21st October 1980
Slick City back in the race
WALSALL (0) 1 Rees
EXETER (2) 3 Rogers P., Kellow, Pratt
CITY stormed their way to an outstanding win with a devastating display of attacking football which completely destroyed hapless Walsall.
With only one win from their previous five games, during which time they had conceded 13 goals, Exeter's form was a revelation. But the win needs to be put into its true perspective, because Walsal| produced a dismal, disjointed performance, which culminated in their disappointed player-manager, Alan Buckley, substituting himself mid-way through the second half. Exeter dominated long spells and were rewarded with goals from Peter Rogers, Tony Kellow and substitute Ray Pratt to give them two points which takes them back among the promotion chasers. In torrential rain Exeter began at a blistering pace, and Walsall were completely put out of their stride. Walsall were rocked back on their heels when Hatch moved forward and fired in a great shot which cannoned against a post. Exeter kept on the attack with a series of snap raids which earned them a third-minute lead when Walsall's defence was again at panic stations. It was a cross from Prince on the left which completely evaded the Walsall defence, and Peter Rogers was on hand to head home past a transfixed Turner in the Walsall goal
Walsall struggled to make any impact in the early stages and their defence was often in utter confusion. Exeter new goalkeeper Len Bond had a very quiet debut. although he impressed when he had to race from his goal and save courageously at the feet of Rees after the wall player had rounded Hatch.
Exeter domination became even stronger, and they were accorded numerous openings by the shocked Walsall side, which regularly put the opposition in possession with their own poor passing. Peter Rogers, in particular, prospered from the inept wasal display. He was given a great deal of space in which to operate by Macken, and he created havoc with some good crosses from the left. Walsall conceded a second goal after 29 minutes when a Rogers cross was headed home by Tony Kellow, for his 10th goal of the season. The game fell away after this goal Both teams made elementary mistakes in the adverse conditions, and it was not until the 39th minute of the game that went won their first corner of the match.
Exeter danger man Peter Rogers had to be substituted after 57 minutes, but it had no detrimental effect upon the outcome as the dismal Walsall side still struggled to make any real impact. Player manager Alan Buckley summed up his own reaction to the performance by taking himself off in the 64th minute. Three minutes later substitute Pratt put the game out of Walsall reach with a spectacular 20-yard drive.
As Exeter began to relax their grip Walsall, watched by their smallest home crowd of the season (3,703)- staged a late rally and scored a consolation goal through Rees in the 87th minute when he fired home a cross shot.