28 September 1983
Lincoln City (h)
Fashanu off but Lincoln still too good for sad City
BEATEN BY TEN MEN
Exeter 0 Lincoln 3
Match Report by Trina Lake
EXETER CITY'S tale of woe continued last night with a second 3-0 defeat in five days that leaves them firmly rooted to the bottom of the Third Division. They have now gone four games and played nearly 62 hours of 62 league football without scoring a goal and they desperately need a lucky break to turn the tide. Nothing seems to be going City's way at the moment and as if to emphasise that, player-manager Gerry Fran- cis revealed after the game that a deal bringing Bristol City midfield player Russell Musker to St James's Park on loan has been put on ice because the 21-year-old was injured in training last week. He picked up a calf strain that will keep him out of action for a week to 10 days and City are not going to sign him until he is fit to play. "We need a break at the moment," said Francis, who was frank enough to admit that Lincoln deserved their first away win of the season on a fine second half display. It was a fairly even opening 45 minutes with a lack of finishing power from City and brilliance from goal- keeper Len Bond keeping the scores level. Lincoln defender Steve Thompson saved off the line in the ninth minute when Peter Taylor stabbed a Martin Ling centre back across goal and Steve Neville threatened to break the deadlock. The best chances of the half fell to Lincoln. Full back Phil Neale had a shot from inside the penalty area beaten out by Bond and the City 'keeper bravely saved at the feet of the lively Gordon Hobson as the forward chased a fine Neale through ball. Bond's best save came in the 22nd minute when he flung himself to his left to deny Phil Turner as the mid- fielder sneaked up unnoticed to get on the end of a Glen Cockerill cross. City weathered the storm however and with Joe Auguste sparking them into life up front they looked capable of breaking down Lincoln's competent defence.
Francis sent in a 35th-minute long-shot which dipped late and went just too high and Peter Rogers flashed a shot just past the post after a good run down the right just before half-time. Although City's game lacked any real pattern there were encouraging signs that perhaps they were beginning to turn the corner in front of the lowest crowd of the season. But all hope turned out to be in vain as Lincoln went ahead within three minutes of the start of the second half. The impressive Hobson weaved his way through and had a shot well blocked by Bond but Ross Jack, a summer signing from First Division Norwich, was on hand to tuck home the rebound from close range, Bond made another immaculate save from a Thompson volley to keep City in with a chance but the game changed in the 53rd minute when Lincoln's John Fashanu was sent off. He was involved in an off-the-ball clash with Jim Hicks and a linesman spotted him elbow the tall defender an incident that earned him his marching orders in only his second game for the club since join- ing them on loan from Norwich. Ten-man Lincoln worked so hard to make up for being one short that they took control of the game. City tried to make the most of their number advantage with a couple of thrusts forward. Rogers, who had a fairly lively return after injury, had a shot saved by Dave Felgate in the 55th minute and the 'keeper smothered well as Keith Viney tried to force the ball over the line. Lincoln's intelligent ploy of constantly trying to change the point of attack brought them a deserved second goal in the 63rd minute. Jack sent a lovely crossfield pass to Turner, who knocked it into the path of George Shipley and he sent a fiercely swerving shot past Bond and into the far corner of the net. City immediately tried to change their pattern by bringing on striker Tony Kellow for Martin Ling and the Cornishman, with a point to prove, just failed to make the most of a couple of good openings. He rose to send a free header from Viney's cross high and wide and then a crisp volley on the turn went over the bar. City's attacks were often a little ponderous but Lincoln's surges out of defence, were far more incisive and it was their speed on the break that brought a third goal. Cockerill went streaking through only to be felled by Bond, and Jack smacked home the resultant penalty to bury City. Incredibly that was the seventh penalty in five fixtures between the clubs. Apart from sending off Fashanu, Poole referee Les Burden also booked Lincoln's Keith Houghton and City's Nick Marker for fouls.
Bond, Marker, Viney, McEwan, Hicks, Francis, Ling, P. Rogers, Taylor, Neville, Auguste; Sub Kellow (on for Ling).
Felgate,, Simmonite, Neale, Houghton, Thompson, Cockerill, Fashanu, Turner, Hobson, Jack, Shipley; Sub Thomas.