A year on and Argyle are still looking over their shoulders
Just under 12 months ago – on January 2, 2012 – Torquay United fans sang their way out of Home Park in "pinch me" mood, writes David Thomas.
Their team had just completed the club's first derby "double" over Plymouth Argyle for more than 40 years.
They were moving smoothly up League Two, having just beaten leaders Swindon Town at Plainmoor on Boxing Day.
The 2-1 victory over the Pilgrims – few doubted that they deserved it – proved to be the first of seven successive wins that carried them into the automatic promotion places.
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From then on, it was a question of whether the Gulls could go up. They did not.
Argyle got stuck into the business of avoiding relegation. They did.
A year on, Argyle are still looking over their shoulders at the bottom two, while United are in a large bunch of clubs within a couple of points of the play-offs zone.
Expectation levels have risen at Plainmoor, so defeat on Wednesday would be as much of a setback now as victory was inspiring a year ago.
In many ways, and in a game which has a pivotal feel to it, surely the pressure is slightly greater on Argyle.
The gnawing worry of the "drop" really starts to eat into a club from now on.
The fact is that Argyle do look much harder to beat these days – an absolutely vital first quality in their situation – and a positive result on Boxing Day would send them into next Saturday's visit of Wycombe Wanderers in proper heart.
Argyle may be competitive in defence and midfield, but they have struggled up front this season.
The same, since ten-goal Rene Howe has not hit the net for nine games, can be said for Torquay of late.
If the conditions are dodgy, anything could happen, of course. But, on a reasonably level playing field, one goal could be enough for either side.