Mickey Evans

Ambassador's Argyle Archives | No.10 | Odd Goals

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We love our unique history at Argyle, but as well as the famous games and star performers, there are many tales of the unusual. Club ambassador Gordon Sparks will be unearthing the humorous, surprising and behind the scenes tales of years gone by in this fascinating series underlining what makes our club special.

Over the years we’ve all seen goals that have been bizarre, unusual, rules of the game being questioned and the outright comedic.

I’ve picked out a top four that can certainly be classed as - well - odd ball. So in true ‘Match of the Day’ style, stick on the instrumental version of the Lightning Seeds' ‘Life of Riley’ and see if they match your thoughts on those moments that were certainly unexpected.

GOAL A | 13 March, 2004. Home Park

With Argyle top of Division Two and sailing towards the title, Swindon Town were the visitors with their chances of promotion slipping away.

Player of the Season Michael Evans stole the headlines in an incident of quick thinking and reaction for a goal that Evans scored but Evans didn’t score.


With the game delicately balanced at 1-1, Evans pressured a Swindon defender who made an attempted back-pass to goalkeeper Rhys Evans who, in a state of panic, picked up the ball eight yards from his goal. 

An indirect free-kick was immediately awarded at which point Argyle’s Evans snatched the ball from his namesake’s hands and placed it on the turf, and before the ‘keeper could retreat, kicked the ball against him and it rolled into the net as the custodian scrambled back in a failed attempt to keep it out. 

The result, a Rhys Evans own goal and all the points to The Pilgrims, plus one very embarrassed goalkeeper with presumably a face as red as the shirts of his outfield colleagues.

For more penalty area shenanigans with ingenious thinking, let’s go back a further 40 years …

GOAL B | 21 November, 1964. Home Park

A thrilling encounter against Manchester City matched a tremendous start to the season with a win taking Argyle to the dizzy heights of third place in Division Two.

It was a hotly disputed penalty that won the match. 

Included in the Argyle line-up was Tony Book who would in later years play for and manage City with another link between the two clubs provided by home manager Malcolm Allison. 

In more recent times, the likes of Johan Cruyff, Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez and other notables had used the specific piece of trickery in question, but they certainly weren’t the first.

Johnny Newman stood over the ball, and pushed it to his right but slightly forward so it was a perfectly legal touch. In doing so, he teed up Mike Trebilcock who ran on to it for his second goal of the game in which Frank Lord also hit the target. 

18-year-old goalkeeper Alan Ogley instantly pounced towards Trebilcock who lifted the ball past him and Argyle secured a 3-2 success. 

But that wasn’t the first time Argyle employed the piece of penalty perfection.  What drama it was for a retaken penalty in February 1961 against Aston Villa.

Wilf Carter’s original spot-kick, aimed directly at the target, was saved by Nigel Sims. However, the referee spotted an infringement and Newman was again involved and scored as Wilf Carter set him up in a change designed to confuse Sims in the second replay (remember them?) of the League Cup 5-3 home defeat.

GOAL C | 24 August, 2004. Huish Park, Yeovil

A first round League Cup tie for a relatively short Tuesday evening journey to Yeovil Town may have sounded like a run of the mill affair, but it made major headlines throughout the football world.

Playing in their second season in the Football League, in which they were to win promotion, the home side were keen to pit their wits against their Championship opponents.

It was the first of five goals in the tie that provided the main talking point.

The ball was put out of play following an injury to Argyle’s Graham Coughlan, and Yeovil’s intention was to return the ball to The Pilgrims. The throw was taken to Lee Johnson who aimed to lob a gentle ball downfield from near the halfway line to goalkeeper Luke McCormick. 

But way off his line, the ball sailed past him and Town took an unintentional lead that left players and spectators alike wondering if it would stand. 

The referee had to adhere to the fact the ball had been put back into play, so Yeovil manager and father of Lee, Gary Johnson, quickly gathered his players around to give immediate instructions. 

His charges were to allow Argyle to score. 

Then followed the sight of Steve Crawford almost at walking pace advance unchallenged into the opponent’s half to the reactionary applause of both sets of fans who realised the scenario unfolding.

Johnson junior went on to complete a hat-trick in extra-time - Paul Wotton had earlier scored a penalty - to give Yeovil a 3-2 win. 

GOAL D | 9 November, 1968. Holker Street, Barrow

The first of only two visits to the Cumbrian side provided one of the most extraordinary goals ever to be seen on a football pitch when referee Ivan Robinson became an unlikely and unwanted headline maker.

The Third Division game was evenly poised without a goal until Barrow won a corner. It was met by George McClean who drilled a shot which was heading wide of the target, but hit the man in charge.

The ball then flew past stranded goalkeeper Pat Dunne and unbelievably into the net.

Mr Robinson explained to reporters after the match that he saw the ball heading straight for him. But in attempting to jump out of the way, it struck the inside of his left foot.

Many of Billy Bingham’s players stood motionless for quite a while not believing what they had witnessed, but there were no protests. They knew the rule.

After the unusual sight of being engulfed by jubilant Barrow fans at the final whistle, the man in black apologised as much as he could to the Argyle side but re-emphasised that there was nothing he could do to cancel the goal as the laws of the game stated the referee was part of the field of play. 

Of course, today’s regulations would have resulted in a totally different outcome if the ball had touched the referee.  But McLean was officially credited with the goal. 

Is there an unusual goal you remember? We’d love to know. Please comment on the Argyle Facebook or Twitter post linked to this article and share your memory with fellow fans.

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