City 0 Plymouth 1

ADD a new name to the Valley Parade pantheon of shame.

Colchester, Yeovil, Tranmere, Stockport, Brighton, Swansea – and now Plymouth can be etched to that list.

This result might have ruffled a few betting accumulators but long-term watchers will nod their heads knowingly.

This is what City do. Losing at home to the bottom team is a familiar script down the years.

Smash and grab is the usual method and once again aptly summed up Saturday's home misery.

All the play? Tick. Most of the chances? Tick. Inspired goalkeeper and massed defence to frustrate them? Tick again.

The standard ingredients were all there. Throw in Tony McMahon's first penalty miss for the club and a couple of efforts against the woodwork and you have a Valley Parade tale as old as time.

Stuart McCall was bullish afterwards about suggestions that City's home, for so long a fortress against visitors, is losing its fear factor.

They had also won only four out of the first nine Valley Parade fixtures last season, although were four points better off from being unbeaten.

But Plymouth, who crawled off the foot of League One with their victory, became the fourth away team to leave Valley Parade with the points – the third to do it with the only goal.

That is what will eat away on the training ground this week. For all their play and the amount of time camped in Argyle territory, City fired another home blank.

It is nearly four and a half hours since the last league goal on their own soil, Paul Taylor's early rocket against Oldham.

Taylor once more carried the biggest attacking threat and was almost too willing to have a pop at times in his personal duel with Plymouth's impressive keeper Remi Matthews.

But the front two were very muted. Alex Jones, having pushed his claims in the FA Cup for a recall, shrunk back into the shadows disappointingly.

He hardly got a kick before making way for Dominic Poleon, a switch you would expect may become permanent again at Wigan next week.

Charlie Wyke did not fare much better in the losing battle against Plymouth centre half Sonny Bradley.

Wyke was second best in their physical contest, his luck summed up when the one header he did win cannoned into the face of the unsuspecting defender right in front of goal.

Plymouth boss Derek Adams gave a rather one-eyed verdict of the game when he claimed that his side were worthy winners.

Yet in terms of defensive sheer bloody-mindedness, they protected what they had with everything.

The back four was regularly transformed into a six or seven – a green wall that City spent the afternoon banging their heads against with no sign of a way through.

McCall had warned beforehand that this would be the case. Plymouth were happy to 'park the bus' to extend an unbeaten run that is slowly turning their season round after an awful start.

The size of a team packed with six footers indicated they were not a unit designed for tika taka football.

Having said that, the goal from a rare foray over the halfway line was extremely well crafted and executed.

City were caught on their heels as David Fox whipped a pass up the right flank.

Lionel Ainsworth, the replacement for banned talisman Graham Carey, was in behind Tom Field to drill in the cross.

And Jake Jervis got ahead of Nathaniel Knight-Percival to convert from close range.

They had worked the ball quickly out wide and shown a clinical finish – everything that City had needed to do but lacked.

The task of breaking down a rearguard that had conceded only three in five games was a challenge anyway. Giving them a goal to protect just added a further layer of frustration to all concerned.

Plymouth were determined that seven-and-a-half hours spent on the motorway to reach West Yorkshire was not going to waste.

When City did find a chink of light, they were foiled by another on-loan keeper more than earning his clean-sheet bonus. Like Bolton's Ben Amos for Charlton, Norwich stopper Matthews pulled off some heroics beneath the noses of the Kop.

McCall had opted for Nicky Law over Alex Gilliead, the winger's exclusion until the latter stages viewed as a strange one given their best bet of breaching the blanket defence looked to be using the full width of the pitch to get behind them.

Instead, City looked for the full backs to push on – a tactic that failed first half because Tom Field's crossing was so poor on the left and the final pass for McMahon too often over-cooked on the right.

It took 24 minutes for City to create a threat and then Wyke had two chances in the space of 20 seconds.

But ten minutes later, it was Jervis wheeling away in celebration after his first goal for 15 games – and one of only two shots on target from Argyle.

It was hardly the most frantic return for Colin Doyle, who had clocked up a few more air miles with another flight back from Dublin to play. In the main, he was just another frustrated spectator.

Opposite number Matthews twice denied Taylor before the break and got lucky when Jake Reeves rattled the crossbar as he looked to end his scoring duck in style.

"Attack, attack, attack," screamed the fans but City needed no reminder. All bar Doyle were crammed into the Argyle half for a large part – and the keeper even came up to join them for a stoppage-time free-kick.

The hosts should have been level by that point after being awarded a penalty for Aaron Taylor-Sinclair's tug on Romain Vincelot.

Adams was fuming that it was given but his anger subsided slightly when Matthews saw McMahon glance one way and guessed correctly that he would put it the other.

The spot-kick was at a nice height for a keeper and he firmly pushed away to maintain his third shut-out since being brought in on an emergency loan.

"We'll see if we run out of ideas in the cup," said McCall as he responded to an Adams jibe that City had exhausted their options. The teams will meet again in the FA Cup on December 2.

"One of those days," sighed the manager. One, unfortunately, that we have all seen before.