24th March 1982
Lincoln City (h)
Exeter City 1-2 Lincoln
Rearranged match from 19/12/81 to 24/03/82.
Report by Martyn Dean
EXETER CITY'S Brian Godfrey manager was holding a special "getting to know you" training session today for the benefit of his two new signings, Paul Giles and Stuart Robertson. The pair will make their debuts at Reading on Saturday - and that gives them precious little time to get accustomed to City's style of play. So Godfrey decided to call in his first team squad on what would normally be their day off so that their two newcomers would have an early opportunity to settle in.
Robertson watched City's 2-1 defeat at the hands of Lincoln last night, while Giles was travelling down to Exeter today to complete the formalities of his transfer in time to beat tonight's dead- line. They will come in on Saturday in place of the suspended Martyn Rogers and John Delve.
Delve was in London today to make a personal appearance in front of the FA disciplinary commission. But even if his plea for leniency is accepted, he seems certain to be banned for at least one game. If there are no additional injury problems, Godfrey seems likely to give the remainder of last night's side a vote of confidence for the Reading trip. For despite the unsatisfactory scoreline, Godfrey did not have too many com- plaints about his players. "The result was disappointing, but I thought the boys played pretty well," said Godfrey. "We had a couple of little lapses in concentration which probably cost us the game." The victory took Lincoln to the top of the third division table but it would not be accurate to say that their 13th game without defeat was merely unlucky for City. For the turning point in the proceedings really hinged on a split second of sheer skill rather than a stroke of fortune. Lincoln goalkeeper Dave Felgate was the man behind it all. He pulled off a tremendous save diving from Tony Kellow's 62 minute penalty after Ray Pratt, had been fouled by Trevor Peake. Had the ball gone in, it is doubtful whether Lincoln would have recovered. But as it was they swept straight back down the field and referee Maurice Robinson suddenly found himself pointing to the spot for the second time in the space of 60 seconds. City's goalkeeper Len Bond was the offender, attempting to trip Glen Cockerill after he had taken the advantage of a stumble by Phil Roberts to burst clear. Bond almost atoned by diving the right way for the penalty, but he could not quite prevent Stuart Hib- berd's powerful shot from crossing the line. So in just one minute City had seen what should have been a one goal lead turned into a one goal deficit. And although they man- equalise three aged to minutes later, they were never quite able to recapture the initiative. Still, City's goal was at least one to savour. Kellow, who played the entire match with his thigh heavily strapped, set it up with a superb 40 yard diagonal ball from the half way line. But it was the lightning speed of Martyn Rogers which nurtured that promis- ing pass into goal bearing fruit. He took the ball in his stride and lashed a tremendous shot into the far corner of the net. It was his fourth goal since moving into his new mid- field role, but as with all but one of the previous efforts it did not count towards a City victory. Referee Robinson saw to that when he awarded his third penalty of the game, nine minutes from time, after left back Phil Neale's run into the box had foiled the City defence in general and the unfortunate George Foster in particular.
Hibberd, who before last night had never taken a penalty in a league game, suddenly found himself with another chance to practice the art. This time he decided to put it into the other corner leaving Bond to go the wrong way. It was enough to give Lincoln an undisputed, but perhaps not fully deserved victory. They had worked hard throughout, but had not really produced a great deal in the way of flair. For their part City had knocked the ball around confidently enough without finding quite the necessary penetration. They were restricted mainly to long-range efforts at goal and Felgate was in no mood to be troubled by that sort of thing. He made two good saves from Dave Pullar and Pratt in the first half, but his best efforts were used to foil Kellow. For in addition to that penalty save, he also produced one marvellous change of direction to palm away a viciously swerving shot from the Cornish striker.