23rd October 1971
Stockport County (h)
Exeter City 2, Stockport County 0
by Derek Lean
IT MIGHT SOUND churlish to strike a note of caution about this, Exeter's first win in four games, even pessimistic when one considers that Exeter could have had a field day if they had taken all their chances.
But although this performance was a good deal better than in recent matches, and although Exeter played some quite attractive and effective football in the game, any hopes that this win will see the end to Exeter's troubles must be tempered by the fact that Stockport were, frankly, a very weak and unimpressive combination.
The game was a big improvement for Exeter, but it was not some dramatic transformation that means everything is going to be easy from now on.
With the thermometer reading in the high 60s, the temperature soared a bit higher at St. James' Park as Exeter struck with a goal with the game only two minutes old. Jimmy Blain took a free kick from position that did not a threaten any great danger.
But quick thinking and intelligent running by John Giles turned the situation very much into one of danger. He raced down the wing and swung over a low cross. At first it looked as if the inviting ball would elude everyone as it streaked across the goalmouth. But coming in fast from the right was Barry Rowan, and he hit it first time into the net.
The goal was indicative of Exeter's mood. They were all for pressing forward and taking the game positively and aggressively towards Stockport. Centre-half Jimmy Giles got the ball into the net when he went up for a corner, but referee Orpin, from Dinas Powis, Glamorgan, had already whistled for an infringement.
In the 23rd minute Exeter scored again. This time Barry Rowan's S cross was headed towards goal by John Wingate. The ball was beaten out, but only to Tony Morrin, on the edge of the box, who placed his shot with perfect accuracy into the net.
From then on the game was largely a story of Exeter near- misses and thrown away oppor- tunities, but at least Exeter were making the chances, and that is something which has been absent in recent weeks.
The nearest Stockport came to scoring was when Roy Charter hammered in a long shot which hit the cross-bar, and when Ian Lawther tried a flick of a header from a corner which was only just wide of the mark.
EXETER. Wilson Crawford, Blain, Parker, Giles (JA). Balson, Rowan. Morrin. Binney, Wingate, Giles (JE). SUB Morris.
STOCKPORT-Oglay Charter, Ren- wick. McMillan. Hart, Wilson, Chisnall, Mulvaney. Webber, Lawther, Griffiths.