Plymouth Argyle v Posh FA Cup 2nd Rd 9 Dec 1992
Venue: Home Park, Plymouth
Score: Plymouth Argyle 3 v Peterborough Utd 2
Referee: Paul Durkin.
The announcement at Home Park was brief and to the point. Posh and the FA Cup have agreed to go their separate ways.
It appeared to be mutual consent. Posh certainly did little to keep the relationship intact until it was far too late.
Goals from Tony Philliskirk and Worrell Sterling in the last 15 minutes proved face savers rather than life savers.
Peter Shilton’s Plymouth had done all the damage much earlier when the defence was all at sea to guarantee an attractive third round spot at Premier Division Ipswich Town.
And that wasn’t altogether surprising considering Posh central defender Lee Howarth was joined on the sidelines by creative midfielder Gary Cooper.
But it was still disappointingto see so much nailve work from the back four.
No individual was to blme. Collectively they attempted tp hold the line far roo forward – against the pace of top Plymouth striker Dwight Marshall it proved suicidal.
By employing quick balls behind the Posh defence Plymouth should have been well ahead by the half hour mark.
Steve Welsh and emergency centre half Darren Bradshaw were both lucky to see despearte grabs at fleeing green jerseys go punished only be free kicks.
Recalled Noel Luke (twice) and goalkeeper Ian Bennett produced remarkable goalline clearances to deny Adrian Burrows, Marshall and Paul Dalton within the space of three minutes.
On one of his mny gallops clear of labouring opposition Marshall even skipped round Bennett only to shoot wide to the delighted howls of the hardy Posh faithful.
They were soon silenced when the same player scored twice in rapid succession.
On 34 minutes he strtched athletically to convert Dalton’s left wing cross – a move ironically started when Dominic Iorfa, starting only his second Posh game, lost possession following a promising burst into the Plymouth half.
Three minutes later Marshall darted in after Bennett and Welsh disagreed on the action required to deal with a hopeful punt forward.
Marshall then came close to a speedy hat-trick by clipping the bar minutes before Sterling shot wide from Posh’s only opening of the half.
Sterling was probably Posh’s best attacker, but a failure to escape an off-side trap halted most moves.
Philliskirk missed the target narrowly at the start of the second half, but it was the introduction of Bobby Barnes for Iorfa that put life into Posh.
Barnes proved the importance of quality crosses by planting one onto Philliskirk’s head 15 minutes from time.
And Sterling collected Philliskirk’s chest pass before beating Shilton’s goalkeeping deputy Ray Newlands at the near postbarely three minutes later – unfortunately more defensive bungling enabled Steve Castle to force Marshall’s header over the line in between.
Remarkably, Posh still almost got back on terms.
Philliskirk dallied too long looking for his favoured left foot when released by Marcus Ebdon and Newland made a super save from one of his own defenders after an excellent low cross from Philliskirk had caused a touch of panic.
But an equaliser would have been an injustice. Not even the toss of a coin could have saved certain defeat in this tie.
Posh skipper Steve Welsh was not happy with the defence’s performance and summed it up by saying, “We defended like amateurs. We can’t expect the forward players to pull us out of trouble every week.”
The Posh: Ian Bennett, Darren Bradshaw, Ronnie Robinson, Mick Halsall, Noel Luke, Steve Welsh, Worrell Sterling, Dominic Iorfa (sub Bobby Barnes), Tony Adcock, Tony Philliskirk and Marcus Ebdon.
Unused sub: Graham Retallick.
Plymouth Argyle: Newland, Poole, Morgan, Hill, Burrows, Gardner, Barlow, Castle, Nugent, Marshall and Dalton.
Unused subs: Edworthy and P. Adcock.
Goal scorers: The Posh – Tony Philliskirk 75 mins and Worrell Sterling 76 mins. Plymouth Argyle – Marshall (2) 34 mins & 37 mins and Castle 75 mins.