Match 31
4th February 1989
Darlington (h)

4th FEBRUARY 1989


Once upon a time there was a football team called Exeter City who nearly always lost and performed badly. Ivor Doble, the long suffering chairman, then received a godsend, a fairy (I think it was Nick Marker) granted him one wish. "I want Britain's best manager to take over my team". His wish was granted, and Terry Cooper became manager of Exeter City.

Mr Cooper waved his magic wand and they suddenly became a good side, entertaining the fans as all good teams should. However, just as the future was looking rosy for Exeter, along came big, bad Darlington. "We'll huff and we'll puff and we'll blow away your promotion chances", they said.

"Rubbish" said the City faithful, as they laughed at Darlington's poor form, just two wins all season. There looked as though there would be plenty to smile about as City created chances in the early stages, but the fun didn't last as Gary Morgan chipped the visitors into a 24th minute lead. The game deteriorated from then on as City began to lose their way. Thankfully Dave Walter was yet again in good form, though he was rather fortunate when Morgan's effort went inches wide. City debutant lan Benjamin was replaced by Keith Smith with 25 minutes left. It wasn't a good start for the midfielder, but there was no need for the abuse he received as early as the twentieth minute. No wonder he played badly, as certain individuals were not willing to give him their full support. Throughout the magazine we pride ourselves on the loyalty of City fans, pillocks like those who shouted abuse at Benjamin makes our claims seem ridiculous. Another debutant, Herbert Heath, later replaced Harris, who had once again played badly. This proved to be an inspired substitution as Taylor was moved to centre-forward, and he did more than anybody to turn the match around. With two minutes left the big centre-half/centre-forward (can he play in midfield as well ?!) was pushed in the area. Penalty ! I have seen City miss vital penalties, Kellow's last minute miss against Carlisle last season for example, but Rowbotham kept his cool to stroke home his sixteenth goal of the season. The celebrations that followed were exuberant even by Middlesbrough's standards (have you seen how mad their fans go after a goal, but this was nothing compared with what was to follow, Following the restart, City got possession almost immediately and won a corner. Taylor created pandemonium the near post and the ball broke free to Steve Neville who slammed in the winner. Players and supporters alike could not contain their delight.

I doubt we will see such happenings for a long, long time, but I know that I will never write off City's chances again if they're a goal behind with seconds remaining!

So there was a nice ending to this fairy story after all, and they all lived happily ever after, with the exception of the Darlington manager who was sacked a week later!



Allowed tags: <p>, <a>, <em>, <strong>, <ul>, <ol>, <li>