They had played each other three times already in the 1987/88 season and Plymouth must have been sick of the sight of Maine Road when they were drawn together for the fifth round tie and the opportunity to progress to the quarter finals.
The blues had already won 2-1 at Maine Road on the opening day of the season and thrashed them 6-2 when the Pilgrims arrived in November, just days after City had hammered ten past Huddersfield, while in the league at Home Park, Coty had led 2-0 at the break but Plymouth had fought back to win the game 3-2.
The visitors had brought a good following to Maine Road as Plymouth attempted to stop the blues reaching their second quarter final of the season, following their League Cup quarter Final exit at Everton a few weeks earlier.
But the visiting fans heads dropped when Ian Scott gave the blues the lead after dominating possession in the first half. City had created a few chances but Scott’s header in front of the Platt Lane end gave City a lead they kept until half time
In the second half, City threatened to run riot with Plymouth hardly in the game and it seemed like Mel Machin’s men wanted to inflict a heavy defeat on the team that had beaten them in the early part of the year.
Paul Simpson, as he had been for most of the season, was a constant threat down the left hand side and he almost doubled City’s lead when his run and left foot shot cannoned off the upright and away to safety.
But Simpson was not to be denied. Making a similar run, the winger again darted into the box and, in exactly the same position, thumped his shot beyond the Plymouth keeper and made it 2-0.
But within minutes, the Pilgrims were back in the game. City failed to clear a corner and suddenly the score was 2-1. With the visiting supporter’s encouragement, Plymouth pressed for an equaliser which would mean a replay at Home Park. In the dying minutes, Plymouth won a corner and sent everyone forward apart from the keeper.
City cleared the ball to a waiting Simpson, who ran almost the entire length of the field but hit his shot against the keeper. The rebound though fell kindly to City sub Paul Moulden, who gratefully buried the rebound and secured City’s quarter final appearance against Liverpool.
Final Score: City 3-1 Plymouth
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