29th October 1988
Crewe Alexandra (h)
Crewe withstand siege after Fishenden goals
EXETER 1 CREWE 2
Report By Roy Pateman
MOMENTS after his Crewe Alexandra team had collected a rare win at Exeter and climbed to fourth place, manager Dario Gradi claimed: "We have to do better than that."
Paul Fishenden, displaying the kind of authorative form rarely seen at Gresty Road, scored both goals in Crewe's 2-1 win - only their third in the last 13 visits to St James's Park. But after establishing a two-goal lead the Alex had to withstand a severe second half seige.
"We were a bit lucky." said Gradi.
As early as the third minute Fishenden flashed a shot over the crossbar, then in the 16th minute his superb pass gave Cronin a glorious opportunity. Typical of Cronin's form at the moment, his endeavour was not matched by his finish and the striker hit the legs of keeper Mel Gwinnett with a close-range shot. Cronin, who was booked for a fifth minute lunge at former Port Vale defender Chris Banks, then saw his shot on the turn saved by Gwinnett after Paul Edwards and Fishenden created the opening. But on the half-hour Fishenden dummied the whole Exeter defence to shoot Crewe ahead. With Cronin darting off on a diversionery run, Fishenden steadied himself and let fly with a shot which had the ball in the net before Gwinnett reacted in any way. Two minutes later Exeter looked buried. Rob Jones was bundled over on the right touchline and Kenny Swain flighted his free-kick into a packed penalty area.
Fishenden rose high with defenders Banks and Shaun Taylor and although the ball appeared to deviate off a home player it was the Crewe striker who claimed the goal for his header. Exeter, who had been denied in the 11th minute when lan Macowat hacked Tommy Langley's weak shot away and again wher Aidan Murphy cleared Steve Neville' goalbound effort two minutes from the break stormed through the second half. The pressure paid off in the 55th minute when Neville attempted to chip the ball ove Dale Jasper, who handled to concede penalty. Neville took the kick himself and drilled it beyond a diving Dean Greygoose.
Gwinnett: Banks, Langley (Vinnicombe 84 minutes). Rogers, Taylor, Cooper, Rowbotham, Hiley, Batty, Neville, Harrower. Substitute: Viney
CREWE:Greygoose; Swain, Edwards, Billing. Macowat, Jones (Callaghan 70 minutes), Jaspe Murphy Cronin (Doyle 89 minutes), Gardiner, Fishenden
Referee: G R Ashby, Worcester.
Booking: Dennis Cronin, for foul on Chris Banks