Match 51
7th April 1970
Chesterfield (h)



Tuesday April 7th 1970.


The pressure is off at last and Exeter City are out of danger. The crowd of 5,443 saw Exeter City dispel their re-election worries in the match against Chesterfield, the League Leaders, and apart from the result and the fact that it put Exeter in a safe position, it was a great game to round off the season with. So the curtain has been rung down on St James's Park for one more season, and the general opinion was that the draw of one goal each was a fair result.

Exeter City:- Wilson; Crawford, Blain;
Morris, Sharples, Balson; Corr, Banks, Binney, Giles, Pleat.

Chesterfield:- Stevenson; Holmes, Hickton; Fenoughty, Bell, Phelan; Pugh, Moss, Randall, Archer, Moore.

Subs: Walker (Exeter) Foley (Chesterfield).

While Exeter had cause to be happy, there was real celebration in the Chesterfield dressing room after the game. When their players learned that two of their closest rivals, Brentford and Aldershot, had lost, a tremendous cheer went up and the singing started. For their own result, and those of their rivals, meant that altogether it was enough to give them Third Division football next season. They deserve it. Throughout it was a fast, aggressive game, and a most entertaining one, and nobody could have gone away unhappy after such 90 minutes as these. Exeter looked to have the game won until Chesterfield got their equaliser late in the game. After having to "play it tight" to achieve results in the last few weeks the City were a much more open side, with Banks and Binney in the vanguard chasing all the time, and Pleat, although feeling the effects perhaps in the closing stages, pushing through some really neat passes.


The Exeter defence certainly had its share of hard work and no one player came out of it with more credit Balson. His play is of the workmanlike and unobtrusive style that rarely gets a mention in the press, but in this match, as in plenty of others this season, he was the outstanding member of the team. Balson never stops. He has boundless energy, covering and tackling with so much strength and determination one minute and sweeping up field with the ball under perfect control the next. Wilson, who has proved himself a talented and competent goalkeeper in his short time with the City, again did well, making more than one brave save. But he was partly responsible for the equalising goal which Chesterfield scored ten minutes from the end. Chesterfield were a fast and direct side and powerful when they were on the attack.


They found their men with precise and well judged passes and were, as befits their position at the head of affairs, the best side seen at St James's Park this season. Twice in the closing stages, however, Banks might have clinched the victory for Exeter when he was put clean through, but each time the brilliant young goalkeeper, Alan Stevenson, got the ball off him. After the visitors had missed an opportunity in the opening minute it was Banks who put Exeter ahead after nine minutes. Pleat, on the right wing, fed Crawford, he having galloped down the touchline for his familiar and well-rehearsed "overlap," and as he shook off an attempt to tackle him by Phelan he gave the ball to Banks, who put a nicely-directed shot into the roof of the net. The pace never slackened as the game went on, and it looked as if Exeter were going to add another "top scalp" to their list of in consistent results until Chesterfield eventually equalised. From a corner-kick Wilson found himself too far out of goal, and consequently stranded, being unable to reach the ball. It went to Tom Fenoughty, who hooked a fine shot high into the net from near the penalty spot.


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