Match 48
14th April 2007
Cambridge United (h)


So on a hot and sticky day in front of a bumper 4,364 fans, City show their play-off credentials with a superb 2-0 romp over Cambridge United to record their fourth win in the last five games. It was City who started brightest on a scorching day when temperatures soared into the 20s. As early as the fifth minute a Jones throw from the left found Gill some 35 yards out who signalled City's attacking intent by immediately hitting a speculative sighter towards the Cambridge goal. A minute later it was Gill who turned provider launching a mammoth throw from the right touchline. A near post flick on from a defender helped it on its way to the lurking Stansfield who glanced inches wide when placed centrally. Chances eased for ten minutes - pressure didn't - and then on quarter of an hour a glorious chance arrived for City to take the lead: bizarrely a defender tried to shepherd a ball away to safety inches in front of his own goal, but luckily for him the serious attentions of both Stansfield and Elam only succeeded in forcing the ball to roll almost slow motion-like past the far post.

Five minutes later Carlisle found himself in space on the right with the ball at his feet and from somewhere just in front of the players' tunnel played a delicious swerving cross to Stansfield patrolling the edge of the box. He in turn chested the ball back to Logan who missed his stride pattern somewhat and with the ball tangled under his feet could do little better than lob one into the visiting fans behind their keeper's goal from 25 yards.

But with the play pretty much exclusively confined to the Cambridge half, on the half hour City's persistence finally paid off. Stansfield and Elam combined well on the left of the Cambridge box for Stansfield to fire the ball across the area to Logan with his back to goal. From the edge of the box in one sumptuous movement he bought the ball down under control, swivelled and smashed the ball righteously into the roof of the net at the near post to make it 1-0 City.

With five minutes of the half to go, City almost doubled their lead when some Elam trickery down the left ended with a pin-sharp cross to fellow wide man Carlisle on the edge of the box. He could do little else bar recoil in horror as his first time piledriver was expertly tipped onto the bar and away for a corner from a fully stretched and mightily relieved keeper.

With one time City manager hopeful Jimmy Quinn's words ringing in their ears, Cambridge began the second half in much more determined fashion, and in the fifth minute had their first genuine attempt on goal when an attacker managed to get the better of Todd for once, but could then only scuff a shot to the unsighted Rice who dropped on the ball at the last minute to spare City blushes.

But five minutes later normal service was resumed when Elam broke from midfield to send Stansfield scampering across the pitch just outside the box. The covering defender made a real hash of trying to shield the ball and his indecision allowed Stansfield to rob with ease. He strode towards goal purposefully and with the keeper advancing slid the ball through his legs with some authority and into the net from ten yards out to make the game safe at 2-0.

Things weren't all rosy unfortunately, as on fifteen minutes a hobbling Tully - perhaps feeling the effects of the recent injury that kept him out of the side for four games - was withdrawn for Richardson to take his place at right back.

Five minutes later City had their best chance so far to further trouble the scorers when a wonderful one-two between Stansfield and Elam saw Stansfield lay the ball square to Taylor to try his luck from fifteen yards. However with the goal at his mercy Taylor didn't strike the ball cleanly and only managed to lash the ball high onto the Big Bank when he really ought to have done better.

On twenty minutes City's profligacy in front of goal was again highlighted when Taylor hit a glorious diagonal ball to Carlisle who, in full stride, smashed in a first time cross from way out wide on the right. Unfortunately the best Logan could do was to scoop wastefully over the bar from the edge of the box when the move deserved better.

A minute later a booming Todd clearance caused all sorts of problems in the Cambridge defence as Stansfield challenged a dallying defender and combined with Elam to squeeze his shot agonisingly wide. With little over fifteen minutes remaining, and with two monumentally important games coming up, manager Tisdale saw the opportunity to give his two hard-working and clearly dead on their feet strikers a rest. However, there was little respite for the beleaguered Cambridge back line as Mackie and Phillips replaced Stansfield and Logan with Tisdale in no mood to make life easy for the opposition.

As it was with five to go City then made the best move of the match: virtually the entire team was involved in a ping pong passing move slicker than slug snot as the ball shot from player to player over the whole pitch. Elam's final ball through for Phillips to chase deserved better, but with defenders quickly bearing down Phillips had to hurry his shot and could only crash his firmly struck drive narrowly the wrong side of the post from the edge of the area.

Finally, with the fourth official signalling four minutes of stoppage time, Cambridge had their second proper attack of the game with their left back arriving from deep to smash a ball high into the side netting just below the angle of post and bar from a tight angle. But it would have been an injustice for Cambridge to get a consolation and as it was the ref signalled the end of the game moments later.

And what a great game it was too. City were rampant for large chunks of the game and on another day maybe could have scored a bucket load. Still, no sense in being greedy as two are plenty enough -indeed.

This season we've had plenty of ups and downs so let's end it on an up and make history with our first ever venture into the play-offs and possibly our first ever visit to Wembley too. It's an awful long way away at the moment, and there's an awful lot of football to be played in between, but if we believe in the team and support them like we know we all can, surely this is the season that we can go all the way back up into the league.

I'm sure I've said this before, but today, now, here, has there ever been a better time to be a fan of Exeter City? You're damned right there hasn't. Geddorn bauys, you can.

Match Details 

Rice, Tully (Richardson 59), Edwards, Todd, Billy Jones, Carlisle, Gill, Taylor, Elam, Logan (Phillips 72), Stansfield (Mackie 72).
Subs Not Used: Paul Jones, Challinor.

Goals: Logan 32, Stansfield 56.

Cambridge Utd: Crichton, Aidan Collins (Bridges 65), Peters, Morrison, Gleeson, Wolleaston, Stephen Smith (Quinton 72), Brown, Pitt, Chillingworth (Hughes 72), Robbie Simpson.
Subs Not Used: Herbert, Duncan.

Booked: Pitt.

Attendance 4,364.

Referee A Sainsbury (Wiltshire).


Paul F



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