Match 28
14th January 1989
Doncaster R (h)

14th JANUARY 1989.



Match report
by Trina Lake 

EXETER CITY'S goal-hungry strike force of Darran Rowbotham and Steve Neville were back in business again at St James's Park on Saturday. They demolished injury-hit an Doncaster Rovers side overloaded with raw teenagers to take their combined goal tally for the season to 24. Rowbotham's two first half strikes put him on 14 and Neville celebrated the birth of his first son with a well taken 47th minute effort to reach double figures. 

And if City's finishing had been a good deal more clinical their reward for a thoroughly professional performance would have been a bigger step up the Fourth Division table. They are in the play-off zone at seventh, behind Torquay United only on goal difference. Despite the comfortable win and a one-place rise, manager Terry Cooper was not al- together happy

"I didn't think we played particularly well. I had a go at them at half time because I thought they look lethargic. Having said that, we put some good moves together and played some neat football but it was a bit patchy." he said Neville and Rowbotham may have stolen the goal headlines but teenage full- back Chris Vinnicombe was the real star of the show

The diminutive 18-year-old displayed remarkable compsure in both defence and on his regular attacking bursts down the left flank. City defended solidly throughout, never giving the potentially dangerous pair of Paul Dobson and Mark Rankine much room to manoeuvre, while in midfield, loan signing Steve Tupling made a fairly sound debut.

He looked to lack a little match sharpness but worked hard enough in harness with Richard Cooper to limit the supply of telling passes to Doncaster's forwards. The Yorkshire side were forced to include eight teenagers in their match-day 13 and one of them, 19-year-old Rufus Brevett, ensured they were going to face an uphill battle with a rash shove on Neville after only 90 seconds

He did it right in front of Portland referee Paul Durkin who had little option but to award a penalty which Rowbotham thumped past goalkeeper Paul Malcolm. City rarely looked in danger of losing that early lead as Doncaster were limited to long range shots and a couple of useful crosses from Gerry Daly and Vince Brockie that nobody managed to get on the end of in a rather dull opening half

The visitors' ragged defence should have been punished further by Shaun Taylor, Scott Hiley and Carl Harris who all wasted good chances before Rowbotham made it 2-0 on the half hour. The goal came from a Cooper free kick to the far post where City's top scorer arrived to plant a perfect downward header past Malcolm. He twice went close to completing his hat-trick before the break and also set up Cooper and Harris who couldn't provide the finishing touch either. With words of censure from the manager ringing in their ears, City set about their second half task more positively. and caught Doncaster again from a free kick, this time Cooper feeding the ball for Neville to lash home. Doncaster boss Dave Mackay had clearly given his players a few choice words on commitment and competitiveness, for they began to battle harder but in vain. Hiley had to make a goal- line clearance from Dobson on one of the rare occasions when the former Torquay marksman managed to get into a threatening position without straying offside. But generally Doncaster got little change out of an uncompromising City defence and you had the impression goalkeeper Dave Walter was suffering from boredom. Just to keep himself interes- ted he made a spectacular but unnecessary save from a Daly shot that was going wide and later dashed foolishly out of his area- one from the Alan McKnight goalkeeping manual when the midfielder broke through again and was lucky to have the ball pres- ented back to him as he scrambled to recover from the error. City always looked the more likely to score again and really should have. Neville missed a 50th minute sitter, Malcolm denied Rowbotham twice and Harris once with smart saves while several other opportunities went begging. Enough had been done, however, to secure a fifth successive home win and keep City right in the promotion hunt at the halfway point in their session.

Exeter City 3
Rowbotham (2,1 pen), Neville
Doncaster Rovers 0

Exeter City
Walter, Banks, Tupling. Rogers, Taylor, Cooper. Rowbotham. Hiley. Vinnicombe, Neville, C. Harris
Subs (not used) Langley, Smith

Doncaster Hovers:
Malcolm, Hall (Peckett 54) Brevett. Brockie, Dou- glas, Raven, Robinson, Daly, Rankine, Dobson, Gaughan
Sub (not used) Ste- wart

Attendance: 2,540,

A fans perspective 

In issues three and five, I had the happy task of reviewing three wins out of three for City and, once again, the most pleasurable reading of this month's E.D is to be found on this page. Not just because of my flowing English, but because the last three home games have seen ten goals and nine points in the bag for City.

Quite often I have heard the song 'Kiddies Corner' being aired at a football match, usually used to accuse opposing fans of being juvenile. However, in this game it could have been aimed at the Doncaster team, as eight of their thirteen players were teenagers! It was one of these spotty adolescents who was responsible for pushing Steve Neville In the area in the second minute, and grown-up Darran Rowbotham made no mistake from the spot.

The match at Doncaster had seen us take the lead with a penalty and then throw it away, but thankfully Rovers never looked like making a repeat performance. Taylor, Hiley and Harris all missed chances before 'Dazza' made it two with a downward header from a free-kick.

Two minutes into the second-half Richard Cooper set up Steve Neville and his angled shot couldn't have been better placed. City seemed to ease a little after this goal and it was Rovers who seemed more likely to threaten in the remainder of the match. Their best chance was when ex-Torquay striker Paul Dobson saw his effort cleared off the line by Scot Hiley, a veteran when compared with most of his opponents!

A word of praise for the travelling Rovers fans. They continued to give their side vocal encouragement even when they were 3-0 behind, and a fair number of them bought copies of The Exe Directory too. Well done lads!





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