11 September 1999.
Chester C (a)
Chester 1 Exeter City 1
ROB Dewhurst switched from vil- lain to hero to snatch a last- gasp equaliser and spare Exeter's blushes at the Deva Stadium. The visitors' goal came 40 seconds into time added on and denied battling Chester their first Nationwide League victory of the season. Chester, who had taken the lead with their first home league goal this term three minutes after the interval, looked odds on to send high-flying Exeter crashing to a second successive defeat. Bottom of the table Chester had controlled most of the game and created the better chances and Exeter were lucky to still be level at half-time. Striker Luke Beckett, who had missed a great chance five minutes before the break, finally broke the deadlock when he put the hosts ahead and it was a mistake by Dewhurst, booked a minute earlier for a foul on Manuel Agogo, which led to the goal. Dewhurst slipped as he went to meet a ball played over the top from Darren Wright and Beckett pounced to flick the ball over Stuart Naylor from close range. Exeter manager Peter Fox's immediate response was to make a double substitution and reshuffle his line-up, bringing on Steve Flack and Chris Curran in place of Barry McConnell and Geoff Breslan. Fox switched from a 4-4-2 formation to 4-3-3 with Dewhurst going up front and his presence, along with the aerial menace of Flack, started to unsettle Chester's five-man defence. It set up an action- packed last 10 minutes, during which Gary Alexander twice had the ball in the Chester net, only to see the efforts ruled out for a foul on home keeper Wayne Brown and then an offside decision. With a minute of normal time remaining, Exeter had strong appeals for a penalty turned down by referee Mark Cowburn when substitute Rob Speakman, a 65th minute replacement for Kofi Nyamah, was upended by Darren Moss. Exeter, beaten in time added on at Darlington last weekend, finally saw their fortunes change when Dewhurst made up for his earlier error to grab a goal. Chris Holloway, playing with a facial mask to protect his fractured cheekbone, broke away down the right before sending over a pinpoint cross for Dewhurst to beat Brown with a glancing header. It could have been very different earlier in the game as Chester made all the running with loan signings Agogo and Michael Blackwood, both of whom were making their home debuts, posing plenty of problems for the Exeter defence. The hosts were in complete control during the opening 20 minutes and Agogo, on a month's loan from Sheffield Wednesday, just failed to reach a cross by Beckett. Exeter's only real chance of the first half came after 19 minutes after a corner from Jason Rees had been partially cleared by the home defense and the
Report by Alan Murdoch
ball fell to Nyamah. He played it back out to Rees and his cross was met by McConnell whose header dipped inches over the bar.
Naylor. Richardson. Power. Gittens. Rees
Holloway. Nyamah. Breslan. Dewhurst McConnell. Alexander
Substitutes: Curran (for Breslan, 53), Flack (for McConnell, 53), Speakman✰✰ (for Nyamah, 65) Not used: Gale, Matthews.
Brown, Davidson, Doughty (Cross 62), Agogo (Fisher 88), Lancaster, Blackwood, Wright (Shelton 83), N Richardson, Moss, Beckett, Woods. Subs not used: Cutler, Berry.
Chester Beckett 48;
Exeter - Dewhurst 89.
Exeter - Dewhurst 47.
Referee: Mark Cowburn (Blackpool)
Star Man: Jon Richardson skipper stood firm under pressure