws, two of which have been 0-0s.
We have scored five times and conceded 15 across that period, two goals more at home than away, despite having played more often away from home.
Our unlucky run started with a 2-1 loss away to Walsall on September 2, 2017, when Graham Carey scored, followed by a 1-0 defeat at home to MK Dons in which Carey was sent off.
Blackpool made the trip South three days later and prevailed 3-1, with Ryan Edwards this time seeing red. Our only point in September 2017-18 came against Bury in a 0-0 draw at Gigg Lane, a match in which Ryan Lowe was a second-half substitute.
That was followed by losses at home to Doncaster (0-3), when Sonny Bradley was dismissed, and at Wigan (0-1) and Bristol Rovers (1-2) where Gary Miller became the fourth Pilgrim to be sent off during the month.
Rovers were the only side we took a point off the following September, drawing 0-0 at the Mem, while losing at Portsmouth (0-3), Charlton (1-2) and at home to Blackpool (0-1) and Doncaster (2-3), both for the second September running.
Since Ryan Lowe’s appointment we have fared better, gaining two points courtesy of a pair of 2-2 draws. The first of those was at home to Oldham, followed by a trip to face a stubborn Crawley team who equalised with five minutes to spare. Defeats have come at Port Vale (0-1) by a solitary goal and, most recently, at home to Cheltenham Town.
Our previous longest run of games in the EFL without a September win was a mere 11 games. A hoodoo that started with a very respectable point away to Leeds United on September 16, 1953 but was not broken until Peter Anderson netted the only goal of the game against Hull City on September 3, 1955.
With 36 games remaining this season, Saturday’s League Two encounter against Mansfield will represent the tenth time that we have played on the road in the ninth month and our last chance to break the record for another 12 months – only a win will do!