24th September 1988
EXETER HURT IN INJURY TIME
Exeter City 2
Scunthorpe United 2
Match Report by Peter Masters
BRISTOL referee Roger Milford did not win any friends among the St James' Park faithfuls yesterday as Scunthorpe saved themselveds from the hangman's noose with two goals in extra time. Police had to contain one irate City supporter from confronting Mr Milford as he came off the pitch after the referee had added a full five minutes.
As the game moved into injury time, Exeter were busy congratulating themselves on a job well done against one of the clubs fancied for promotion. They had dominated in every department and a goal from Shaun Taylor in the 80th minute, to add to Steve Neville's first half strike, looked to have settled the issue. But after a series of stoppages in the second half, the refe- ree kept the match going well beyond normal time and United took advantage. After their most inept performance of the season, Tony Dawes close range header in the 91st minute looked to have given them an undeserved consolation. But, with Exeter desperately appealing for time, the unthinkable happened as Scunthorpe provided a Roy of the Rovers finish. Roy in this case was United defender Paul Rumble who rocked the home side with a 25 yard volley that soared into the top right hand corner. Exeter boss Terry Cooper just shook his head in disbelief as he walked back to the dressing room for it was a goal that silenced the crowd, bar a few delerious Scunthorpe supporters. 'It seemed to go and on for ever said Cooper later, "But the referee did say before the game that he would be adding time on for stoppages, so we can't complain. The lads were obviously sickened afterwards and I just had to tell them that for 90 minutes they comprehensively outplayed the opposition. We must try to think postively. It was a tremendous team performance and I just feel sorry for the players and supporters. Against an under strength Scunthorpe side, Exeter were in control right from the word go. skipper Paul Batty gave another excellent display in midfield, straying passes wide to Hiley and Dryden that sliced apart the United defence. There must have been some worried faces on the bench when he took a knock on his troublesome knee in the 38th minute, but, despite a limp. he battled through to the finish. Exeter took the lead just before the half hour thanks to a tenacious run from the greatly improved Scott Hiley. He beat three players, fed Chris Banks for the cross. and, following an aeriel chal- lenge from loan signing Richard Dryden, Neville was on hand to drill his shot into the top corner. In the second half City missed a hatful of chances before notching a second. A cross from Hiley almost found Neville and the same player then pulled one back for Dryden to side 1901 against the outside of the post. Dryden then blasted one over from close range and in the 76th minute Neville hit the upright with a shot from the edge of the box. It was Taylor though, who having gone close with a header straight at the keeper in the first half, made the breakthrough in the 80th minute. Rowbotham curled in 2 acorner from the right and the defender nodded the ball this time wide of Paul Mussilwhite
Musslewhite, Longden, Rumble, Taylor. Lister. Brown. Hodkinson, Stevenson Dawes, Flounders. Cowley (Richardson 74 mins) Sub not used Money
Gwinwett, Banks, Dryden, (Langley 83 min) Rogers, Taylor, Cooper, Rowbotham, Hiley, Batty, Neville, Harrower.
Sub not used Harris.