Hopes and Expectations 3
City slicker pulls off Italian job
Exeter City 2 Chelsea 1
by TOM GARD
at St James' Park
TEENAGER Barry McConnell concluded a memorable night at St James Park with a beautifully crafted winner to humble the aristocrats of Chelsea. McConnell, on for only six minutes, picked up the ball outside the penalty area in the final ten seconds of the game, turned David Lee and floated the ball over substitute goalkeeper Steve Shepherd. That capped a thoroughly heartening performance from Peter Fox's side, and made up
for the non-appearance of Chelsea's legion of international big names. The closest a packed St James Park got to Chelsea's Italian superstar Gianluca Vialli was a gaint mug shot on the front cover of last night's programme. Even when Vialli appeared on the pitch before the game it was a strangley muted moment.
While his new Chelsea team-mates warmed up earnestly, Vialli wandered on to the pitch behind manager Ruud Gullit for a hasty photo-session behind a banner with the message "Benevenuti a Chelsea"
The Vialli appearance promised by the Chelsea camp until five hours before kick-off had the desired effect commercially, however, with St James' Park packed to the rafters and the unprecedented sight of genuine Cockey tick- et touts operating outside. Chelsea's starting line-up still had plenty of quality with England's Dennis Wise, Norway's Erland Johnsen and Wales's Mark Hughes. But the Grecians were far from overawed, with triallist Tim Steele doing his chances of a contract no harm with a lively display wide on the right, Danny Bailey grafting away in accustomed style and Mark Chamberlain looking assured in classy company. Having held their own they then got better after Mark Hughes 13th minute opener City more than held their own. Two minutes after half-time triallist Mark Davis was sent tumbling in the box by keeper Kevin Hitchcock, who promptly made amends by saving Chris Myers' penalty. But on 52 minutes Mattie Hare gave the home supporters plenty to cheer about, rising well at the near post to head home Steele's near post corner for the equaliser. Then, just when it looked like City had earned a highly credible draw, McConnell produced his party piece.
Exeter: A Bayes, M Chamberlain (M Daley 66), D Hughes, (J Sharpe 70), Hare, Blake, Richardson (R Cross 25), C Myers, D Bailey, M Davis (L Braithwaite 68), R Pears (S Ghazghazi 89), T Steele (McConnell 83).
Chelsea: K Hitchcock (S Shepherd 75), F Sinclair, A Myers, E Johnsen (J Kjeldbjerg 45), S Clarke, J Morris (D Rocastle 61), M Stein, M Hughes, G Peacock (S Minto 61), D Wise.
Referee: P Rejer (Tipton).