25th October 1980
Swindon Town (h)
(Kellow 2 (1 pen), Pratt)
Mayes Rowland (2) Miller
Team, Bond, Rogers (M.), Hatch, Prince, Giles, Roberts, Forbes, Pratt, Kellow, Delve, Pullar, Pearson (sub)
Referee J. E. Martin (Alton).
Match Repoort by by Gordon Hines
MANAGER Brian Godfrey made no bones about his first priority after Exeter City had scored a trio of goals yet were still left to lick their wounds at St. James' Park. For within minutes of leaving a steamy and stun- ned dressing room last night, the City chief was talking about plunging into the transfer market for a fresh defender. That's 25 goals we've given away this season — it can't go on like this," stormed Godfrey after Exeter had conceded four for the second home game on the trot. 'I need a defender to tighten things up at the back and not give stupid goals away like we did today.'
Godfrey's bitterness was not necessarily shared by the crowd who loved every minute, especially when City fought back from 4-1 down to 4-3 and then saw Swindon keeper Jimmy Allan deny them a point with a fantastic save from substitute Ian Pearson. Those last nine minutes were sheer Hitchcock with Ray Pratt on the verge of snatching a draw with a header which Allan was grateful to watch pass outside a post.
In reality, however, it was too much to ask of City to come back from the dead after Swindon had recovered from a 22nd minute Tony Kellow goal to rip City open on four occasions. Kellow popped up from nowhere in a crowded box to head home a move engineered by left back Peter Hatch's huge throw into the area. And it should have been 2-0 a minute later when Dave Pullar opened Swindon like a tin can along the left only for Dick Forbes to spoon a chance over from three yards. You had the feeling that a Forbes' goal would have killed off Swindon there and then, and that the result would have been a question of just how many Exeter would score. Instead, Swindon took heart from that miss, equalised through Alan Mayes in the 26th minute and drew ahead on the stroke of half time when striker Andy Rowland was on the near post to score from a Brian Williams' corner.
Troublesome winger Ian Miller blasted Swindon further ahead eight minutes into the second half, and in the 66th minute laid on the fourth. For all City's arguments about the rights and wrongs of their defence, it was a goal straight from the coaching manual, carried out with stunning simplic- ity and executed at speed. Miller's cross after a dashing run to the bye - line was aimed at the far post for Mayes to head back to Rowland who scored with a simple tap-in. Certainly Exeter had no one like Miller, with the exception of Pullar, but the service to him grew worse instead of better as the game went on. Nevertheless City didn't allow themselves to be totally overwhelmed and had a fortunate break after 69 minutes which let them back in the game. Defender Roy Carter handled in a challenge with Kellow, and Kellow rammed home the penalty for his 13th goal of the season. That was the cue for Exeter and the gap between the sides became even closer when Pratt steered a header beyond Allan from Hatch's 81st minute cross. The remaining minutes had the crowd on their toes with Allan booked for time wasting before making his match winning save from Pearson.
Pearson, on for Frankie Prince after 62 minutes, hit a screamer from outside the penalty area but Allan pushed the shot to the ground before pouncing on the ball and taking it from the outstretched boot of Jimmy Giles.