Match 09
29th September 1990
Cambridge United (h)



The first of City's trio of single goal defeats came on a cold wet afternoon at St James Park. After a morning of heavy rain, and a string of torrential downpours early in the afternoon, a crowd of 4,227 arrived at the Park hopeful of seeing City's recent good run extended.

Although Cambridge pushed forward purposefully in the opening few minutes, City began to create a good deal of confusion in the visitors' defence. A Scott Hiley free kick was flicked across goal by Shaun Taylor forcing Liam Daish to clear the ball over his own crossbar and several teasing crosses eluded keeper John Vaughan to create panic, but alas no real scoring chances, in the Cambridge box.

The visitors battled strongly in midfield, and City's Mark Cooper and Danny Bailey were forced to work very hard for every scrap of possession. Scott Hiley shot narrowly over the bar after a determined run, and Steve Neville saw a good effort deflected wide, but as the half wore on Cambridge began to look increasingly dan gerous on the break.

After 36 minutes Richard Dryden's much documented mistake allowed striker Dion Dublin to give Cambridge the lead. Dryden found himself caught in possession whilst attempting to shepherd the ball out of play for a goal-kick, but credit must also go to Mike Cheetham who nicked the ball through for John Taylor to cross and Dublin to strike at the near post.

The second half was dominated by Exeter attacking, but somehow the equaliser never came. Early on, Steve Neville wormed his way into the Cambridge area, but saw his shot blocked and the subsequent corner wasted. Danny Bailey sent a good header narrowly wide, and a clever through ball from Gordon Hobson put Neville in the clear, but his cross was somehow blazed over the bar by Clive Whitehead when an equaliser seemed certain.

Midway through the second half both Brian McDermott and Clive Whitehead were replaced in a double substitution by Tom Kelly and Richard Young. The latter came close to making an early impression on the game, chesting the ball down and turning smartly before sending his shot narrowly wide.

The final quarter of an hour was littered with chances for both sides as City through caution to the wind and men into attack. Lee Rogers produced a superb saving tackle when John Taylor looked to have broken through, and the same player drew a fine save from Kevin Miller, whilst at the other end only an alert clearance off the line denied Shaun Taylor his first goal of the season.

A pulsating finish saw Hiley, Bailey and Taylor all go close for City, with the exposed Kevin Miller saving well from Cheetham and throwing himself around outside his area in a farcical scramble which resulted in John Taylor slotting the ball home, but seeing his effort disallowed for offside.

However, the match was destined to finish 1-0, and whilst Cambridge deserved credit for their hard work and determination, it was disappointing to see City's attacking industry not rewarded with a goal.



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