Match 50
1st May 1984
Rotherham United (away)

Defeat seals Exeter fate

1st May 1984 
From Alex Young's Scrapbook 

THE inevitable has finally happened for Exeter City and it's Division Four football for them next season. And the remarkable thing is that the defeat which finally doomed them was by only one goal.

For City were almost comple totally dominated throughout the match and an indication of Rotherham's superiority was that they forced no fewer than 19 corners. But City cracked only once and it needed a goal of real quality right on half-time to sink them. Ironically, it followed a mis cued cross from Kilmore on the right which wrong-footed retreating defenders. Birch was quickest to the ball and he hit a stunning first time shot from 18 yards that gave Bond no chance what soever.

Yet despite being under siege Exeter might well have snatched away from the home side the points that would not only have helped themselves but also companions in distress, Plymouth. Their clearest chance fell to Sims on 63 minutes after good work from Kirkup, but the big striker blazed wide from 12 yards. Then only a magnificent last ditch tackle by Pickering robbed Pratt when he was clean through after a Kirkup shot had been half blocked. With Rotherham getting edgy and anxious as they tried to protect their lead in the last ten minutes, City had their best moments and caused a few flutters in the home defence. And it needed a desperate clearance by Forrest to foil Sims after Mimms had failed to hold on to a cross after a fine break by Neville. But it really was a story of City under siege as they hung on under tremendous pressure that brought seven corners in the opening 15 minutes. Simmons headed on to a post, former Plymouth player Trusson, somehow unable to scramble in the rebound. A complete mis-kick by Simmons let City off the hook again but the most amazing let-off was to follow after 35 minutes when Forrest lifted his cross over everyone including Bond but
Kilmore somehow shot wide of the empty net from four yards. Simmons even lifted the ball over Bond as he went round him following a bad back pass but Atkinson rescued things with a marvellous clearance. Then came the goal when City must have fought they had survived. It was Kirkup who produced City's nearest first-half effort when he burst through, lobbed over Mimms from an angle but saw Forrest head away.

The second half opened with Bond producing a magnificent save from Kilmore's 25-yarder, tipping the ball on to the bar. Kirkup cleared off the line from Dungworth and then City had another escape when Simmons raced clear, lobbed Bond but saw the effort bounce wide. After being under so much pressure, it was to City's credit that they had the ability to come back and finish with a flourish that had Rotherham defending anxiously.

Star Players

ROTHERHAM: Mark Rhodes.
EXETER: Graeme Kirkup.

Attendance: 3.636.



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