3 December 1983
Hull City (h)
HULL CITY RECORD ENDS AMID CONTROVERSY
HULI CITY slid out of the promotion places again into fourth spot amid a storm of controversy on Saturday, against Exeter City at St. James' Park.
Two hotly-disputed goals in an incident-packed second half. which also contained three seemingly good disallowed scores, halted the Tigers' six- match unbeaten run. The first came in the 55th minute, when referee Dennis Hedges allowed Hugh Atkinson's header from a Mark O'Connor corner, despite a foul on City keeper Tony Norman by Peter Rogers. Then 6min. after Tigers right-back Bobby McNeil had headed in a perfect left-wing centre from Brian Marwood in the 69th minute for his second goal of the season, there was another uproar. Linesman Gale flagged for a foul by Hill City sweeper Dennis Booth on Rogers, who later said it was not, and Norman could only block Gerry Francis' free-kick to striker Ray Pratt, who tapped in. The first allegedly illegal "goal" was after 80min, when Mr Gale adjudged that Steve Neville was offside, although he was clearly not interfering with play as O'Connor drilled home from 18yd. And he infuriated the struggling Devon club again in injury time for pointing out an alleged foul on Booth by Neville, before he released Rogers, who side-footed into the net Seconds later Inesman Larder got in on the act by ruling that Tigers striker Billy Whitehurst was offside-when he seemed well onside-in the build-up to a headed own goal from right-back Graeme Kirkup. This decision deprived City of the equalise they merited, because they enjoyed a territorial advantage overall and chiselled out most of the openings They forced the one serious save in a lifeless first half, with Len Bond charging down a Marwood shot, as well as going near through Marwood and midfielder Garreth Roberts. Meanwhile, after halftime Marwood twice tested Bond, McNeil hit the bar, forward Steve Massey had a goalbound shot blocked, Whitehurst fred inches wide and had a header cleared, whereis. for Exeter Oconnor stretched Norman. Howarth had an accurate shot deflected and Neville blazed just off target. In the end, though, the crucial factor in the loss of the League's last unbeaten away record this season were those disgraceful decisions.
55min. Atkinson 1-0
69min McNeil 1-1
75min. Pratt 2-1
EXETER CITY: Band, Kirkup, Viney. O'Connor, Webster, Atkinson, Neville, Rogers, Pratt, Francis, Howarth (Marker 69).
HULL CITY: Norman, McNeil, Swann, D. Roberts, Skipper, Booth, Marwood, McClaren, Whitehurst, Massey, G. Roberts. Sub: Flounders.
REFEREE: D. Hedges (Oxford).
McClaren 29, Massey, 33, Marwood 56, G. Roberts 87.
Hull City 2+3=5.
Hull City 10+11=21.