Match 07
20th September 1988
Darlington (a)

Darlington 2 Exeter City 2

DARLINGTON'S luck changed briefly last night-their defensive blunders never did.

They were handed the chance of their first League win after a bizzare own goal late in the first half. But, instead of building on their unexpected advantage, the defence was caught out twice- and fell for one of the oldest tricks in the coaching manual. Darlington look the lead after 39 minutes. The visitors' big centre half Shaun Taylor stroked a lazy back pass which found his keeper yards out of position and the ball trickled agonisingly over the line. But two minutes after the break Exeter produced a move which was an old favourite of City boss Terry Cooper during his days at Leeds. As the Darlingtor defence watched two players arguing over who should take a free kick, Steve Neville fired it in quickly and found Darren Rowbotham, who volleyed in. Darlington did well to regain control of the game and went ahead again after 68 minutes from a left-wing corner. The loose ball reached Garry MacDonald who headed over the keeper and into the empty net. This time the lead lasted just three minutes, substitute Tommy Langley, a former Chelsea striker, scoring with his first touch as numerous Darlington defenders failed to clear.

Balch, Robinson, Morgan, Hine. Moore. McAughtne Emson. Clayton (Anderson). Mac-Donald, Kaizley. Stonehouse

Gwinnett Banks. Withey (Langley). Rogers. Taylor. Cooper Rowbotham, Hiley. Batty. Neville. Harrower

Match Report 2 


As explained in September's edition, our match at Darlington last was re-arranged just ton days after the postponement of the original fixture. Therefore I doubt that there were more than five City fans in attendance. This term's game had been arranged for a Tuesday, but this time we had thirty masochists cheering the Inds on. Strictly for the real loyals this one, and our loyalty was rewarded by a very entertaining game.

Despite our view being impaired by a huge fence, we were in good heart and sang almost constantly. First half possession was split evenly, but we went in 1-0 behind because of a comical own goal. Shaun Taylor, twenty yards out, passed back to Mel Gwinnett. Unfortunately our custodian was stood yards away from the path the ball was taking, and even a full dive could not stop it from entering the net.

I very much doubt Terry Cooper saw the funny side as City's players came on afer the interval looking extremely determined, and within two minutes wo were level. Steve Neville headed the ball down for Rowbotham to score with a cracking half-volley. The Welshman has scored arguably our two best goals so far (the other being his effort against Halifax) and has surely been the most improved player this season.

Halfway through the second period Garry MacDonald scored from a goalmouth scramble but City showed great courage in battling back three minutes later to equalise through Tommy Langley. It was the Londoner's first touch after coming on as substitute. City also hit the post and bar, but despite their later pressure, they couldn't convert the chances into goals, and in the end, at the end of the day, when the game is over, after everyone has gone home, it's all a game innit Saint - but a draw was probably a fair result.





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