Match 39
2nd March 1991
Stoke City (away)



Another good performance by City looked set to earn a point at the Victoria Ground but a late Wayne biggins goal dashed the dream.

Stoke began in fine style, a contrast to recent form where nowins have been recorded for nine matches, but it was Exeter who went closest to opening the scoring, Steve Neville cleverly back-heeled the ball to give Gary Marshall a good chance but he blazed over from ten yards.

The fit again Shaun Taylor made an important interception after 27 minutes to stop Biggins but a minute later the big striker hit a cracking shot that went through the legs of Kevin Miller. Just two minutes later it was 1-1. Stoke defender Noel Blake was adjudged, harshly in the opinion of many, to have handled Marshall's well struck shot. Mark Cooper took over the penalty taking duties and scored with a well hit shot that grazed the post on the way into the net. Two minutes later Taylor headed against the crossbar.

Stoke started the second half as they had the first in fine style - but the Exeter defence again looked strong and protected Miller well. On the hour the goalkeeper did save well from Biggins though. At the other end Marshall missed a heading opportunity and Paul Batty struck the outside of a post when he should have found the target.

Five minutes from the end Biggins scored his second goal when his fiercely hit shot from 25 yards found the net. Whilst the shot looked unstoppable from most angles. such is the growing reputation of Miller that there was a feeling after the match that he should have saved the shot.

Darran Rowbotham made a much awaited return to the side when he came on as substitute immediately after Biggins scored his decisive goal. He was immediately welcomed back with a heavy challenge and generally looked lively in his brief appearance. Hopes that his goalscoring exploits would return were not realistic in 5 minutes at Stoke but optimism for the future is now high.



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