Match 02
18th August 1992
League Cup 1st Round 1st Leg
Birmingham City (home)

Stalemate calls for a Grecians 'special'


Exeter City must win at the St Andrews headquarters of Division 1 Birmingham next Tuesday if they are not to suffer a rapid exit from the League Cup for a third season on the trot. Last night's 0-0 draw in the St James's Park leg of this first round Coca-Cola Cup tie means that City will need to repeat their Blues' giantkilling of 13 years ago in order to progress, writes Ed Hogg. City's 2-1 victory at St Andrews in September 1979 is their only success at the Midlands club. The 2-1 third round win helped the Grecians on their best-ever League Cup run before a fourth round defeat at the Anfield home of Liverpool. Alan Ball's side are closer to their target than this time 12 months ago. The corresponding first round tie last term saw the Grecians in disarray and lucky to take just a one- goal deficit into the second leg. Sharper finishing would have put Exeter in the driving seat. They carved out the best opportunities of the match and the Blues, newly-promoted and fresh from a 1-0 win over Notts County in their opening Division 1 outing, were no great shakes. Both sides had probably their best openings in the last minute of the game, long after a score-less draw had seemed inevitable. City goalkeeper Kevin Miller positioned himself brilliantly to deal apparently effortlessly with Louie Donowa's 90th minute drive, after substitute Ian Rodgerson had put the pacy winger clear. And immediately Exeter midfielder Andy Harris burst through but drove too high with the last kick of the contest. After a flurry of early Birmingham corners, City had closed ranks at the back and Steve Williams swept efficiently and generally comfortably. As Exeter began to gain the upper hand, striker Ronnie Jepson nearly bustled in on Eamonn Collins' precise 15th minute pass but Birmingham goalkeeper Andy Gosney smothered. City skipper Peter Whiston, the brightest aspect of the evening bar the new St James's Park floodlights, surged forward three minutes later and after swapping passes with Jepson his intended return to the big frontrunner was put behind by John Frain. Whiston's header from the corner drew Gosney into the first save of the encounter. Collins' clever lob got Steve Moran behind Blues' centre backs Paul Mardon and Darren Rogers on 24 minutes but as Gosney came out Moran could only lift the ball over the crossbar. Kevin Miller was then forced to smother at the feet of Donowa, after Paul Tait's through ball had created the chance, but immediately Williams, Moran and Collins were involved in a slick build-up that resulted in Jepson heading straight at Gosney. After 36 minutes Moran should have found the target with an eight-yard snapshot when Collins' dummy run had allowed Jepson to cross. Mark Sale nodded wide from Frain's 50th minute corner and then Moran failed to connect with a superb Williams centre. The second-half became stale, flickering briefly into life when Simon Sturridge clattered belatedly into Collins and instantly e Williams upended Sale. It took a few seconds to restore order and referee John Carter wisely decided to only punish the initial offender with a yellow card.

Exeter City 
1 Kevin Miller
2 Scott Hiley
3 David Cooper
4 Steve Williams
5 Kevin Bond
6 Peter Whiston
7 Eamonn Collins
8 Andy Harris
9 Ronnie Jepson
10 Steve Moran
11 Jon Brown
Eamonn Dolan (Moran 67), John Hodge

Referee: John Carter (Dorset)
Linesman: R Lane
Linesman: M Sims

Birmingham City 
1 Andy Gosney
2 lan Clarkson
3 John Frain
4 David Rennie
5 Paul Mardon
6 Darren Rogers
7 Louie Donowa
8 Paul Tait
9 Mark Sale
10 Nigel Gleghorn
11 Simon Sturridge
lan Rodgerson (Sale 63), Dean Peer

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