1st January 1987
Swansea City (Away)
Thursday, 1st January 1987. Division Four.
Match Report by Trina Lake
Tommy's flair causes City's downfall
THE CULTURED right foot of veteran Scot Tommy Hutchison brought Exeter City's New Year celebrations to an abrupt halt at Swansea City yesterday. For most of the match the 39-year-old showman played delightful a cameo role on the right side of Swansea's midfield. All flair and finesse, he seemed a world apart from the humdrum hurry-scurry of the match going on around him. And for 90 per cent of the time his contribution to Swansea's cause was appreciated by the enthusiastic holiday crowd more for its artistry than productivity. But in the 77th minute he swung the trusty right boot into a perfect cross for Keri Andrews to glance a winning header past the helpless John Shaw. It proved a shattering blow for City who had I worked hard to contain Swansea's busy attack and always looked capable of snatching a goal against a shaky home defence. City's finishing touch never matched their enthusiasm however and that doomed them to a fifth away defeat of the season in Division 4 without harming their league position - they stay seventh. Manager Colin Appleton, returning to the club that sacked him two years ago, made changes from the side that drew at Wolves on Saturday.
Steve Harrower filled in again at right back for the injured Steve Pugh, Tony Kellow took over from Brendon O'Connell up front and Paul batty came in as substitute. Nick Marker remained in midfield and got through a tremendous amount of work, particularly in the first half -chasing and tackling back as well as surging forward on a number of powerful runs. But City lacked invention in midfield and pace in attack with striker Steve Biggins wasting several pro- mising openings with his frustrating lack of control. There were some fine individual performances to be admired from the more experienced players on both sides, though. Hutchison's skill was always a joy to watch and midfield anchor man Gary Emmanuel provided the kind of steadying influence for Swansea that City must surely look to bring to their side. For City, Aidan McCaffery had another fine game at the heart of defence and Kellow orchestrated most of the more promising attacks with his deft touches and intelligent passing. And Shaw, too, showing no sign of any pressure he might feel from Appleton's attempts to sign ex-England 'keeper Jimmy Rimmer, made at least half a dozen important saves to keep City in the hunt. The first half was bright and breezy as the as South Wales weather. There was attractive football from both sides with Swansea just shading an advantage on goal chances created.
Shaw and his opposite number Mike Hughes had the woodwork to thank for keeping the game scoreless in the first four minutes. Emmanuel sent a blistering shot crashing against Shaw's right-hand post and Harrower shaved Swansea's crossbar with a neat cross- shot. After surviving a sixth minute penalty appeal, City almost made an eighth minute breakthrough. They caught Swansea pushing out too quickly and Mark Robson was denied a certain goal by a linesman's flag for offside. There must have been inches rather than feet in the decision. The inventive Robson conjured a chance out of nothing to force a save out of Hughes who also flung himself full stretch to deny Biggins from City's best two openings of the half while at the other end Sean McCarthy, three times, Colin Pascoe, Andrews, Emmanuel and Chris Harrison all went close to a Swansea opener. Andrew Watson, continuing at left-back, and McCaffery were booked for foul and Pascoe was als cautioned for kicking by referee John Martin in a second half that lacked the intensity of the opening 45 minutes. City made the better start against a Swansea defence that gives the ball away at an alarming rate. Hughes saved well from Biggins, Kellow was blocked by Harrison, Marker should have done better than shooting wide in a one-on-one with the 'keeper who also thwarted Kellow before Batty replaced Robson in the 57th minute. Swansea got back into their fluent attacking stride for the final half hour when Shaw came into his own. He saved point blank from McCarthy, flew to his right to keep out a Paul Atkinson shot and fingertipped the ball over the bar, again from McCarthy. The Swansea striker should have scored in the 71st minute when City were caught once more by the cross to the far post, but he headed wide from five yards with Shaw nowhere this time. Andrews made no mistake however when Hutchison provided another telling cross. The youngster rose well to send a header looping into the net from 15 yards to ensure that all City's industry was in vain.
Exeter (0) 0
Hughes, Phelan, Lewis, Melville, Emmanuel, Atkinson, McCarthy, Andrews, Pascoe, Hutchinson.
John Shaw, Steve Harrower, Keith Viney, Nick Marker, Aiden McCaffery, Andrew Watson, Shaun Taylor, Mark Robson (Paul Batty), Tony Kellow, Danny Keough, Brendon O'Connell.