Match 32
5th February 1972
Newport County (h)

Exeter City 1, Newport 0

The old adage about being thankful for small mercies rings true about this uninspiring game. Any side who have had to graft so hard for so few points this season as Exeter will always be thankful for a win. So will their supporters, but there was nothing else to shout about from this match.

Exeter, of course, should not have made such hard work of what could have been a good deal more simple task than it appeared to be.

Certainly Newport's goalkeeper Terry Lynch made a number of first-rate saves, but if there had been more power, certainty, authority, and determination to Exeter's play they would not have had to rely on one slender goal for their win.

That Exeter deserved to win cannot be denied. They had more chances than Newport (who scarcely had any); they showed more initiative and the willingness to keep going until the goal that was always on finally came.

But there was little excitement to their play; there was not the quick construction of a side brimming over with confidence.

Some moves were well executed, with Steve Stacey again showing what a dangerous player he can be when he strides away on one of his overlapping runs down the wing.

Fred Binney bustled away as boisterously as ever, while Dave Gibson, particularly in the second half, produced two or three golden touches that made most people wish longingly that they had seen a good deal more of that sort of football.

But equally there were spells when Exeter's football was slow and lifeless. They had no trouble in defence for what movements they did not break up Newport ruined themselves either by fuss- ing about too much in front of goal or by some wildly inaccurate shooting. Indeed, Bob Wilson hardly had a shot to save.

Exeter's player-manager, John Newman summed it up with his comment that Exeter played much better and lost, and that with the worry of having given away so many goals this season they wanted to keep it as tight as possible.


But with Newport's ineffective forward-line there was little danger of giving away a goal. As manager Newman said: "We were never in any danger. I thought the only way we would lose was by making mistakes." Happily, Exeter did not make any vital mistakes.

In the first half Binney was the man who was producing most of the goalmouth action. Virtually from the start he picked up one of Newport's mistakes and Emashed in a close-range shot which Lynch did well to save.

After that he had a header and a shot extremely well saved by Lynch, and Stacey saw the New- port goalkeeper pull out another fine save to his massive shot from the wing.

It was the same story in the second half and, in the last 15 minutes particularly, Exeter were totally in command and missed a couple of clear-cut opportunities to have built on their lead.

The goal that won the match came in the 52nd minute, when, from Gibson's corner, Mike Balson headed forward into the crowded goalmouth, and there was Binney to nod in his eighth goal of the season and to join John Wingate as Exeter's leading goalscorers.

Attendance: 3,732.

'Our single goal success flattered Newport. We were worth a bigger win " said  Exeter chief JOHN NEWMAN after his side had made it two wins in a row.



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