Green Barmy: Gordon Sparks on a famous win over Manchester City
IF YOU are older than 25, can you remember where you were a quarter of a century ago?
Does it seem a lifetime away?
Given Plymouth Argyle's current perilous position in the Football League standings, a look back in time to 1988 seems like a different world.
The Pilgrims were playing in what was then called Division Two, one division below the top flight.
BUY ONE GET ONE FREE - Medium Cod, Chips & Mushy Peas at...View details
Simply Purchase a Medium Cod, Chips and Mushy Peas and receive another portion for FREE.
Sustainable Cod, Fresh Cut Chips & Proper Mushy Peas.
Visit Our Website for more information and offers
Terms: Offer valid only with this Voucher, 1 voucher Per Customer. Not for use with any other offer, Not transferable to other menu items
Contact: 01752 421044
Valid until: Thursday, June 27 2013
The side managed by Dave Smith was far from struggling, two seasons after winning promotion.
The fixture list included the likes of Birmingham City, West Bromwich Albion, Ipswich Town, Leeds United, Blackburn Rovers and Aston Villa.
It may come as a surprise that the eventual winners of the division were Millwall.
But there was one other big name heading to Home Park 25 years ago – Manchester City.
Argyle went into the match on the back of two successive league defeats.
After handsomely brushing aside Leicester City 4-0, a 3-1 reverse at home against Reading was followed by a single goal loss at West Bromwich Albion.
But there was some respite with an FA Cup third round win over Colchester United.
City were managed by Mel Machin, a man with a wealth of experience as a player, who originally joined the club's coaching staff as chief coach after a similar role at Norwich City.
Machin became manager at the start of the 1987-88 season, with City's board of directors keen for an immediate return to Division One.
City were 10th in the division, with Argyle three places and six points below them, and comfortably away from the relegation zone.
The two sides had already met twice that season, and both encounters were in the north west.
The first match of the season saw a 2-1 defeat before a more humbling 6-2 defeat in November in the much- maligned Simod Cup.
But now Argyle faced a sixth league meeting at Home Park against City on what was a heavy playing surface.
The opening goal went to City, who were unbeaten away from home since mid-October.
With 13 minutes played, Paul Stewart took his season's tally to a very impressive 21 with the first serious chance of the game.
At the other end of the pitch, City looked more than comfortable with anything Argyle could throw their way.
On the half-hour mark, City increased their hold on the game with a swift move that turned defence into attack.
Former Tottenham Hotspur and Bolton Wanderers midfielder Neil McNab scored the second and home supporters could have been forgiven for thinking the destiny of the points was now decided.
In the dressing room during the interval, the situation called for Smith to rally his troops like never before.
Smith made a double substitution to start the second half and his decision to use both his available replacements paved the way for a remarkable comeback.
Dougie Anderson and Steve Cooper were replaced by Kevin Summerfield and beanpole forward Stewart Evans as Argyle simply had to take the game to City.
John Matthews, always with a sharp eye for the perfect delivery, had a hand in the game's next two goals as Argyle took the game to their more illustrious opponents.
After 64 minutes, his corner from the right was headed down by substitute Evans.
Despite being close to goal, Tommy Tynan scored in spectacular fashion. A perfect connection sent an overhead kick to the underside of the bar to bounce over the line to reduce the deficit.
Tynan immediately looked to the linesman on the grandstand side, but he had no need to worry as he was already signalling the ball had clearly crossed the line.
Momentum was certainly with the Greens, and just a minute later the scores were level with Matthews sending in another inviting corner, this time from the left.
As he often did, central defender Mark Smith advanced up the pitch for the set piece.
Argyle's record signing connected with a header that flew past goalkeeper Eric Nixon to bring the game back into the balance at 2-2.
The assurance of City's first half display had gone as Argyle sent more attacks in their direction.
The winner came five minutes from time, instigated by Leigh Cooper's burst down the left. His cross looped into the penalty area to be met by Evans who, in full stride, found the target with a shot he did well to keep low.
Smith, knowing his tactical masterstroke had worked, could not be contain his delight and was given a friendly reminder from the linesman not to stray from his technical area as the home support mirrored his joy.
Argyle: Steve Cherry, John Brimacombe, Leigh Cooper, Adrian Burrows, Nicky Marker, Mark Smith, Kevin Hodges, John Matthews, Tommy Tynan, Steve Cooper (Stewart Evans), Dougie Anderson (Kevin Summerfield)
City: Eric Nixon, John Gidman, Andy Hinchcliffe, Clements, Ian Brightwell (Paul Simpson), Steve Redmond, David White, Paul Stewart, Tony Adcock (Imre Varadi), Neil McNab, Paul Lake