QPR (2) – Plymouth Argyle (2) – ‘And Substitute Richard Pacquette Exploited the Surplus Minutes to Strike Home a Spectacular Leveller’

League Division Two

Team: Royce, Forbes, Shittu, Palmer, Williams, Doudou, Bircham, Rose, Thomas, Furlong, Gallen

Attendance: 14,001

Plymouth Argyle were the visitors to Loftus Road on 31stAugust 2002. The match programme was dedicated to the memory of Daphne Biggs. Mike Berry wrote the following match report for the Telegraph:

‘Plymouth are making a splash on their return to Division Two, and not only because of their gaudy, tangerine away kit.

The future may well be orange, but four wins and a draw after an opening defeat at Mansfield has put the Pilgrims in the pink. 

A banner extolling the United Colours of Argyle paid homage to the cosmopolitan nature of the English game in deepest Devon, though it may not require the appendage of another national flag to welcome Friday’s arrival of left-back HasneyAljofree.

Though of Singapore descent, the new recruit from Dundee United hails from Manchester. 

Aljofree quickly acquainted himself with a Plymouth side whose modus operandi on their travels is for begrudging surrender.

That said, they retreated into their shelf far too readily to defend a two-goal lead, and as a consequence they forfeited on taking over the top of the table. 

Rangers were allowed to squirm off the hook, an explosive equaliser coming midway five added minutes through, most of which had been totted up for Argyle’s stalling tactics. 

“I hated the way they deliberately wasted time,” Ian Holloway, the Rangers manager, said, “but their goalkeeper was outstanding, and it took something special to beat him.”

The goalkeeper in question, Romain Larrieu, was the chief culprit in squandering every second, though Gallic tardiness was to have unforeseen repercussions.

Arsenal’s Jerome Thomas, who spent the tail-end of last season at Loftus Road, celebrated his return by rifling Rangers a lifeline, and substitute Richard Pacquette exploited the surplus minutes to strike home a spectacular leveller.

Plymouth, looking to follow the lead of Rotherham and Brighton in pursuing back-to-back promotions, left Mickey Evans to forage alone up front, and his assist enabled David Friio to waltz through and fire the visitors ahead.

Earlier chances had gone begging as Rangers defended like strangers, but they didn’t seem to matter when Lee Hodges knocked in a second Argyle goal. 

Only then did Rangers raise the ante with loan players Tommy Williams, borrowed from Birmingham City, and the effervescent Thomas both influential in turning spark into substance.

“We were disciplined and worked hard, but Rangers had one or two impressive individuals,” Paul Sturrock, the Plymouth manager, said. “I reckon they will be in the top six at the end of the season.”

On the evidence so far, Argyle will fancy their chances of keeping them company.’

I remember that Argyle flag being displayed at the Upper School End.

Rangers went on to win 4-0 at Mansfield the following week.

Steve Russell