Plymouth Argyle 1 Bristol City 1: Plymouth ready to repel Holloway's raiding party

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The Independent Football

One would always expect a certain degree of animosity when a team classed as your derby rivals come to town, although interestingly the brunt of Plymouth's bad feeling was not being aimed at Bristol City on Saturday evening but rather a Bristolian who until recently was something of a hero at Home Park.

It is fair to say that Ian Holloway, the manager who recently legged it to Leicester, is no longer a revered Pilgrim, particularly after his incendiary comments on Friday that, "I'm going to come back for every player I signed down there." When asked to respond to his predecessor's threat, Paul Sturrock took a deep breath and said: "I am not an outspoken man."

The implication was clear, however, and so he maintains will be the answer when "any ex-manager who may fancy several of our players" comes knocking in next month's transfer window. "They will only be leaving this club under Paul Sturrock prices," he said. "And those prices will be hefty."

On Saturday, especially in the first half, you could see why. The main target of Holloway whose main gripe seems to be with the Argyle board, who he apparently believes was on the brink of breaking up his squad is David Norris and the winger was influential in helping his side gain the advantage over Bristol City.

That they could not hold on was perhaps as much down to tired legs on the saturated surface as much as the spirited comeback from the visitors. The bizarre own-goal from their central defender Krisztian Timar will be played and replayed, though certainly not by Romain Larrieu. The Plymouth goalkeeper really did not deserve to see his line breached in a second-half when his contribution verged on the spectacular.

The Frenchman has one of the game's more uplifting stories, having beaten cancer last year only to return to discover he was to be farmed out on loan. He set about proving himself again and eventually convinced Holloway he was his principal No 1. But it still must be doubted whether Larrieu is on his former gaffer's shopping list. On this evidence he should be.

Scoring: Ebanks-Blake pen (23) 1-0; Timar og (71) 1-1.

Plymouth Argyle (4-3-3): Larrieu, Connolly, Timar, Seip, Hodges; Norris, Abdou, Nalis; Halmosi, Easter (Fallon 77), Ebanks-Blake (Chadwick 75). Substitutes not used: McCormick (gk), Doumbe, Gosling.

Bristol City (4-4-2): Basso; Orr, Carey, McCombe, Fontaine; Sproule (Skuse 85), Elliott, Johnson, McIndoe; Noble (Trundle 46), Showunmi (Byfield 67). Substitutes not used: Weale (gk), McAllister.

Referee: P Dowd (Staffordshire).

Booked: Plymouth Nalis, Connolly.

Man of the match: Larrieu.

Attendance: 16,530.

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