13th January 1979
Exeter City v Chesterfield
January 13th 1979
With Home Park, in common with most other football grounds at the time, resembling an ice rink rather than a soccer pitch, Exeter City's match there against Plymouth Argyle on New Year's Day 1979 had to be called off. Last Saturday (January 6th) was F.A.Cup day (third round) and again because of the weather which continued to paralyse the country's outdoor events only two of the 32 cup matches down for decision were played. These were the ones at Shrewsbury, where the "Town" beat Cambridge United, and at Leicester, where the "City" beat Norwich. The League matches in the Third and Fourth Divisions were also wiped out apart from those at Walsall and Watford. So it was that Exeter City, who were due at Shrewsbury for their return encounter for League points, had to have their game postponed, not because of the weather, but because of the cup-tie. This is the fourth fixture that the City have lost this season, the others being Sheffield Wednesday (away) on account of a League Cup replay, Swindon (away) and Plymouth Argyle (away) on account of the weather and frozen grounds.
Even today only 12 of the 43 Football League matches were able to be played, nearly all in the South of England, but with the St James's Park pitch in good condition the City's match against Chesterfield was unaffected.
- But the shock news from the City club's headquarters during the week was that the manager, Mr Bobby Saxton, had resigned in order to accept the vacancy which had arisen at Plymouth when the Argyle manager, Mr Malcolm Allison, had left the club to take up a similar appointment with Manchester City. Meanwhile at Exeter Mr Jack Edwards commences his third spell as the City club's manager.
Chesterfield:- Letheren; Hunter, Tartt, Cottam, Burton; Cammack, Prophett, Walker; Kowalski, Fern, Salmons.
Referee:- Mr J.E.Martin of Alton.
Exeter looked unsure of themselves and disorganised following their enforced absence from the soccer field, but after 15 minutes Neville was charged over by Burton and a penalty was awarded. Neville firmly side-footed the ball past Letheren, but the referee made him take the kick again as Tartt had encroached into the area, which seemed rough justice, to say the least. Neville kept calm and put the ball in the same place to give Exeter the lead.
The City now took a firmer grip on the game and Delve scored from a rebound after Letheren had dived to push out a shot from Sims, but Walker reduced Chesterfield's arrears after 43 minutes.
Immediately on the restart Walker was cautioned by the referee for a foul on Neville, who nearly collected his second goal of the match after an express run which left Chesterfield flat-footed. Burton at the other end flashed a shot just wide, and was then the villain of another ugly incident when he sent Neville sprawling in the penalty area. The referee, however, waved play on despite Exeter's protests. Neville, who was having a rough time from Chesterfield's unsporting tactics, was fouled yet again in the 66th minute, Salmons being the offender, and when Chesterfield failed to clear the free kick the ball came out to Roberts, who volleyed it into the top corner of the net with a cracking drive from 18 yards.
Exeter City 3 Chesterfield 1.