2nd May 1981
TONY APART, SPIRIT WAS WILLING, BUT FLESH WEAK.
Exeter 0-0 Blackpool
5th May 1981
THE season, quite clearly, can't end soon enough for Exeter. They've won only one game in the last ten since the middle of March and the weary edge to their play is beginning to show, some fans, of course, were led to expect something different against a Blackpool side already doomed to the Fourth Division. The players, too, were looking to end their prog- ramme of home games on a high note, and there could be no criticism with the effort they put in. Unfortunately, it was one of those sagas, from an Exeter point of view, where the spirit was willing but the flesh was weak. In fact, Blackpool should have taken both points, because they had two second-half chances that were easily the best of the game. Winger Colin Morris didn't even hit the target with his opportunity after skilfully leaving 'keeper lan Main for dead and creating an open goal for himself. And then striker Dave Bamber failed to control the ball, eight yards out, after City had been caught in a two - against - two situation and John Sparrow momentarily forgot to mark his man. How Tony Kellow must have wished such chances had been set up for him, especially against the club which sold him back to Exeter in March last year. Kellow, with 32 League and Cup goals to his name, harried and chased for openings against his old team mates but the sum total of his afternoon's efforts brought fine saves in each half from keeper Ian Hesford.
Hesford is unlikely to be with Blackpool at the start of next season because of pressure on the Bloomfield Road club to sell their promising England under-21 International.
Ray Pratt beat Hesford once with a header that was ruled offside and defender Lee Roberts also slanted the ball beyond Hesford only for left back Terry Pashley to clear off the line. But even Hesford must have detected that this wasn't the Exeter City of a few months ago when they would have taken Blackpool apart at the seams. Perhaps most disappointing of all was the total inability of winger Phil Fisher to make inroads into the Blackpool defence. Fisher didn't appear to have the pace which made him such a hit with the fans against Chester on his League debut in midweek. And he was pulled off to make way for substitute Peter Rogers 20 minutes from time. However, while Fisher came down to earth with a bump, so yesterday marked an impressive return to the first team for right back Tony Mitchell. This was only his third game of the season because of constant injury yet, he never allowed himself to be exposed and his use of the ball was never anything but intelligent. Perhaps it was significant that Mitchell's return coincided with City maintaining a 'clean sheetfor the first time since February 28. At least, if manager Brian Godfrey blew his top at the end, he couldn't for once blame his Mitchell-inspired defence.
Main, Mitchell Sparrow Prince Roberts (L.) Roberts (P.) Fisher, Pearson, Kellow, Pratt, Hatch