Match 44
23rd March 1991
Preston North End (home)




The afternoon started with an emotional request for "You'll Never Walk Alone' to suspended chairman Ivor Doble and wife Vera from the entire Exeter city staff. The chairman was watching his first match as a member of The Cowshed. After the tears came the joy as announcer John Pearce said" and at number seven we welcome back. Darran Rowbotham" City's ace marks man was returning to the starting line up following three appearances as substitute following a year long battle to save his career.

Rowbotham and Steve Neville, soon to have a Testimo nial Match against Manchester City, resumed their partnership as if it has never been broken and the fans began to sense that goals may be returning in more fruitful quantity to St. James' Park.

However, in the first half despite the clear signs of class provided by Dazza and News and a general competence in the team, it seems that a very poor, youthful, Preston side would perhaps escape with a point. The fans were frustrated as Rowbotham shot narrowly wide after II minutes following good work by Gordon Hobson and then had a cross narrowly missed by the on rushing Gary Marshall

Preston who did resort on occasions to some rather late challenges had the fans keeping an anxious silence as Rowbotham took a kick on the same troublesome knee. A relieved cheer resounded around The Park when he continued after treatment. As the half continued the same old problem of the final pass not being sufficiently accurate enough continued The clearest example of this was when Marshall found himself in the clear with Neville and Batty in close support. He opted to pass and allowed Simon Farnworth to clear

Immediately the second half started the fans got what they had waited such a long time for a goal from Rowbotham A long ball from Hiley was chased by Neville after it eluded Mickey Flynn, he drew the goalkeeper and squared for Rowbotham to fire in from around eight yards. That was the moment the complex ion of the game changed.

Rowbotham and Paul Batty, who had a busy match. went close. The latter producing a goal line clearance by Senior. On 67 minutes Rowbotham returned the compliment for Neville to net easily.

Murray Jones, eleven games without a goal, replaced the tiring Rowbotham after 77 minutes and almost instantly scored. Kevin Miller, who had a quiet match but still made a crucial save, sent a mammoth kick into the Preston half and Neville quickly prodded it goal wards for Jones to tap in from a few inches

Flynn earned himself a booking and then Jones showing a total confidence from the long awaited goal, turned neatly, went past two defenders, and planted a second goal inside the far post to seal the biggest win of the season.



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