2nd October 1971
Crewe Alexandra (h)
Exeter City 3, Crewe 1
Match report by Derek Lean
NOT SINCE I stopped reading The Champion" have I come across a climax quite as dramatic as this one. only 13 minutes to go, it looked as if Crewe were going to surprise everyone with their first win of the season.
Then Campbell Crawford set up and scored an equaliser; and finally with Exeter going like blazes, and time their formidable adver- sary, they grabbed two goals in injury-time to win.
It was the sort of stuff to set the adrenalin pumping, and more happily it helped to erase the considerable frustration that had been attached to Exeter's performance until this grandstand finish.
There were plenty of times when Exeter looked as if they could score, and a couple of times when they very nearly did. But for all this there was no urgency, With the second half Exeter's play became scrappy and they did not even have the territorial con- trol as in the first period. It might not have been deserved. but was of thing that exactly the sort of happens in games like this, that Crewe, who had survived the first half pressure, turned around and took the lead.
It happened in the 54th minute with Crewe enforcing three successive corners. From the third, taken by Stan Bowles, Alan Brad- shaw, by the near post, steered a header into the net.
Not even that goal stung Exeter into effective retaliation and they struggled to get back into the game. Manager Newman decided to take off Steve Morris and bring on substitute Alan Banks and when he stripped off his track suit there was the sort of cheer that always goes up in Westerns when the cavalry gallop over the hill.
Certainly it was not long after that when Exeter started to make their recovery, although it was Crawford who led the rescue charge. In one of his typical moves of individual brilliance he chipped a ball with all the expertise of Darry Owen, over the heads of the Crewe defenders and slipped through to pick it up again. He swung a shot which probably would have gone in anyway, but Barry Rowan followed up fast and finished off the goal. And that goal was the shot in the arm that Exeter needed. Not only was there a sudden rush of urgency, but the football to match it. And their soccer came fluently and fast, with players making openings, finding their men with intelligent passes that were as purposeful as they were precise. Time was ticking away fast and the game moved into injury time. Then Gadston took a quick throw in which Rowan returned to him. Amazingly, with only inches to spare from the by-line. Gadston weaved his way defenders, then moved out, past two made the angle, and crashed the ball past goalkeeper Ernie Adams.
The relief was almost tangible, but it was replaced by excitement again within seconds. Straight from the kick-off Exeter bustled into an attack.
Rowan found Wingate with his cross. He headed back into the middle, with Binney flicking it on to Banks who headed in Exeter's third.