Green Barmy: Gordon Sparks on Plymouth Argyle's 1984 FA Cup duel with Barnet
THE history of Plymouth Argyle's duels with this afternoon's visitors to Home Park, Barnet, is a relatively short one.
The north London side will be making only their eighth visit to Home Park in all competitions, all but one of them being in the league.
Argyle fans will be hoping for a rare double as, in October, Argyle recorded their best away win of the season with a 4-1 success at Underhill.
But there are plans for Barnet to move from their home of 106 years to a new venue at Canons Park next season.
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The Bees joined the Football League in 1991 after winning the Conference.
But the sides had met before Barnet achieved League status in the FA Cup.
It was a first round meeting in November 1984, a stark contrast to the Pilgrims' last game in the competition seven months earlier – a semi-final against Watford.
With eight of the side that played at Villa Park, plus Mark Rowe who was a non-playing substitute in the semi-final, home supporters expected a formality, despite a poor start to the season.
Barnet earned their place in the first round proper with a 3-1 home win against Boston United in the fourth qualifying round.
They may have been the underdogs, but Barnet fancied their chances against an Argyle side rooted to the foot of the Third Division table.
John Hore had been recently sacked by the Home Park board, with assistant manager Martin Harvey acting as caretaker boss.
But two days before the game, Dave Smith was unveiled as the Pilgrims' new manager.
Barnet, meanwhile, were struggling at the wrong end of the Alliance Premier League which, for the 1984-85 season was known as the Gola League.
They were managed by a man who had not created too many headlines up to that point, Barry Fry.
The non-Leaguers, although making it to the first round proper of the FA Cup, were in complete disarray off the field.
There had been recent occasions when players were not paid on time and, with creditors looking on, there was pressure to sell players.
A financial disagreement with local brewers meant the social club at Underhill had to close. That issue was eventually resolved when Fry secured a loan on his house to pay off the debt.
Barnet realised there would be a colour clash with Argyle's black shorts. The Bees had just the one set of the same colour, so Fry called in a favour from Wolverhampton Wanderers' Tommy Docherty, manager of the Old Gold club, and a set of shorts was sent from the Midlands.
The Barnet team included goalkeeper Gary Phillips, a non-League international with time spent at Brighton and Hove Albion and West Bromwich Albion.
Little did he know that days later, he would be sold to Brentford for £5,000.
Midfielder Nicky Evans was also the subject of a £4,000 offer from Nuneaton, which Fry had accepted. But Evans refused to leave the club that was being funded on away trips by collections held by supporters.
For Argyle, Geoff Crudgington returned to action after a two-month lay-off because of a broken finger.
During the veteran's absence, reserve team goalkeeper David Philp was given his senior debut before Les Sealey was signed on loan from Luton Town.
During the first half, Barnet proved they were going to make it as tough as possible for Argyle, with tough tackling and occasionally causing anxious moments through breakaway attacks.
Chances fell to leading scorer Steve Mahoney, who was already into double figures after notching 36 goals the previous season.
But his performance in front of Crudgington's goal was clearly affected by his lack of preparation for the game.
Fry admitted he dared not omit Mahoney from the side, despite the striker arriving at Home Park an hour before kick-off having driven down on the morning of the game so he could spend time with his pregnant wife.
In contrast, for Argyle Tommy Tynan was having an impressive game as he celebrated his 29th birthday.
After already having two efforts go close, the striker linked up with Gordon Staniforth to produce a shot that was turned behind for a corner by Phillips.
When Andy Rogers took the corner on the left, Staniforth nodded the ball on to the far post where Clive Goodyear met it with a diving hear to open the scoring.
With 25 minutes played, the home team knew they still had to be on their guard, and had to wait 44 minutes before adding a second.
Russell Coughlin tried his luck with a long range effort and Phillips could only push the ball away from goal. In typical fashion, Tynan pounced to turn the ball in from close range for his ninth of the campaign.
Barnet's best chance came from Ian Ferguson.
Argyle conceded a free-kick just outside their own penalty area, and although the former Wimbledon and Brentford midfielder struck it cleanly, it rebounded off the face of the crossbar.
The game had a sour end for Barnet.
Referee Howard King awarded a penalty for a handball spotted by the linesman, which was disputed by the Barnet players.
Edwin Stein – older brother of Brian and Mark – took his protests too far and received his marching orders.
Staniforth held his nerve and calmly sent Phillips the wrong way with the spot kick to ensure Argyle fans could breathe a sigh of relief at not becoming the victims of a cup upset.
Argyle: Geoff Crudgington, Gordon Nisbet, John Uzzell, Chris Harrison, Clive Goodyear, Adrian Burrows, Andy Rogers, Mark Rowe, Tommy Tynan, Gordon Staniforth, Russell Coughlin. Sub not used: Kevin Hodges.