Match 48
20th April 1985
Stockport County (h)

Diabolical and fans walk out 

Match Report by Trina Lake. 

Exeter City 0

Stockport County 2(Leonard, Evans)

EVERY picture tells a story.

And the sight of hundreds of Exeter City supporters pouring out of St James's Park long before the final whistle on Saturday summed up the game against Stockport County better than any words could.

City's excuse for a performance was nothing short of diabolical against a side with the worst away record in the Fourth Division 14 games without a single point away from home Saturday. until

It was bad enough when Mark Leonard deservedly put Stockport ahead in the 46th minute but when Clive Evans made it 2-0 in the 66th minute, referee Eddie Scales might have done us all a favour by stopping the contest there and then.

City managed just one shot on target in the entire 90 minutes and that was a pretty pathetic effort from Trevor Morgan which goal-keeper Mick Salmon saved with relative ease.

To underline how poor City were, the near redundant Salmon managed to keep secret the fact that he played with a bad leg injury. His left left was heavily strapped and Stockport's wily manager Eric Webster made him wear tracksuit trousers to conceal the fact from City. He  had so little to do that as gesture of cruel mockery Stockport's small but vociferous band of travelling fan mobbed Salmon at the end of the match.

Webster admitted afterwards that he was very surprised at what a soft touch City turned out to be. "We've got some difficult away games on our run in to the end of the season and if I'm honest this was one place I didn't think we'd get anyhing from. I was very disappointed with Exeter," he said.

If City manager Jim Iley's case for change at the club during the close season needed a boost, it certainly got it from Saturday's game. 'I look for character from my players and there wasn't a lot of that out there today. It was a disgrace," he said.

It was a typical end of season game but I want players who will battle for me in every game whether it's now or the start of the season.

"T've  tried to put my finger on what went wrong but it is imposible. Everything was wrong. I don't think we had one good player on our team", he went on. Iley was right when he said that several of his team were simply going through the motions. There was precious little commitment towards getting these valuable points ana a painful lack of attacking ideas. City let Stockport control from the first whistle and gave no sign that they were prepared to fight them for a piece of the action.

Tony Coyle came within a whisker of putting Stock- port in front in the third minute, firing a shot from a corner just wide of Lee Smelt's left hand post. Smelt had to palm away a fierce cross-cum-shot from Coyle in the 12th minute but luckily for City no Stockport player was following up on the loose ball. The City keeper made a fine full length save to deny Dean Emerson from a 25 yard drive in the 20th minute as Stockport kept the pressure on. City's reply was rather pitiful with the only thing faintly resembling a goal chance falling to Morgan who shot tamely wide early on.

Young Phil King tried to get on the end of his own up and under to beat Stock- port's off-side trap, but Salmon got there first, and Ling skied a shot over the crossbar apart from those rare moments of limited excitement City hardly got near Stockport's penalty area. Stockport's reward for relentless battling came within a minute of the start of the second half. Smelt completely misjudged a deflected Coyle cross from the left and Leonard had the simple job of tapping the ball in from the edge of the six yard box. Jim McNichol tried to revive City's flagging for- tunes with a fierce shot that went just too high but the game, which had never looked too health from the start, was dying on its feet.

Evans finally strangled the life out of it in the 66th minute by scoring Stockport's second goal. He chested down Coyle a throw-in and strode unchal- lenged into City's penalty area to slam the ball past Smelt.

City's best chance of the game came eight minutes later when Frank Howarth
put Morgan clean through but the big striker dragged at his shot and Salmon drop- ped on it comfortably.

Nick Marker was pushed forward for the last 15 minutes to try to breath new life into City's attack but, like everything else they tried that afternoon, it failed.

Exeter City: Smelt, Kirkup, King, Viney, Marker, McNichol, Ling, O'Shea, Morgan, Howarth, Harrower. Sub: Burgher (on for Kirkup 60 minutes).

Stockport County: Salmon, Rutter, Sherlock, Emerson, Thorpe, Smith, Evans, Hendrie, Leonard, Sword, Coyle. Sub: Lodge.

Attendance: 1,834.



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