24 March 2007.
York City (h)
THE VIEWS OF ANTONY MOXEY
Saturday 24th March 2007
EXETER CITY 1 YORK CITY 1
So City waste a golden opportunity to firmly cement a play-off space drawing 1-1 with fellow promotion hopefuls York City on a balmy spring afternoon at the Park in front of a whopping 4,410 crowd. City got off to a brisk start and made all of the early running. In the fifth minute a corner was only partially cleared to the loitering Gill who hit a crisp 35 yard drive low to the corner that was deflected for a corner.
A few minutes later a high hanging ball was beautifully controlled by Logan who laid it off to Carlisle away on the right. He in turned squared to the rushing Cozic who saw his blockbuster from the edge of the box scrambled away, but only to Stansfield who had his follow up shot blocked too.
It was pretty much all City with mere token attacks from York, and after eighteen minutes of dominance Elam received the ball out on the left where his low cross into the area was met by the unmarked Todd who showed typical centre-half poise by scooping wastefully over. But a minute later City got the reward their attacking play merited.
Elam burst through at break-neck speed and slammed the ball goalwards only to turn away in disbelief as it was blocked away. Again a City player was following up, and this time it was Logan who smashed hard towards the left side of the goal. In desperation York defender Ross Greenwood instinctively stretched out an arm to clear the ball off the line giving the referee little option but to award a penalty and send Greenwood back to the dressing room for an early bath.
After an eternity sorting the York defenders out, the referee eventually gave Billy Jones the green light and up he stepped to crash a head height howitzer whistling past the keeper into the back of the net and give City a fully deserved 1-0 lead. For much of the rest of the half York contented themselves with soaking up City pressure. Rather comfortably as it happened, but nevertheless despite not giving their keeper much to do it was City in the ascendency when the last meaningful action of the first half came with five minutes to go to the break when Logan played a peach of a diagonal ball from the half way line to Carlisle on the corner of the box. He unselfishly nodded the ball down to Stansfield who fired a low drive narrowly wide when the move deserved better.
With the second half soon underway it was as you were in the first half with City pressing for a second - and no doubt match winner and York happy to see out the pressure. As early as the first minute Elam sent Stansfield scampering in the area after a defender missed the chance to clear and he in turn crossed to Logan at the far post. With the ball slightly ahead of him Logan had to go wider than he'd have liked to collect, forcing him to shoot from five yards further left than he really wanted to be, but all the same was a little unluckly to see his turn and shot cannon back off the post with the keeper nowhere. Five minutes later Logan turned provider inviting Carlisle away down the right. He sent over a looping dipping cross- shot that the back pedalling keeper plucked comfortably from under the angle of post and bar.
After ten minutes Logan again was involved, this time bursting through the middle on his own, but once again the keeper proved to be more than a match for his low down effort from the edge of the box.
Two minutes later and City had the chance they were waiting for to seal the match. Twice York attempted to clear and twice Stansfield charged them down, the second time getting a kindly bounce to set him on his way with a one on one with the keeper. However Stansfield dallied allowing a combination of defender and keeper to pressure him into shooting unconvincingly that was pushed wide for a corner. In typical perverse fashion City were punished within a minute for their lack of composure in front of goal. An unnecessary free kick was conceded some 45 yards out towards the Flybe Stand touchline.
It seemed innocuous enough when former City striker Craig Farrell stepped up to hoist a high hanging cross into the box hoping one of his team-mates might get something on it, but in the most fortuitous of circumstances the ball caught on the breeze and with Paul Jones stuck in no man's land he could only watch in horror as it sailed over his outstretched finger tips to drop just underneath the bar and give the visitors a most unlikely equaliser.
City were rocked and going nowhere, York picked up and began to believe that they could get more than the point they came looking for. It was City's turn to weather some pressure as York pushed on and City wobbled, so midway through the half manager Tisdale saw fit to inject some fresh legs and swapped like for like bringing Mackie on in place of Stansfield.
With quarter of an hour remaining a deep Paul Jones free kick was superbly nodded on by Elam to Logan who flicked the ball on for Mackie to chase across the box, but his fizzing drive was blocked at source.
Two minutes later and a flagging Carlisle was replaced by Challinor, and that was about it until the closing minutes when first Mackie beat the keeper in a chase for the ball but shot wide after being forced wide and then both Mackie and Logan chased a bunch of defenders to the edge of the box before Logan emerged with the ball with his back to goal before turning to blast high over the bar. In between times Elam made way for Phillips and that was that, game over. But this has to go down as two points dropped rather than one gained against a strong York side who looked more than comfortable in dealing with City's rather toothless attack.
The opportunities were there but too many times players either ran up blind alleys or took the wrong pass or shoot option. You just knew York would land a sucker punch, and ironically it had to come from a striker City let go in the summer, although it has to be said it was somewhat of a fluke that got them their point.
Exeter City 1 York City 1.
Saturday 24 March 2007.
Exeter: Paul Jones, Ada, Edwards, Todd, Billy Jones, Carlisle (Challinor 77), Cozic, Gill, Elam (Phillips 90), Logan, Stansfield (Mackie 70).
Subs Not Used: Rice, Taylor.
Booked: Logan, Gill.
Goals: Billy Jones 25 pen.
York: Evans, Greenwood, McGurk, Kovacs, James, Farrell (Convery 86), Bishop, Panther, Bowey, Brodie (Purkiss 25), Donaldson (Woolford 82).
Subs Not Used: Parslow, Elvins.
Sent Off: Greenwood (21).
Booked: Bishop, Panther.
Goals: Farrell 58.
Referee S Cook (Sheffield).