28th December 1991
West Bromwich Albion (home)
Evidence points to a City revival
Warning shot for Devon rivals
By Ed Hogg at St James's Park
It is ironic that Exeter City's point-saving late equaliser in the 1-1 draw against West Brom on Saturday should come from the penalty spot. Steve Moran's last minute leveller extended City's unbeaten home re- cord to 14 games but they created more chan- ces against the new Third Division leaders than in many of the previous 13. "Sooner or later we are going to give somebody a real thumping," commented manager Alan Ball afterwards. There was real evidence against the Baggies that City could be emerging just at the right time from the lean spell that has seen them drop out of the play-off places. It would be perfect preparation for the FA Cup Third Round visit of Second Division Portsmouth next Saturday if Devon rivals Torquay felt the City backlash on New Years Day. Triallist striker Dean Edwards, back at the familiar stamping ground that was home territory four years ago, was a constant thorn in West Brom's flesh despite a slight groin problem. Front partner Moran was more menacing than of late and his penalty may have given the former England Under-21 man the confidence boost he needs to pick up where he left off two months ago after scoring seven in four games. With Gary Marshall and irrepressible full back Scott Hiley continuing their good work on City's right flank, there was plenty for Edwards and Moran to work with. And centre back Scott Daniels became the latest City man to be denied by the woodwork when his superbly angled 21st minute header rebounded harmlessly off the underside of the West Brom crossbar. Daniels was Exeter's hapless villain after 72 minutes when, struggling to clear Peter Whiston's headed pass, he got in a tangle with substitute Kwame Ampadu and was ruled to have brought the former Arsenal and Plymouth Argyle man down. Craig Shakespeare fired home his sixth of the season from the spot and the vistors looked poised to reproduce a 1-0 Boxing Day victory at Wigan where Shakespeare again did the penalty business. But City pressed forward relentlessly and had their reward when Edwards scampered through the West Brom rearguard and went down after colliding with Frank Sinclair. Referee Paul Alcock pointed immediately to the spot, sent off Sinclair for his apparently physi- cal protestations and Moran despatched the penalty. Earlier the all-ticket 5,830 biggest Park crowd of the season-boosted by West Brom's 1,200 travel- ling party had been treated to a wholehearted all-action encounter. Whiston headed straight at Stuart Naylor from City's second minute first corner and then Adrian Foster volleyed over the City goal. Steve Williams volleyed wide at the other end and Foster responded by sending a close-range header just past a post. West Brom striker Paul Williams contrived to fire over after Gary Strodder had carved out a chance and as the visitors enjoyed a good spell Kevin Miller made a superb low stop from Foster. After Daniels' had rocked the Albion wood- work, Hiley headed a 30th minute Sinclair thunderbolt off the Exeter line. City turned defence into attack and when Whiston, Daniels and Wimbleton had almost got in, Ed- wards set up Moran for a shot that Strodder nodded clear with Naylor beaten. Naylor did well to hold a Moran drive after 56 minutes and Ampadu shot across Exeter's goal having just come on for Foster. Moran was inches away from breaking the deadlock four minutes be- fore Shakespeare's opener with an angled shot after Edwards had provided the chance.
Miller, Hiley, Daniels, Whiston, Cook, Marshall, Williams, Wimbleton, Brown, Moran, Edwards.
Subs (not used): Chapman, Cooper.
Naylor, Hodson, Sinclair, Strodder, Harbey, Bradley, McNally, Shakespeare, White (Rogers 89), Williams, Foster (Ampadu 55).
Match report following the game between Exeter City and West Bromwich Albion.
This match at St. James Park was a real thriller for the 5,830 crowd as battling City earned themselves a deserved point against the division's pacesetters, West Brom. The first real opportunity that City had on the West Brom goal came when Scott Daniels rose high to a near post corner from Paul Wimbleton and sent a powerful header crashing against the underside of the bar. On 29 minutes West Brom launched an attack on the Exeter goalmouth with the Grecians being rescued by the outstanding stand-in skipper Scott Hiley, when he bravely headed off the line after Frank Sinclair had powered a right foot shot towards the goal after collecting from a Craig Shakespeare corner. As was the case throughout the whole game, play, immediately changed to the other end of the pitch. Stuart Naylor failed to come out to a cross and tangled with the useful Dean Edwards, who was playing his first game back at St. James' Park following a month's loan signing by Alan Ball. Steve Moran spotted Naylor out of position and struck a goal bound effort only to see it headed away by former West Ham defender Gary Strodder. The frantic pace was not upheld in the second half. Bobby Gould brought on Kwame Ampadu the former Plymouth Argyle man on 54 minutes and he went close after only 3 minutes of coming on to the field as he flashed a shot across the face of the City goal and four minutes later he shot wide of the target when he could have done better following a good through ball by Darren Bradley. Moran could have scored on 67 minutes when the ball was played into the centre of the area but couldn't quite hit the target as he was hussled by two other defenders. On 73 minutes, Scott Daniels was adjudged to have pulled down Kwame Ampadu while trying to head clear. Craig Shakespeare made no mistake from the resulting penalty. Shakespeare has now scored 3 penalties against Exeter this season, having scored 2 in the game at the Hawthorns earlier this season. With the Albion fans celebrating, many Exeter fans looked on very dejected. However, on 89 minutes it was their turn to celebrate. Paul Alcock awarded Exeter a penalty when Dean Edwards was bundled over by Frank Sinclair. The referee had no option but to award a penalty and show Sinclair the red card for a professional foul. Steve Moran stayed coll while Sinclair was dismissed and while Darren Rogers came on as substitute, and then hit the penalty into the back of the net to level the scores and give Moran his 10th goal of the season. Exeter looked increasingly dangerous throughout on the right flank with Hiley the main troublemaker, aided by Gary Marshall.
Happy New Year to you all. Philip Knowles.