Match 05
10th September 1983
Rotherham (h)

Problems mount for Francis

10th September 1983

Exeter City 0-1 Rotherham 


Exeter  city boss Gerry Francis made no bones about his bitter disappointment with this result and performance, and bluntly told his men that some of them would not be in the team had he other players. He does not believe his present squad is strong enough to achieve his ambitions for the club and said after this frustrating defeat: "That is why, at the moment, we are desperately looking for players." But while that urgent quest goes on, Francis' problems are mounting rather than easing. He limped out of the dressing room to talk to reporters - be had taken a heavy knock on a calf. Ray Pratt limped away earlier he had to come off at the interval because he sustained an ankle cut that needed four stitches. And big central defender Ian Evans will be returning to Barnsley at the end of the week when his loan period is up. This game certainly highlighted the importance of Francis suc- ceeding in his mission to bring in some quality players, but he stressed: "I have a little bit more money. It is not much, and I have to be very careful the way I spend it. Francis saw this Rotherham defeat as reflecting City's opening game against Walsall. "We gave away an early goal and then had near enough all the play, particularly second half, without really threatening them," he said. He criticised his players for seeming to have the attitude: "We are one down that's it. That goal, which turned out to be enough to win the match for Rotherham, certainly came early. After only four minutes defender Phil Crosby escaped down the left and crossed for bustling Ronnie Moore to get the flick on and set up the chance for Mark Rhodes. He saw the opportunity and cashed in on it with deadly accuracy as he fired in a low angled drive past Len Bond. Rotherham looked particularly dangerous in the first half on the break but they only had a couple of chances to increase their lead City, on the other hand, pushed forward consistently enough, but it was all a bit ponderous with the result that there was no real fire from them in front of goal. It was not so much a matter of failing to finish as not carving out positive chances of real menace which frustrated Exeter's efforts to get back in the game. City's best first half chances were a low header from Tony Kellow that found 'keeper Alan Stevenson superbly positioned to save and a fierce shot from Steve Neville that Stevenson managed to beat out with his legs In the second half Frances showed his skills on several occasions with some great runs into the box. One particular movement a superb one-two with Neville -deserved greater reward. But City could not find a way through, a frustration illustrated by an ironic interval incident. The tunnel door slammed shut in the gale-force winds and the players had to wait patiently for a minute or so before they could get into the dressing rooms.

Bond, Kirkup, Viney, Evans, Harle, McEwan, Neville, Pratt, Kellow, Francis, Dennis.
Sub:- Ling

Stevenson, Forest, Crosby, O'Dell, Johnson, McEwan, Rhodes, Kilmore, Moore, Mitchell, McBride,
Sub:- Walker. 

Attendance: 3,193.

EXETER - Gerry Francis;
ROTHERHAM - Mick Gooding.



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