Match 24
18 December 2005.
FA Trophy 1st Round.
Bishop’s Stortford

Exeter City 2 Bishop Stortford 1.
FA Trophy.
Sunday 18 December 2005.

Ref: Roger Vaughan

Att: 1807.

FA Trophy 1st Round.

Archive match report

Bishop's Stortford currently lie in 17thplace in the Conference South, but didn't give Exeter an easy ride in this FA Trophy encounter.

Alex Inglethorpe picked a strong starting eleven with lined up as follows,

Woodards, Sawyer, Santos, Jones,
Mackie, Cronin, Robinson, Challinor, Farrell, Phillips.

Subs: Rice, Todd, Buckle, Afful, Flack.

There was a bright start to the game, and City took the lead within the first 5 minutes.  A Stortford defender was holding onto Farrell inside the area and the referee could have blown up for a penalty.  However he let play go on for a further few seconds, which was just long enough for Lee Phillips to be bundled over in the box.  This time the ref pointed to the spot and Billy Jones sent the visiting keeper the wrong way with his penalty to give the Grecians an early lead.  1 - 0.

Gary Sawyer

Exeter were looking the more dangerous of the two sides and Lee Phillips (back from suspension) in particular was causing some problems for the men from Woodside Park.

Midway through the first period Challinor and Jones linked up well down the left.  Jones' cross found Farrell inside the six yard box, but his effort from close range was well saved by the visiting keeper.

Lee Phillips came close to doubling Exeter's lead just a few minutes later.  Phillips chested the ball down on the edge of the area, but his left footed drilled effort flew wide of the target.

Although the Grecians were dominating, it wasn't totally one way traffic.  The Bishop's Stortford captain, Dave Rainford, was whinging and moaning about things for much of the game but did well to urge his team on and believe they could get something from the game.

The final five minutes of the first period were by far the most entertaining of the game.  Stortford had two decent chances to score but paid the price for putting neither opportunity into the back of the net.  Exeter broke away and the ball came to debutant Anton Robinson about twenty yards from goal.  The former Millwall midfielder side-footed the ball with power and precision into the far top corner to make the game look safe.  2 - 0.

However, the Blues had different ideas and hit back immediately.  A scrambled cross from the left bobbled across the goal and was back heeled into the net from close range by Roy Essandoh.  2 - 1.

There was still time though for a few more chances before the break.  Jon Challinor's header found the roof of the net following a long Billy Jones free kick, and a minute later a Santos Gaia scissor kick just failed to find the top corner.

It was to be the Brazilian's last contribution to the game, as he was subbed at half time to be replaced by Chris Todd in defence.  Exeter started the second period well and won a couple of corners in quick succession.  Nothing came of them though and City had to wait until the hour for their next real chance.  The referee handed Exeter a free kick for a high foot, but Billy Jones' curling effort didn't trouble Andy Young as it dipped just over the bar.

Les Afful came on to replace Farrell meaning that Mackie went to join Lee Phillip's in attack.  Mackie started to receive more of the ball and had a couple of good chances to increase the Exeter advantage.  Midway though the second half he had a shot from inside the area deflected over, and just a minute later failed to capitalise on plenty of time just outside the box and could only scoop his shot well over.

As the half progressed Stortford pushed forward more often looking for an equaliser.  They came close when Morison hit the post with around quarter of an hour left on the clock.  At the other end Exeter could have been given a second penalty but the referee didn't punish a headlock on Chris Todd.

Paul Jones had to make a couple of great saves to keep the City advantage intact.  A Roy Essandoh drive was fumbled away and with just over ten minutes left on the clock Jones was called into action again and did superbly to save from close range.

You could sense it was time for one final City change and Alex Inglethorpe duly obliged.  Steve Flack came on to replace Mackie.  The Blues manager, Martin Hayes, responded by bringing on Duane Jackman and the substitute was almost responsible for taking the game to a replay.  However, his header in the final minute went just wide of Jones' goal and Exeter fans could breathe a sigh of relief.

Although Bishop's Stortford were no pushovers, Exeter deserved the victory and a place in the next round of the FA Trophy.

Final Score:
Exeter 2 Bishop's Stortford 1

Attendance: 1,807



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