13th September 1986
Cambridge United (a)
ROBERTS CROWNS CITY FIGHTBACK
Cambridge United 2 (Cooper, Crown)
Exeter City 2 (Batty, Roberts)
EXETER City showed they have the fighting quality to play a part in the Fourth Division promotion race by battling back for a well deserved draw in this top-of-the-table clash.
Trailing 2-0 at half-time, Exeter looked dead and buried, but a defensive mix-up two minutes after the break threw them a lifeline which they grasped gratefully. It was Paul Batty, recalled to the team for yesterday's game, who got the vital break through taking advan- tage of a disastrous back pass by former Plymouth player, Lindsay Smith.
Batty found himself free with only the keeper to beat and he tucked the ball away inside the post to give his team-mates just the boost they needed. Batty's goal changed the complexion of the match completely and it was no surprise when Exeter equalised. Again, there was hestitation and indecision in the Cambridge defence as Dean Roberts burst through to beat the goalkeeper from eight yards. Such a fightback had seemed highly unlikely during the first 45 minutes in which Exeter looked nothing like an undefeated team. Cambridge took the lead in the 18th minute when their teenage striker Mark Cooper headed home a cross by winger Mark Schiavi after goalkeeper John Shaw had sur- prisingly failed to cut out the ball. And they went further ahead on the half hour when David Crown weaved his way through on a diagonal
run, teed the ball up for him- self and hammered a shot low inside the post.
Exeter were on the run and they were a little lucky eight minutes later when the re- feree disallowed a goal after Cooper had headed home from 15 yards. He was judged to have fouled a de fender as he jumped.
The game changed drama- tically though when Exeter took advantage of those de- fensive blunders and at times during the second half it was Cambridge who were hang- ing on.
Exeter sat back to some extent to protect the point they had salvaged, but they almost snatched victory in the 79th minute when substi tute Brendon O'Connell sent over a cross which seemed to run along the crossbar before bouncing back into play.
At the final whistle however, it was Exeter who raised their arms in triumph as Cambridge hurried from the pitch.
Shaw, Pugh, Viney, Marker, McCaffrey, Watson, Priddle, Kellow, Roberts, Keough, Batty