30 September 2006.
BUCKLE TIES UP SAD PORT
Cook's troops slip in the soup
EXETER CITY recorded their second away victory of the campaign with an efficient second half showing at Southport. Assistant manager Paul Buckle, a 23rd minute substitute, netted the decisive strike with a measured finish just short of the hour-mark. Now undefeated in their last four outings, the Grecians remain tenth after a hard-working yet unspectacular performance. Despite a strong first-half display. Southport fall into the relegation zone for the first time in six months, having suffered their second successive defeat. Manager Paul Cook was pleased with the manner in which his side admirably replied to the midweek defeat against Northwich, but the Sandgrounders are now with only one win in seven outings.
City boss Paul Tisdale admitted his side made "uncharacteristic mistakes" early on the in the match - and the Grecians were fortunate not to have seen them punished by their hosts. Goalkeeper Martin Rice respond- ed quickly to produce a vital inter- ception to deny Joe Fowler after a slip from defender Billy Jones, while striker Tony Gray was unable to apply the desired connection to Chris Lane's incisive centre when well placed.
Rice was called upon to deny Gray, who also placed an effort per- ilously wide from the edge of the area having been afforded space fol- lowing Fowler's controlled pass. Adam Stansfield was a constant threat for Exeter and after seeing Steve Rowland deflect his close- range shot wide, the Grecians strik- er drew a fingertip save from goal- keeper Ryan Robinson with an angled shot.
Jon Challinor fired a curling shot across the face of goal after Stansfield had beaten Rowland in the air, while, at the other end. Baker's snap-shot proved a comfortable catch for keeper Rice before Fowler had an effort blocked by Danny Woodwards after being cleverly freed by Alex Smith. Port stopper Robinson produced a fine near-post save to divert Stansfield's low drive into the side netting following a good ball from Challinor, before a fierce shot from Moxey was deflected over by the fly- ing challenge of Dan Kirkup, the Southport debutant who performed commendably.
Lee Phillips failed to connect with a Matthew Gill cross following the re-start, but Exeter grabbed the cru- cial goal on 58 minutes. A slick move featuring Moxey and Phillips was finished by substitute Buckle, who drilled home a low shot past the dive of Robinson from 20 yards. Stansfield was denied by Robinson, whose miscued clearance should have been capitalised upon by the Exeter frontman, but he shot wide from close-range when under pressure from Lane.
Despite battling to construct a reply, Southport lacked a cutting edge in front of goal and their openings were limited to efforts from Gray, Dino Maamria and sub- stitute Michael Powell, who shot wide. They ultimately paid the price as the visitors held on for victory and set off on the long journey home with all three points in the bag.
Southport 0 Exeter City 1.
Saturday 30 September 2006.
Southport: Robinson, Lane, Kirkup, Rowland, Olsen, Smith, Baker (Powell 74), Boyd (Blakeman 50), Fowler (Douglas 63), Gray, Maamria.
Subs Not Used: Bagnall, Hoolickin.
Exeter: Rice, Woodards, Edwards, Richardson, Billy Jones, Challinor, Cozic (Buckle 23), Gill, Moxey (Mackie 66), Phillips, Stansfield (Taylor 74).
Subs Not Used: Paul Jones, Seaborne.
Goals: Buckle 60.
Referee A Haines (Yorkshire).