Match 53
21st April 1981
Plymouth Argyle (h)

Battling Sims steals in for point



Argyle never stopped running in this tough, tenaciously-fought Devon derby last night, overcame the hurdle of falling behind, then harvested a well-deserved equaliser with only ten minutes to go. The game, though, did not really come to life until the second half when a goal from Tony Kellow gave the match the spark it badly needed to flare into action. Former Exeter player John Sims earned Argyle a point when he nodded home a free Rick from Brian Johnson. It could be argued that the better chances fell to Argyle but in the end a draw was a fair result. At times it looked as if Exeter's keen spirit would carry them through; at others it looked as if some slick, fast moving raids by Argyle would give them superiority. Both sides missed a couple of opportunities that would have bought victory. And neither stamped sufficient authority on the match for long enough to take absolute control. The first period brought a lot of Scrappy soccer and the play was peppered with mistakes as both sides tried to get used to the bone-hard pitch and the extra pace of the ball. Although Kellow brought his tally to 31 goals he is now four away from creating a new club scoring record in a season-his goal-getting rival, David Kemp, so very nearly added to his impressive total of 26 goals. It was a typical derby battle, but at the end Argyle knew that this season they will certainly finish higher in the. League than their old rivals. It was a match played with plenty of effort in that second half, but the three bookings in the game did not mean it was in any way a dirty battle. Argyle's Kevin Hodges and Forbes Phillipson-Masters were both booked Phillipson-Masters appears for a disciplinary hearing today because he has gone over the 20 points mark and so was - Exeter's Lee, Roberts. Exeter opened the game bright enough as two long throws from Peter Hatch were beaten out and Dick Forbes cleverly made space and tested Geoff Crudginton with a chip-shot that the Argyle 'keeper safely held. In the opening skirmishes though Argyle soon counter-punched an attacking reply and Lee Roberts had to clear a Johnson header. Both sides were making mistakes and a Hatch free kick whistled across the face of the Argyle goal with nobody able to get a touch. Argyle opened up City's defence in the 19th minute through a Colin Randell free kick. Johnson came racing in from the right and his header flashed just outside the upright. At the other end Sims unwittingly almost put his side in trouble as he back-headed a Hatch throw, but Crudgington was safely in command. Another sharp break from Argyle nearly brought results but Kemp's header from Donal Murphy's cross was blocked. Exeter were not making much progress, but then Peter Rogers did well as he turned quickly and struck a scorching 20-yard shot into the side netting. The closest either side came to breaking the first half deadlock was when Argyle were awarded their first corner. Phillipson-Masters went up for Johnson's kick and his header looked a winner all the way. But at the last moment Ian Main saved superbly. The breakthrough came in the 53rd minute when Kellow put Exeter in the lead with a powerful header from a Hatch corner. Within minutes Argyle were nearly back on terms. Kemp capitalised on a mistake by Lee Roberts and streaked away on his own. He hit a powerful 20-yard shot that Main did well to get down and hold. Sims, Argyle's outstanding player. was close as he tried a glancing header from Murphy's cross, but it was held by Main. Twenty minutes from the end Exeter brought off their skipper. John Delve, who seemed to be feeling the effects of his ankle injury. As Argyle pulled out all the stops in an effort to get back into the game, it was the persistence of Kemp that brought them a chance. He kept going when the ball looked lost and hooked it back for Sims, who lifted his shot over the bar. Then Exeter had a great opportunity to go further ahead. Phil Roberts freekick was blocked in the wall but he picked the ball up and went through on his own, beating the offside trap. He had only Crudgington to beat, but steered is shot wide-

Equally, when Johnson curled over a corner, Sims had a free header but he too put it wide, before making amends with his late point-saver.



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