14th November 1981
The fans snap as City crash at home... again
Chester 0, Exeter City 2
EVEN the patience of the fans who have stood steadfastly by their team during this troubled season finally snapped with an outburst of anger and frustration at the end of Chester's seventh home match without a win, writes Ian Bedford.
Their displeasure was aimed at chairman Reg Rowlands and manager Alan Oakes, but it would have all been so un- nesessary if the men who are well paid to put the ball Into the net had been doing their jobs. Sald Oakes: "I still insist that our overall play this season has been good, but what is the point when we continue to miss so many good chances. We could have had the game wrapped up by half time, but instead our failings in front of goal gave Exeter the chance to steal the points."
The situation has now become so critical, say farcical, that something drastic must be done to end this goal famine at Sealand Road, which must be unique in the club's history. Chester's sparkling start to the match gave every in- dication that the long-awaited win was on the cards, but as the inspiration from Brian Hornsby began to fade so did hopes that they would be recording three home points for the first time this season. Chances continued to arrive, however, and if even one had been taken the notoriously brittle Exeter defence could have crumbled and crashed. Unfortunately for Chester, Exeter also happened to have a prolific goal scoring attack and we saw why after the break when Chester were becoming more and more desperate in their attempts to break the ice. Peter Sutcliffe carried most of Chester's hopes of a goal, but he was folled in the opening minutes by a fine save from Ian Main following a fine move bet- ween Hornsby and Jones, but Exeter gave notice of their menace by going close twice through Martin Rogers midway through the first half.
There was no argument about the game's best chance. That came in the 37th minute when David Burns sent Jones through with a gem of a pass, but as Main came out of his goal Jones panicked and shot straight at the goalkeeper.
The beginning of the end came in the 57th minute when John Delve pushed a short free-kick to defender John Sparrow, who showed Chester how it should be done with a low drive past Grenville Millington. It was all over for Chester when substitute Ray Pratt glanced a header into the net from a Delve cross in the 80th minute, for although Gary Simpson had been sent on earlier in his come-back game in place of John Allen, It was asking too much for him to avert the inevitable. Trevor Phillips went near with a header against the post two minutes from time and so Chester gained the dubious distinction of being the first team to fall to score against Exeter this season.
Millington; Zelem, Burns: Storton, Cottam, Jones: Allen, Hornsby, Ludlam, Phillips, Sutcliffe. Sub: Simpson.
Main, Davey, Sparrow Lester, Shaw, Roberts: Cooke Rogers, Kellow, Delve, Pullar. Sub Pratt
Referee: Mr. M. Scott (Not- tingham).