12th January 1991
Chester City (home)
BARCLAYS LEAGUE DIVISION THREE - 12.1.90
EXETER CITY 1
CHESTER CITY 1
Confidence was high before this match that City could further extend their run of three consecutive home wins by taking maximum points from the visit of nineteenth placed Chester. Unfortunately it was not to-be, as City had to be content with a 1-1 draw in what was hardly an inspiring afternoon.
The game got off to an inauspicious start, with only hopeful long balls, occasional flashes of promise on the wings and a couple of wasted corners from both sides to keep the crowd of just over 4,000 entertained. But the visitors certainly livened up proceedings after fifteen minutes, with Graham Abel heading on a long throw-in for new signing Eddie Bishop to finish smartly from close range as the Exeter defence looking on helplessly.
For a while it looked as if Chester were going to consolidate their lead, with the City side struggling to take control on a heavy pitch, but halfway through the first period the scores were level. After Mark Cooper had won a free-kick forty yards out from goal, Scott Hiley sent a high ball into the Chester box and Richard Dryden timed his arrival perfectly to bullet an unstop pable header into the roof of the net.
Exeter stepped up a gear having pulled the goal back, and Shaun Taylor and Gordon Hobson both came close to putting City ahead the former only just failing to connect with a Cooper free-kick and the latter delaying his shot a fraction too long and allowing the onrushing Stewart to block his shot.
Hobson, who has looked at his lively best since returning to the City side on Boxing Day, went even closer five minutes before half-time. Gary Marshall crossing from the right and Hobson arrived unchallenged two yards out but somehow managed to direct his header over the bar.
As the half drew to a close, Mark Cooper, Steve Neville and Gary Marshall all got in useful shots on goal, with Marshall's effort needing a goal-line clearance from Chris Lightfoot to keep the scores level at half-time.
After a bright opening, the second half faded in the same way that the first half had gradually crept into life. City won four corners in less than a minute - the Chester defenders taking no chances with Shaun Taylor lurking on the near post.
As time wore on, the chances became fewer and further between. Steve Neville was sent clear by the accomplished Jonathan Brown, but with just the keeper to beat he shot wide. Another timely block from Lightfoot to deny the City assistant manager a free shot, along with a wayward volley from Gordon Owen, were all that Exeter had to show for the majority of second half pressure which they enjoyed.
Kevin Miller though was seldom tested at the-other end, the City keeper being called upon to make only one real save, going down bravely at the feet of Carl Dale as the Chester youngster broke dangerously down the middle.
Terry Cooper later commented that the second half was 'a nonevent' as far as he was concerned, and it's easy to see why. With Exeter having looked so good during the New Year's Day win over Crewe, it was a little disappointing to see our good run checked by Chester. Nevertheless it's still another point earned, and with our unbeaten home spell now stretching to eight games, St James Park is still proving to be a difficult hunting ground... even in the Third Division.