17th August 1991
West Bromwich Albion (a)
Brilliant Baggies hit six of the best!
West Brom 6-3 Exeter City
Match Report by Bill Curry
SUPER confident Albion registered their biggest win for almost two years to launch their Third Division campaign in champagne style outclassed Exeter City.
Bobby Gould's men unleashed their heavy artillery to provide Alan Ball with the worst possible start to his managerial days at St James's Park. Quite simply they were over-run and out-manoeuvred by an Albion side who knew far too much for a team that finished in mid-table of Division Three last season. For Albion, subjected to the most humiliating ten months in their 112-year history last season, it was the start of a new era. Kwame Ampadu almost gave them the dream start with a first-minute goal but his fierce half-volley was saved by Exeter keeper Kevin Malloy at the second attempt. It served as the signal for a non-stop first-half bombard- ment down both flanks by an Albion team playing with refreshing enterprise.
Darren Bradley sent a shot over the crossbar and Don Goodman headed just wide before watching Malloy twice thwart fierce drives. Albion inevitably went ahead in the 29th minute, Shakespeare smashing home after Malloy had up-ended Adrian Foster. The goal sparked spark cup-winning style celebrations in
the near-13,000 crowd, but Mark Cooper pulled back a shock equaliser with a thumping volley in the 43rd minute. It took Albion less than 30 seconds to regain the advantage with Shakespeare again beating Malloy from the spot after O'Donnell bought Goodman crashing to the ground. And it was Goodman who put the result beyond doubt with two goals in the space of two minutes midway through the second half. Exeter had no answer to Goodman's electrifying pace and he outstripped them for the umpteenth time in the 62nd minute to convert Graham Harbey's through ball. He then nudged the ball over the line for his second and Albion's fourth after his own header came back off the crossbar.
The hard-working Foster added a fifth in the 75th minute and Paul Williams' long- awaited first goal for the club came and went almost unnoticed as Albion went on the rampage. Goals by Steve Moran and Gary Marshall in the 82nd and 85th minutes were blips on Albion's smooth and very en- couraging passage through their first Division Three test.
ALBION: Miller, Bradley, Harbey, Ford, Strodder, Burgess, Bannister, Goodman. Foster, Shakespeare, Ampadu.
Subs; McNally (for Ampadu), P Williams (for Goodman).
EXETER Malloy, Hiley, Brown, Williams S, Daniels, O'Donnell, Rowbotham, Cooper, Moran, Kelly, Marshall.
Subs: Cole, O'Shaughnessy.