Match 09
17th September 1991
Stockport County (home)

Exeter City 2 Stockport County 1


John Hodge, another new face in the City line-up, from Falmouth made his league debut and what a debut it was to become.

However, all looked gloomy early on as the 6'7" Kevin Francis was tripped by Scott Daniels on halfway. Bill Williams send in a towering free-kick, the type that normally causes City no problem, this time Francis out-jumped Miller and headed into goal. Two minutes later Paul Wimbleton was booked and it seemed that another night of frustration was in store for the St James Park faithful 3,000.

This time the new team spirit was in evidence as City worked harder to get into the game. What followed until half-time was the best City spell for many a long day.

It started on 17 minutes. Daniels cleared an attack by County and passed to Hodge 10 yards inside his own half. Like a re-born Matthews Hodge stuck close to the line, he left Jim Gannon standing with pure skill and pace on the ball, turned past Williams twice and after breaking into the Stockport box he fired a low shot that deflected off Darren Knowles and past Dave Redfern in the County goal to level the scores. The home crowd were delighted to see such skill.

Gary Chapman then bemused Tony Barras shortly after and forced a point blank stop from Redfern. Hodge following up hit the rebound inches over from 25 yards. Chapman then again confused Barras in the 22nd minute and sent a shot across the face of the goal. Andy Cook and Hodge, both looking sound investments by Alan Ball, made excellent use of the space on both flanks.

After 37 minutes Hodge crossed from a tight angle but Eamonn Dolan and Chapman failed to make a connection. A minute later it was 2-1. Steve Williams, who had produced some lovely passes, chipped a free kick in behind the defence and Peter Whiston sneaked through to slip the ball past Redfern.

Dolan then volleyed over after 40 minutes after a fine pass by re-born skipper Tom Kelly and that was the last memorable incident of a fine half for City. No one in the ground, hand on heart, could have envisaged that Alan Ball could have made such a quick transformation in the City.

The towering Francis, the tallest player in the league, sent two second half headers just wide as Stockport showed the style that had taken them to the upper reaches of the table. Chapman retaliated for the Grecians with a stinging shot that Redfern did well to hold at the second attempt.

Eamonn Dolan missed a good opportunity in the 63rd minute and if fortune had been on his side he could have had a hat-trick, despite that his performance was a clear improvement on his disappointing debut against Hartlepool.

Cook and Wimbleton combined well with 'Cookie' producing a cross that Dolan headed just over. Wimbleton then shot narrowly wide from 25 yards. Late in the game Kevin Miller saved well from substitute Paskin and Jim Gannon. In the final minute he then made a save right out of the top drawer from Frain. Matthews headed against the bar, Daniels cleared before Francis could force the ball in.

This was, by far, City's best performance of the season. Let's hope to see the form continue as you continue to get behind the team.



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