17th November 1990
FA Cup 1st Round
Cambridge United (home)
F.A CUP ROUND ONE- 17.11.90
EXETER CITY 1
CAMBRIDGE UNITED 2
After the midweek win over Cardiff, hopes were high that City could avenge Cambridge for their win at the Park in September and progress into the Second Round of the F.A Cup. In the event, Cambridge were every bit as difficult as they had been on their previous visit, and their 2-1 win sent City crashing out of the Cup at the first hurdle.
The visitors started very strongly, winning a number of corners and keeping City's central defensive pair of Shaun Taylor and Jonathan Brown under a great deal of pressure. With John Taylor and Dion Dublin both going close, City rode their luck until the 20th minute when Lee Philpott's perfect cross was headed home by John Taylor.
In contrast to Cambridge's bright and open play, City never really got going and seemed to find the swirling wind difficult to cope with. The rare chances that came our way were wasted, with Trevor Morgan not sharp enough when Mark Cooper's corner dropped to him, and after Danny Bailey had just failed to reach a Steve Neville cross, Scott Hiley darted to the by-line but with a stream of red and white shirts arriving in the box, the ball bobbled awkwardly and his cross was sliced into the crowd.
Although City kept pressing forward in the closing stages of the first half, they didn't manage to test Cambridge keeper John Vaughan until early in the second period. On two separate occasions Vaughan failed to properly clear crosses under challenge from Trevor Morgan, but Gordon Hobson volleyed the first just over the bar, and Steve Neville went even closer smacking the second against the woodwork. Richard Dryden also went close in the opening stages of the half, with his header from Cooper's corner drifting narrowly wide.
City's luck seemed to be summed up after 54 minutes, when Cambridge's first threat of the second period was cleared for a corner which Colin Bailie headed back across goal for John Taylor to apply the easiest of finishing touches.
This killer blow sparked further attacking from the visitors with Dion Dublin twice going close, but after 69 minutes the big striker was lucky to stay on the field after a nasty challenge on Tom Kelly which left the City midfielder writhing with pain on the turf.
With twenty minutes left, Terry Cooper shuffled his team around, with Gordon Hobson dropping back to sweeper, and Shaun Taylor, Scott Hiley and Tom Kelly all being sent into more macking roles. The move brought City back to life, with John Vaughan turning Mark Cooper free-kick over the bar and then making a fine diving save from Tom Kelly's well struck twenty yard effort.
Steve Neville was twice sent clear towards the end, first after clever play from Trevor Morgan but he put his shot wide with just the keeper to beat. But Kevin Miller's long kick gave Nevs a second chance, and he made no mistake racing through to blaze the ball in off the post.
City threw everything into attack but couldn't find a way through the Cambridge defence, while the other end Dion Dublin missed an open goal from five yards out. Unfortunately, the glaring miss proved to be unimportant, as the final whistle sounded shortly after and Cambridge again proved to be quite a bogey side for Exeter City.