Match 48
13th April 1991
Crewe Alexandra (a)

by Special Correspondent

A BULLET-LIKE shot into the roof of the net by free scoring Darren Rowbotham brought Exeter City a point they scarcely deserved at Crewe. The Cheshire club, fighting des- perately to avoid relegation  and created enough chances to have won three games, but a combination of indifferent finishing and a fine display by City goalkeeper Kevin Miller kept Exeter in the game. However, manager Terry Cooper must have been bitterly disappointed with his side's display. They showed a lack of ambition, treating the game as a stroll in the sunshine. The goal apart City created just one other real scoring opportunity. That did not arrive until the 72nd minute and it was unfortunate that Shaun Taylor, Exeter's best outfield player by a mile, missed it. 

The City captain found himself unmarked eight yards out when Gary Marshall lofted the ball into the goalmouth, but he blazed the ball widely on to the nearby railway lines. It was the only black spot of the afternoon for Taylor, whose defensive capabilities at the other end of the pitch, coupled with those of Miller, were really all that stood between the home side and certain victory. As Crewe boss Dario Gradi said afterwards: "Taylor was the one player we could not get the better of. But we still managed to create plenty of chances by playing good football. It was just a pity we did not turn them into goals." Bottom of the table Crewe pushed City right from the start. As early as the sixth minute Miller brilliantly tipped over a thunderbolt shot from Crewe's leading scorer, 16-goal Andy Sussex. Rowbotham had a half chance in the 10th minute but dallied too long and Aaron Callaghan swept the ball away and then Gordon Hobson was let in by a Kenny Swain mistake. But he lobbed the ball aimlessly wide from 20 yards out. And that was all City had to offer in the first half. Crewe held all the aces, creating a series of good chances. Paul Clayton twice squandered scoring opportunities as the home side ripped holes in the Exeter defence. First he fired wide after neatly wriggling through and then tamely side footed the ball into Miller's hands. But Clayton was unlucky when, after a brilliant link up with Sussex, he was foiled by Miller, who dashed from his goal to smother his first time shot. Exeter forced their first corner after 33 minutes and inevitably it was Taylor who got his head to Mark Coo- per's kick, directing the ball just wide of the far post. Ian Scott looked as if he might give Crewe the lead in the 43rd minute but from a suspiciously offside looking position, his dipping shot went just over the top Then right on the half-time whistle, Sussex pulled his left foot shot wide of the post with Miller for once stranded. After Miller had saved again from Scott and Sussex just after the break, Crewe took the lead in the 56th minute when midfielder Aidan Murphy forced the ball over the line from close range following a cross from the left by Rob Edwards. The goal finally stung Exeter into action, Taylor missing his sitter before Rowbotham cracked in his 75th minute goal, cashing in after his original effort had bounced down off the bar. But Crewe should still have wrap- ped it up in the closing stages. Subs- titute Tony Naylor wasted a good chance, shooting tamely at Miller after Sussex had created the opening. And then Miller dived to save from Sussex when the Crew striker should really have given hin no chance from just six yards out. City's Jonathan Brown was booked for his protests after Crewe's goal and the home side's Naylor also had his name taken for a foul on Scott Hiley

Attendance: 3,099.





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