Match 05
28 August 2006.
Crawley Town (h)


Monday 29th August 2006

Exeter City 1 Crawley Town 1

The game started with City appearing keen to erase the memory of defeat at Tamworth 48 hours earlier when as early as the second minute there was plenty of promising play on the left hand side against City legend Scott Hiley involving Phillips, Jones and Moxey. However it was another former City player Jake Edwards who made the first meaningful contribution to the game a minute later when he danced into the box to send a crashing shot against the post via the glove of Rice.

A couple of minutes later and the action was back at the Crawley end, this time Phillips diving to butt wide a Billy Jones cross from deep at the near post. Soon after Phillips was again frustrated, this time by team mate Stansfield who after an electric burst down the right cut in and elected to shoot into the side netting from an impossible angle whilst Phillips looked on agonisingly from the penalty spot. The early action was unrelenting, and soon it was Moxey getting in on the act, this time glancing a Woodards cross narrowly wide from the edge of the six yard box after working hard to outfox his marker.

Alas though it was Crawley who opened the scoring, seriously against the run of play and seriously, in my view, against the laws of the game! Jake Edwards appeared to pull Rob Edwards back and wrestle him to the floor as both players challenged inside the box. With the crowd baying for a free kick and the players looking on in astonishment, Crawley's Lee Blackburn nipped in to plant a shot goalwards that was deflected on it's way into the net past the despairing lunge of the wrongfooted Rice to put Crawley 1-0 up. City and the crowd were incensed, so much so that in the aftermath three players were entered into the ref's notebook. But heads soon calmed and City looked to get back level as quickly as possible. Minutes after the goal City almost equalised the barnstorming Cozic unlucky to see his sidefoot from a great Phillips cross deflected to safety by the keepers' legs. City's woes were compounded with less than 25 minutes on the clock by the enforced withdrawal of Woodards with a thigh injury to be replaced by Challinor, who slotted in on the right side of midfield with Taylor dropping back to Woodards' right back position.

Soon, though, the half time whistle came, and just about summed up City's first half luck as the ref decided to blow just as a long ball over the top saw Stansfield nip between two defenders on the halfway line and begin to give chase.

The second half was soon underway with Crawley continuing to frustrate City with a combination of deep defending and timewasting. Deano had other ideas though and with ten minutes gone almost repeated THAT goal against Doncaster from way out on the left. Unfortunately the keeper was alert enough to turn it round the far post after back tracking furiously. The next attack a minute later saw a surging Cozic run through the middle of the Park to neatly slip the ball into the path of Stansfield who left his defender for dead. His

goalbound poke was parried by the keeper, but only into the path of Deano who gleefully slotted home from half a dozen yards out, despite a valiant late attempt at a tackle from the defence, to even the score at 1-1.

City could easily have taken the lead on the hour when Stansfield broke the Crawley offside trap away on the right, but unfortunately rather tamely scuffed a weak cross into the keeper's midriff as Cozic lurked behind. This proved to be Stansfield's last meaningful action as he was almost immediately substituted for Mackie. However, like Woodards, this appeared to be the result of a thigh injury rather than anything else.

Crawley hearts were in mouths in the final five minutes as they survived a very strong penalty shout from the bench, players and crowd when Mackie and a defender chased a long punt into the box and both went tumbling at the keeper's feet. Par for the course really that the ref waved play on.

Finally, with the board showing four minutes of stoppage time, just rewards for George Friend who's wonderful display in the reserves' 100 demolition of Cullompton in midweek saw him make his first appearance of the season earning Dean Moxey a much deserved rest and standing ovation from the crowd after his own quite wonderful display today.

But talk about being robbed. City did about as much as they could to try and win the game, easily dominating possession, easily outplaying their guests, and easily having the majority of goalmouth action. As for the players, again Rice was solid, and again did little wrong. Not much he could have done about the goal think, either. In defence once again Rob

Edwards towered. Todd had no easy task against Jake Edwards, but in the end won their personal duel. Both full backs were keen to get forward, although Billy Jones deadball deliveries once or twice went a little wayward. Hopefully Danny Woodards' injury isn't too serious and he'll be back next weekend.

The balance seemed better in midfield with Gill sat in front of the back four and Cozic free to burst forward, which he did with no little aplomb. Taylor again worked tirelessly, and continued this when asked to drop back and fill in at right back. Challinor showed why he's far more effective on the left than on the right. Dean Moxey though what a performance. He tackled hard, ran endlessly and was instrumental in most of City's good stuff today.

Up front Stansfield was his usual zippy effervescent self. As to Phillips, well it wasn't quite his day. A lot of stuff, to be fair to him, did come from high, but he will have to work a bit harder and chase a bit more if he's to keep the livewire Mackie on the bench.

But overall feel two points lost rather than one gained. We were by far the better team in pretty much every angle you care to find, and after the disappointment of Tamworth feel for the players after seeing a deserved victory denied by circumstances not entirely of their own doing.

Match Details 

Exeter City 1 Crawley Town 1.

Tuesday 28 August 2006.

Exeter: Rice, Woodards (Challinor 26), Todd, Edwards, Billy Jones, Taylor, Cozic, Gill, Moxey (Friend 90), Phillips, Stansfield (Mackie 63).

Subs Not Used: Paul Jones, Richardson.

Booked: Woodards, Edwards.

Goals: Moxey 58.

Crawley Town: Hamer, Judge, Woozley, Hiley, Danny Brown, Scully, Bostwick, Mills (Sattleton 90), Blackburn, Edwards, Strevens.
Subs Not Used: Tolfrey, Rendell, Marshall, Townsend.

Goals: Blackburn 21.

Attendance 3,403

Referee S Snartt (Bristol).



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