Match 30
27th December 1980
Newport County (h)

Exeter City 2
Pullar, Kellow (pen.)
Newport Co. 2
Tynan (pen.), Gwyther

Attendance :- 6,295

Report by:- Gordon Hines

NEWPORT County summoned all their European Cup Winners' Cup experience to take some of the icing off Exeter City's Christmas cake yesterday. The St. James' Park club were oozing confidence perhaps too - much at times after Boxing Day's prestige win at Plymouth. But County called on all the know-how that has taken them to a quarter final place in Europe, to keep Exeter out after City laid siege in the second-half. Mind you, the game was dictated by an early decision on the part of Chessington referee Mike Bidmead, who ruled that Exeter skipper John Delve had upended Kevin Moore inside the penalty box, with the game a mere ten seconds old. Tommy Tynan scored from the spot, but a Westward Television crew have it on their play-back camera that the foul was outside the area. It was an uphill battle from then on. Especially as manager Brian Godfrey admitted afterwards that his team still hadn't landed back on earth following their Home Park triumph.

'We thought after beating Argyle, that Newport would be easy pickings,' said Godfrey. 'Our first-half performance was terri- ble and, for me, this was a point completely wasted.' Exeter recovered from the harsh penalty decision to equalise in the 34th minute, through Dave Pullar. It was some goal. Pullar intercepted a back- pass from Steve Warriner to push the ball across the body of 'keeper Gary Plumley. He then whipped inside Plumley to screw the ball into the net as it rolled away from the goalmouth. Newport's ability to catch Exeter when least expected was illus- trated a minute before the interval when the Welsh side scored their second. A Len Bond-Lee Roberts mix-up provided Dave Gwyther with an unchallenged header and the big Newport striker gratefully accepted Nigel Vaughan's corner. The second-half was almost exclusively Exeter's as they poured men from fidfield and defensive positions forward. But that's when Newport showed their true mettle with as gritty a defensive display as offered by any other side at St. James' Park this season. Holes appeared, yet were somehow plugged, as Exeter found gaps down the right. Winger Peter Rogers led Newport a merry Christmas dance until the 54th minute when he found a space bet- ween two defenders and was then unceremoniously brought down by full-back John Relish. Tony Kellow scored from the penalty spot to mark his 21st goal of the season. And, with 36 minutes left, it seemed Exeter must romp home. Plumley, however, made courageous saves from Peter Rogers and Kellow, while manager Godfrey was still insist- ing afterwards that Delve should have had a second City penalty for a push by Grant Davies. In the end, though, City ran out of steam after their efforts at Home Park the day before. And it was with a sense of relief in their weary limbs that they finished all square.

Exeter Team:-
Bond, Rogers, M, Hatch, Forbes, Roberts, L, Roberts, P, Pearson, Rogers, P, Kellow, Delve, Pullar



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