Green Barmy: New Year's Day festivities are often a winner for the Greens
THERE should be no heavy heads for the players of Plymouth Argyle as they travel to Bristol Rovers on New Year's Day.
The Memorial Stadium will bring back pleasant memories of last season's visit to Bristol Rovers.
Although two goals down at half-time, the Pilgrims hit back to win the Boxing Day game with goals from Warren Feeney, Nick Chadwick and Ashley Hemmings.
There was no game on New Year's Day last season, but with New Year's Eve falling on a Saturday, there was a 0-0 draw at Aldershot. That was followed by the 2-1 home defeat against Torquay United on the second day of 2012.
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But when there have been games on the first day of January in past years, there have been some memorable encounters.
Having said that, it may be best to cast aside the last New Year's Day game. It was a goalless draw with Yeovil Town at Home Park two seasons ago, a match best remembered for the sight of Paul Wotton playing against his hometown club.
As 2008 was welcomed in, the Green Army had reason to be confident of a visit to Cardiff City's Ninian Park. With a good recent record in the Welsh capital, this was a rare defeat as Joe Ledley scored the only goal of the game.
One the opening day of 2007, there was a certain sympathy for supporters of Southampton who travelled to Plymouth.
They were buoyed when Polish international striker Grzegorz Rasiak gave the Saints a fifth-minute lead.
But Ian Holloway's side provided great entertainment and were rewarded with a deserved equaliser from Barry Hayles. But his afternoon changed when, six minutes from time, he received a second yellow card from referee Kevin Wright.
An early start to the day was in order two years before that, when a trip to the Midlands paired Argyle with Wolves.
Taking advantage of the strong wind, a long range shot by South Korean Ki-Hyeon Seol's midway through the first half put the hosts ahead.
But the Pilgrims, then managed by Bobby Williamson, hit back through David Friio to shock the majority of the crowd in an attendance of just under 28,000.
In 2003, there were four Argyle scorers but a 3-1 win after defender David Worrell inadvertently gave Cheltenham Town an early lead. Parity was restored by Martin Phillips with Ian Stonebridge and David Norris securing three points.
That takes care of January 1 matches in the last decade, but what of the most notable games in history?
Local derbies can always be guaranteed to provide extra spice to a holiday fixture, but it may be surprising to learn that only two New Year's Day fixtures have been played against near rivals Exeter City.
In 1996, with Third Division points at stake, a thriller was provided.
Mark Came put the visitors in front after just two minutes, with City seemingly in cruise control just before the break. Paul Buckle, in his third spell with City, underlined their dominance by scoring a second past goalkeeper Kevin Blackwell.
But the tide turned in the second half with Ian Baird latching on to a Keith Hill free-kick that was nodded down by Ronnie Mauge.
Eleven minutes from the end, Baird, a former Leeds United striker who joined Argyle earlier in the season from Bristol City, earned hero status by snatching a dramatic point.
In Exeter in 1980, there was no less excitement, and another two-goal saviour with the Pilgrims being forced to salvage a two-goal deficit.
Trailing 2-0, an incident involving two players playing against their former clubs changed the pattern of the game. A slip by John Delve allowed Colin Randell to pull a goal back for Argyle.
Randell then scored a stunning goal from more than 25 yards in front of a crowd in excess of 10,000 at St James' Park.
For thrills and spills, the opening game of the 1986 calendar year had almost everything as Argyle and Cardiff City drew 4-4 at Home Park.
Four goals were scored and an emergency goalkeeper called into action in a seven-minute period late in the first half .
Garry Nelson put Argyle one up, but that was soon cancelled out by a future Argyle forward, Robbie Turner.
The drama increased when goalkeeper Geoff Crudgington, was forced to leave the field with blood streaming down his face after diving bravely at the feet of Tarki Micallef.
That meant defender Gordon Nisbet, who had started his football career as a goalkeeper with West Bromwich Albion, had to don the number one shirt.
Within a minute, he was picking the ball out of the net after Mike Ford's goal put Cardiff ahead.
Argyle fans knew that manager Dave Smith would instruct his side to attack at every given opportunity, and they were soon level through Kevin Summerfield.
With the only permitted substitute, John Matthews, on the field to replace Crudgington, the omens were not good.
As Crudgington was in the dressing room having a dozen stitches, the second half was played in conditions that got worse as the pitch became more of a mud bath.
City re-established a two-goal advantage thanks to Michael Vaughan and a penalty by Jimmy Mullen.
But having been unbeaten in their previous 12 home games, Argyle were determined to stretch the run.
The Cardiff goalkeeper failed to hold on to a blistering shot by Nelson only for John Clayton to pull the game back to 4-3.
Then, in stoppage time, Kevin Hodges grabbed a dramatic goal to rescue an unlikely draw.
Other notable high-scoring games on New Year's Day in years gone by have not always gone favourably for Argyle.
In Division Three (South) in 1927, the Pilgrims were beaten 6-2 by the then Bournemouth and Boscombe Athletic.
Nine years later, in Division Two, Argyle were forced to endure a mammoth trek to Newcastle United and were soundly beaten 5-0.
Cardiff receive another mention as they ran out 5-1 winners on New Year's Day 1966.
For those travelling to Bristol in three days' time, a word of advice – be prepared for thrills and spills.
The 32 competitive matches on January 1 have seen an average of 3.6 goals per game with just two scoreless matches.