5th October 1988
Torquay U (h)
EXETER CITY 3 TORQUAY UNITED 0
A win over arch rivals Torquay is always fantastic for the fans (ours not theirs), but to send them packing with a flea in their ear and a three goal stuffing is a bonus indeed.
City began brightly, with 'Dazza' hitting the crossbar early on, but faded towards the end of a frenetic first-half. Despite the presence of a large contingent of Torquay fans, the atmosphere was strangely subdued before the interval. The second period saw a great improvement, firstly in the City fans' vocal department and secondly in the players' goal-scoring department. On the hour, Steve Neville's header gave City the lead, and the volume increased yet again. Further strikes from Paul Batty and Darran Rowbotham (the latter finishing off a sweeping move) killed the Gulls off completely (Aaah). Maybe the main talking point of an excellent evening's entertainment was the sending off of ex-Grecian Jim McNichol. It was he who scored in both derbies last season, so it was good to see him trudging back to the dressing room having been shown the big red (no, that's not Lee Rogers !
Match Report 2
SUPER NEVS HITS UNITED
Exeter City 3
Neville, Batty, Rowbotham
Torquay United 0
Report by Trina Lake
STEVE NEVILLE turned on the class at St Jame's Park last night to inspire Exeter City to a well deserved vic- tory over arch rivals Torquay United who had defender Jim McNichol sent off two minutes from time. Neville scored the first goal and had a hand in the other two from Paul Batty and Darran Rowbotham as City took command in the final half hour. The frustration of playing second fiddle to his old club for most of the night became all too much for McNichol. He was dismissed by Coventry referee Keren Barratt for kicking Richard Dryden. There couldn't be much dispute about the decision or the fact that City were worthy three-goal winners. Their desire burned brighter than Torquay's and that com- bined with greater discipline and invention earned them the three points to climb 11th in the table. Neville at his best looks a cut above Fourth Division football and the flashes of his old magic lit up an often dour Devon derby. City's assistant manager didn't get much change out of defender Phil Lloyd or the referee in the first half but he began to buzz as the game wore
on. His fourth goal of the season broke the deadlock in the 59th minute. Scott Hiley's surging run from midfield had Torquay on the retreat and when Rowbotham took up the charge down the left flank and crosed perfectly from the by- line, Neville was left with the relatively simple task of heading in off goalkeeper Paul Crichton at the far post. City had been positive enough to warrant their lead but the result may well have hinged on an incident 10 minutes later. A poor defensive header from Shaun Taylor left Torquay striker Roger Gibbins with a clear run in on goal and as 'keeper Mel Gwinnett committed himself he seemed destined to score. But the experienced Londoner amazingly opted out of the shot and laid the ball off to Dean Edwards who tried to sidefoot it home but with no power behind it, Lee Rogers was able to rescue City with a goal-line clearance. City regained their composure and made sure their were no more mistakes, putting the result beyond doubt with two goals in four minutes. They went 2-0 up in the 78th minute after Torquay had abandoned their sweeper sys- tem and been caught square at the back. Neville slipped the ball through to the tireless Richard Cooper who ran on for a shot that cannoned off Crichton's legs but there was skipper Batty following up to steer the ball into an empty net. And the finishing touch came soon afterwards with Neville again the orchestrating force. He turned Lloyd on the right and squared unselfishly for Rowbotham to score his third goal of the season. City's storming finish sent most of the good-sized crowd home happy and will have gone a long way towards eras- ing the memory of a pretty ordinary first half. They made an encouraging start with Rowbotham, whose long range shooting was always a threat, hitting the Torquay crossbar from 25 yards after just seven minutes. City look effective when they played the ball up to the feet of Neville and Rowbot- ham but Torquay's big defenders swallowed up anything in the air. The Gulls finished the half stronger as the tackles began. to fly and the contest developed the kind of competitive edge you expect from a local derby. It degenerated at times, however, into a midfield melee with hardly a pass finding its intended target until City regained the grip they had imposed in the opening 20 minutes. Torquay were largely disappointing and Gwinnett did not have a shot to save until Gibbins tested him and not too seriously at that in the 46th minute. The City 'keeper dealt confidently with crosses and he and his defence stood firm at corners and free kicks where Torquay were dangerous. at their most As City began to realise they had little fear from a Torquay side that blows hot and cold this season, the confidence from Saturday's fine win over top of the table Rotherham started to shine through. It was good to see manager Terry Cooper's philosophy of open attacking football stand the test against unimaginative opposition who looked mainly to contain and frustrate. McNichol's red card followed yellow ones for five players Torquay's Gibbins, Lloyd, Ian Weston and Steve Tupling as well as Rogers all for fouls.
Exeter City: Gwinnett, Banks, Dryden, Rogers, Taylor, Cooper, Rowbotham, Hiley, Batty, Neville, Harrower. Subs (not used) Langley, Withey.
Torquay United: Crichton, Holmes, Kelly, McNichol, Cole, (Smith 67), Joyce, (Tupling 52), Pugh, Lloyd, Edwards, Weston, Gibbins.
City matchwinner plays it down
EXETER CITY manager Terry Cooper paid tribute to his assistant, Steve Neville, for his match-winning performance against Torquay last night, "There's no secret to football management. It's all about getting good players around you and Nevs is gilt edged for the Fourth Division," he said "It was a good local derby, we got the breaks and we deserved to win. I'm pleased for everybody who has stood by Exeter City. The die-hards have had a lot to put up with here and I'm delighted for them that we've got this result. And hopefully the floating supporters that came along tonight will keep coming back to support us now." Neville played down his part in City's 3-0 victory, saying: "I thought the whole team did really well. It was hard going in the first half and the wind made it difficult but once we got on top in the second half there was only ever one team going to win it. "We've been playing well all season and now we're starting to get the results. The lads are enjoying their football and I think that showed through again tonight." City were certainly bubbling afterwards but the atmosphere was understandably different in the Torquay dressing room from where manager Cyril Knowles emerged for his consise post match summary. "No comment" summed it up perfectly.