22nd April 1974
FRED BINNEY is still a wanted man, and I remain convinced that he will be captured" from Exeter City for a ransom of about £40,000 or a deal involving a player exchange, before next season. West Bromwich Albion, Bournemouth, Millwall and Brighton are four clubs closely watching the St. James's Park striker.
These clubs were represented at St. James's Park last night to see Binney score a hat-trick- in 11 devastating minutes to shatter struggling Scunthorpe, and lead Exeter to a convincing 4-0 Division 4 victory. Binney now has 30 goals. He has been out of touch in the last two or three games, but hit back just at the right time It was also a victory Exeter so badly needed, having not scored in their last four league games. It was somewhat ironic that Exeter were reduced through injury to only 13 available players, including two goalkeepers and Brian Joy. who was not 100 per cent fit, in this match. Remember, the City refused to travel to Scunthorpe earlier in the month because they had only nine fit players. Once the initial breakthrough was made the game was completely transformed, and in the end Exeter could well have won by six or seven goals.
City on top
For the first half an hour, it looked like being a night of frustration. Much of the play was confined to the midfield. and Exeter were on top. The snag was that there was no real sign of penetration, and it seemed as though the struggle was on
Neither goalkeeper had a positive and direct attempt to save in that period - and Scunthorpe had 17-year-old apprentice goalkeeper, Mick Norris, making his club debut. The games needed a goal, and when it came in the 35th minute, Operation Transfor- mation" started. Three minutes later, Exeter scored again; a minute into the second half Binney completed his hat-trick; and from then on Scunthorpe were completely ineffective and never looked like troubling Exeter.
There might have been more goals for Exeter in the second half before Bowker scored the fourth in injury time. It was a goal he needed after an indifferent period, and the expression of delight on his face summed up his feelings.
That all-important first Exeter goal came in the 35th minute. A cross from Campbell Crawford was helped on. and Binney shielded the ball well before scoring with a close range shot
Three minutes later. it was Binney again. This time Jimmy Blain raced down the right, crossed a good, accurate ball. and Binney swept it well wide of Norris.
Some supporters there were only 2,226-were still sipping their half-time cups of tea when Binney completed his hat-trick in the 46th minute with a low shot. Exeter were in complete command in the second half. Ken Wallace, after beating two players, shot wide: a Bowker header was brilliantly saved by Norris, and from the corner, David Gibson's shot was headed off the line by Barry Lynch. In injury time, however, Exeter struck again when Bowker scored following a long throw-in by Peter Hatch.