15th April 1972
Colchester United (h)
Exeter City 3, Colchester 3
This was the game that gave the proverb spinners opportunities galore to come out with all the old favourites about there being many a slip, or the advisability of counting chickens, or a game never beng won until the final whistle.
To be sure they would all be applicable Because although it is certain that any Soccer judge hearing evidence about this game would give judgment to Exeter, the fact still remains that three times they took the lead, and three times Colchester came back.
It was, on reflection, a puzzling Exeter performance. Like the wind it was blustery. There were times when they produced some quite splendid football, and there were others when their passing was untidy and their approach work scrappy.
Indeed, if there had been as much miscuing on a billiard table, one would have feared for the condition of the cloth.
On the same basis Colchester were a side that tended to deceive. In the first half particularly they looked a very ordinary and unin- spiring combination.
But they showed that they were capable of the sudden unorthdox move, the quick raid, relying on fast and intelligent running, and in these moments they looked dangerous; But what this game was definitely all about was goals. Six of them, and there could have been more. Exeter had some misfortune they saw three efforts cleared off the line but at the same time they threw away a couple of golden opportunities.
The first goal came in the 15th minute. Centre-half Jimmy Giles hit a ball high and far up-field. Fred Binney collected it, into the middle, and it, raced saw his chance as goalkeeper Barry Smith came racing towards him. He lobbed it over his head and into the net.
The Colchester equaliser came in the 28th minute, because of a foul by Mike Balson on Steve Leslie. A penalty was awarded and Brian Gibbs made no mistake.
In the 57th minute it was the industry of Alan Banks that earned Exeter's second goal. His cross beat everybody flashed as it across the goalmouth. And there was Barry Rowan to stab a shot into the net.
But two minutes later Colchester were back on terms. A Mick Mahon corner was bundled, almost chested into the net by Eric Burgess.
In the 71st minute came the goal most people would have sworn would win the match. Dave Gibson's corner found John Wingate at the far post. He headed back into the goalmouth and Banks hurled himself forward to head in.
But no, it was not to be. Substitute Lindsay Smith found a gap in the Exeter defence in the 80th minute and his through ball was snapped up by Mahon to score the goal that finally gave Colchester a share of the points.