Exeter City 1-0 Fulham
Match Report by Martyn Dean
SOCCER is not just a ball game. It is also a game of swings and roundabouts. That much was evident from Exeter City's 1-0 win over Fulham last night-a victory which keeps them in contention at the top of the third division table and extends their unbeaten home run to 13 games. For what Exeter lost with some wild swings at goal against Burnley last Saturday, they regained in a roundabout sort of way at Fulham's expense last night. As City's manager Brian Godfrey put if afterwards: "We absolutely annihilated Burnley on Saturday and only managed to get a draw out of it, but tonight we can count ourselves a little fortunate to have taken both points.
"It is the sort of thing which tends to even itself out over the season, although I doubt whether Fulham will see it that way at the moment. "They were easily the best side we have played this season and I do not think many teams will take both points from them." That Exeter managed to do just that was due in the main to a flash of genius from Tony Kellow mid-way through the second half which ended four hours of goalless football for City. Kellow picked up a pass from Frank Prince, turned past a defender and calmly flicked the ball home for his sixth goal of the season. It was a move which afterwards had Godfrey proclaiming that even at £70,000, Kellow was a bargain buy. It was just as well for Exeter that Fulham's Gordon Davies did not show Kellow's killer touch in front of goal. The Welsh international tore some alarming holes in the City defence and might easily have had a hat-trick in the first half.
As it was the nearest he came to scoring was in the 18th minute when City were given the benefit of an amazing double let-off. First Robert Wilson headed the ball against the cross-bar and then Davies pounced on the rebound only to see his shot hit the post and roll back along the goal-line into the arms of a relieved Ian Main. Fulham, who adopted a refreshing attacking attitude throughout, certainly had the better of a first half in which City seemed to have great difficulty in stringing their game together.
Their passing was particularly poor, but as the game wore on Exeter gradually began to find their feet. Fulham's keeper Gerry Peyton made three fine saves from Ian Pearson, Steve Neville, and Peter Hatch towards the end of the first half and Dave Pullar was unlucky with a tremendous shot at the start of the second. Generally, however, City did not create nearly as many chances as they have done in recent matches and it was fortunate that one of the few they did manage to carve out fell to Kellow. Overall it was probably not the best of performances but Phil Roberts had another storming game at the back, while Pearson and John Delve did well in mid- field and Kellow produced another tireless display up front. Roberts and Roy Ireland were both booked in the closing stages along with Fulham's Les Strong.
- As expected the match was watched by Exeter's biggest crowd of the season 5,300.