Bristol City 1 Plymouth Argyle 2: Fallon gives the perfect response to cheeky barb

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The Independent Football

Rory Fallon is a man of God who takes life very seriously, so he did not appreciate the barbed half-time comments from the Bristol City manager Gary Johnson.

Johnson, a man who likes a laugh, once helped Fallon reignite his Swindon career when he took him on loan at Yeovil but he couldn't help winding up the New Zealand-born striker as the teams left the field.

Fallon had just tucked away his first goal seconds before the interval whistle when the Robins manager gave the goalscorer a piece of his cheeky, Cockney mind. What was actually said was not revealed by both men afterwards but Fallon's sombre attitude, despite his two goals knocking City off the top of the table and popping Plymouth back in the play-off zone, told its own story.

He said: "We had words at half-time and it spurred me on for the second half to get that second goal. It was just a wind-up really and I don't hold any grudges against anyone so fair play to him. I'm just thankful for the win really. I can't see why we can't reach the play-offs because we have beaten Bristol City away – one of the hardest games you can win and we are going to get confidence from this."

Johnson, clearly upset by the manner of his team's first reverse in nine games, shrugged off Fallon's criticism. He said: "Rory hasn't played enough games for Plymouth this season to have an opinion." The Robins missed the manager's midfield playmaker son, Lee Johnson, who was out with an ankle injury, because they didn't show enough guile or invention to break down the visitors' well-organised defence.

Adriano Basso, City's goalkeeper, had saved shots from Peter Halmosi and Jermaine Easter before Rab Douglas, formerly of Celtic, charged down Darren Byfield's firm effort. Fallon, who had earlier put a close-range header wide, was on hand right on half-time to slot home Gary Teale's pass and on the hour made it 2-0 when he deflected home Paul Connolly's header from Teale's corner.

Douglas certainly earned his one-match bonus fee when he caught Nick Carle's 25-yard effort but was beaten from the penalty spot by substitute Lee Trundle after Easter had stopped Michael McIndoe's free-kick with his hand.

Stoke took over the leadership on goal difference from City but a defiant Johnson said: "You are talking to a manager joint top of the table, not one who is in the relegation zone wondering where we go from here. We know we have to turn it around a little bit."

Goals: Fallon (45) 0-1; Fallon (59) 0-2; Trundle pen (74) 1-2.

Bristol City (4-4-2): Basso; Orr, Carey, Fontaine (Vasko, 67), McAllister; Wilson (Sproule, h-t), Elliott, Carle, McIndoe; Adebola, Byfield (Trundle, 70). Substitutes not used: Murray, Weale (gk).

Plymouth Argyle (4-4-2): Douglas; Connolly, Anderson, Seip, Sawyer; Teale (Abdou, 78), Clark, Wotton, Halmosi (Nallis, 70); Easter (Mackie, 78), Fallon. Substitutes not used: MacLean, Hodges.

Referee: A Bates (Staffordshire).

Man of the match: Fallon.

Attendance: 19,011.