18th August 1971
Football League Cup 1st Round
Bristol Rovers (h)
By DEREK LEAN
Exeter City 0, Bristol Rovers 3
EXETER'S EXIT from the Football League Cup last night was as inglorious as it was undis- tinguished. From Exeter came a performance of almost total mediocrity, and although Bristol thoroughly deserved their win. the match as a whole was a pretty uninspiring affair.
The trouble was that although Exeter scurried here, and scampered there, all their running and chasing got them precisely nowhere. They lacked method. construction, and the sheer footballing flair that adds the icing of results to the cake of hard work.
And at the start at any rate one can complain about no Exeter's work rate. The game was a dull series of skirmishes, but it was hard fought and even if there was precious sign of quality or artistry from either side. there was a keen edge of competition to the exchanges.
After 30 minutes Bristol's left- half, Frank Prince, popped up with a goal. It was taken as regally as his name and from then on Exeter just struggled.
They were totally ineffective up front. their midfield men could not plant any authority on the game and too often their defence was desperate and harried in doing their work.
Exeter's football was as untidy and unproductive garden of weeds. as a There were moments when they nearly got a goal.
A header from Joe Gadston Just over the bar after Steve Stacey had run strongly and pulled a cross back just before the ball crossed the line, and a John Wingate header cleared off the line.
But these were rare moments, and all of Exeter's work lacked the spark of planning. Bristol might not have looked like a giant of a side, but their football was punctuated with passes that found their men, and the sort of intelligent distribution that gets a defence in a mix-up.
That first goal came from a throw-in, in, with Robin Stubbs pushing the ball square to Princes. He was a long way out, but he hit his shot beautifully, and the ball fairly flew into the top corner of the net.
Before that, Bristol had shown flashes of what they were capable of performing with a neat weaving run from Harold Jarman and another teasing and twisting raid by right-winger Kenny Stephens, but Exeter's fate was truly sealed early in the first half.
A quick free kick by Jarman came across the middle, and centre-half Jimmy Giles tried a first time clearance unfor- tunately, all he did was to slice the ball into his own net.
In the 66th minute the whole thing was wrapped up. Right- half Brian Godfrey's cross was not cleanly handled by goal- keeper Bob Wilson, and former Torquay striker Stubbs was given the easiest of chances as he trickled in Bristol's third goal
Exeter still tried, but their play just was not up to the task. Alan Banks escaped once and looked certain to score, but Prince, the man who had got that all-important first goal for Bristol, turned defender with a vengeance as he cleared off the line.
For Exeter it has certainly been an unhappy start to the season, with seven goals con- ceded in two matches and a nil entry in their own goal balance account.