Match 38
14th March 1989
Crewe Alexandra (a)

Patient Alex gain just reward


Edwards; Swain, Edwards, Bulling, Callaghan, Walters, (Sussex, 81min), Jasper, Murphy, Clayton, Gardiner, Fishenden.
Substitute: Gage.

EXETER CITY-Walter; Banks, Dryden, Rogers, Taylor, McDermott, Rowbotham, Benjamin, Vinnicombe, Young (Smith, 81min), Hiley.
Substitute: Langley.

Referee-F. Roberts (Prestatyn). Attendance 3,156.

Report By Roy Pateman

CREWE collected their third double of the season at Gresty Road last night - but were made to wait until the 82nd minute before clinching victory over Exe- ter City. After a thrilling opening in which the Alex entertained the majority of the 3,156 fans in their ground with their neat passing game, Crewe were clearly frustrated by the Devon men. While Exeter boast the worst away record in the Fourth Division and Alex's home form is as good as any in the division, there was nothing between the sides in a battling first half.

The more skilful Crewe players carved out the better openings, but the home fans were left to witness a series of misses and goal-line saves. Paul Fishenden, who had gone five games without a goal, saw his 34th minutes drive go wide of target and then, in a late flurry before the interval, Shaun Taylor and Scott Hiley both cleared goalbound efforts off the line. Fishenden refused to be denied and ended his barren spell by rattling home his 17th goal of the season in the 50th minute. Mark Gardiner's through ball appeared to be overhit, but England youth international Steve Walters kept it in play. The 17-year-old's inch perfect pass found the head of Paul Clayton, who steered the ball inside for Fishenden to drive home. Amazingly, Exeter were level three minutes later, Paul Edwards did well to parry Richard Young's close range effort, but Hiley, lurking on the right, drove home the equaliser after collecting the rebound. For a spell Exeter even had the confidence to send their man of the match Chris Banks, the former Port Vale defender, forward into attack. Top scorer Darran Rowbottom created one uncomfortable moment with a fierce cross-shot which eluded the rest of the City attackers and Banks had a testing long range drive saved by keeper Edwards. Alex, beaten only once at home in the League this season, stuck to their pattern of running the opposition ragged with quick passing movements. The slick soccer was very evident when Aidan Murphy snatched the dramatic 82nd minute winner. Dale Jasper took the kick out on the left and floated the ball accurately to Kenny Swain. Having shielded the ball from his marker, the 37-year-old neatly laid it into the path of Murphy, who hit his seventh goal of the season and his second in successive games. Delighted manager Dario Gradi was more confident about the result than the home fans. He said afterwards: "I did not feel they could win and thought a 1-1 draw would be Exeter's best result.

"After the Colchester defeat I wanted to see the side play better. Everything had been said earlier, so for the first time this season I did not bother with a team talk.

"My players were electric at the start and it was just a question of getting what we deserved. Exeter could not pass the of ball or create as we did because we did k not let them have much possession. "Both the players and the crowd had to be patient and having hit that late winner we are now back on course. Now we only need to play like this and win the majority of our home games and we will get there."


PF l



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