On 90 mins at Home Park Plymouth’s Hiram Boateng calmly strolled in after a free kick totally unmarked and must of thought to himself.
‘I’ll just side foot this into an empty net for three points net shall I, thanks very much, huge knee slid’. Yates would have been distraught after his side had given 100%.
A visit to Home Park has always been on the agenda so going down there with Crawley Town last Saturday was an easy decision to make. In fact after their Newport win it was a trip to very much look forward to. It reflected ground 83 on route to the 92 club. I cheerfully boarded the GH Coaches (an alternative to CTSA) mini bus at 6.30am with drivers Alain Harper and Kevin Giles at the wheel. In the dark we made our way up the M23 around the M25 and down the M3. It was just getting light as we passed Stonehenge on route to a real treasure of a break at the Kings Arms in pretty Buckfastleigh (Devon). The pub really looked after us with a nice buffet and free games of pool. Many thanks to them and to Alain for finding the place.
In perfect Indian Summer conditions we pulled into Home Park at 2.20pm. Argyle look to be a proper old fashion club with a decent fan base many of whom are bussed in from all parts of Devon and Cornwall. Great atmosphere around the stadium, just a few red shirts in the sea of green. Ivor Blunden, a grand gentlemen and a West Stand Season ticket holder and I went off to by a ticket but the queue stretched a long way. We then found out that it was cash on the door. (£22)
92 Crawley fans were housed in the Barn Park end, part of the 2001 redevelopment package. A wonderful job they have made of it. The structure neatly curves around 3 sides providing very comfortable under cover accommodation. However I would imagine at every older Plymouth regular will probably point to the Mayflower Stand as being the jewel in the family crown. The old double decker Grand Stand built in 1952 at Home Park is a dying bred here in England. It still plays a major role housing 3000 fans, offices, boardroom and changing rooms. I hope there are no plans to knock it down !
Top of the League Plymouth played very well in the 1st half, finding space at will and producing a lot of enticing crosses from the left. We didn’t see a lot of our lads down our end as they were mainly on defensive duties. It looked as though Town might survive until the break but a neat one two (43 mins) left Reid bearing down on the Crawley keeper. One nil at the break. Yates had them fired up after half time. Town committed a lot more bodies forward causing problems in the hosts defence. Whilst there were real clear cut chances the ball kept flashing into the penalty area. That was until the 85 min when after an almighty great scramble Deacon somehow managed to stab the ball past a load of strewn bodies into the net. Not pretty but wild celebrations ensued in the away pen. BUT, sport can kick you at any time. See opening line !
It was a bit of a heads down shuffle back to the mini bus. A point would of been massive in the context of the game and Town’s position in the league. But after all that effort it was nothing.
On the way back we stopped at Andover New Street Fc’s ground to watch England take on Australia in the rugby world cup. Well, we all know what happened at Twickenham . A national disgrace! And just to rub salt in the wounds Burgess Hill Town FC went down one nil at home in the Ryman Premier league.
Thanks to Alan Kevin and the GH guys for a great day out and a safe journey back to Sussex. It was a day for looking beyond events on the turf.
Costs £20 travel, £22 ticket, £20 refreshments and programme.
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