1st January 1992
Torquay United (a)
A HAPPY NEW YEAR FROM UNITED!
Torquay United (5-3-2):
Howells; Myers, Curran, P. Holmes, Lloyd, Loram; Sang (Joyce 88 mins), Dobbins, Colcombe; Hall, Fashanu;
sub not used - Darby.
Exeter City (4-4-2):
Miller; Hiley, Daniels, Whiston, Cook;
Marshall (Chapman 66mins), Wimbleton, Williams, Cooper (Hilaire 71 mins); Moran, Edwards.
Torquay: Dobbins (foul 19mins), Lloyd (foul 75mins), Fashanu (foul 84mins); Exeter : Williams (ungentlemanly conduct 90mins).
Referee: Mr. J. Deakin (Llantwit Major, Mid-Glamorgan).
Match Report by David Thomas.
It may not have been all that pretty and at half- time all the smart money would have been on Exeter City. But when the chips were down at Plainmoor yesterday, it was Torquay United who stuck with it and Justin Fashanu's opportunist 59th minule goal deservedly gave them a long-awaited victory over their Devon rivals. Only one thing counts in a local derby and United's fighting second half performance - embodied in the display of local boy Chris Myers- clinched the result that meant so much. It anybody doubted how important the outcome was to both teams, they should have been standing outside the dressing-rooms after the match. The late Cyril Knowles could dish it out when he was in the mood. But even he would have been pushed to match City manager Alan Ball's verbal volley. It lasted nearly 25 minutes, at decibels which only the hero of 1966 can reach, and how he came up with the air and the vocabulary to sustain it was one of the performances of the day. He went absolutely spare. By that time United were already celebrating. In football terms, it was not their best by a long chalk. They were lucky to be on terms at half-time after City had looked sharper in midfield and more dangerous in attack. United clearly missed centre-half Matthew Elliott, especially at set-pieces, and they often seemed to be making things up as they went along. They still had the best early chance and missed it. Fashanu flicked on Chris Curran's long throw from the right in the 24th minute and Mark Loram's right-foot shot was well saved on the line by Kevin Miller. Loram didn't catch it right. There were plenty more scares at United's end. A bad miskick by Curran on a low cross by Gary Marshall sliced through to a grateful Gareth Howells in the 29th minute. And it was only three Howells saves two of them corkers that kept United on terms in the last ten minutes of the half. First he held a David Cooper shot after a move between former United striker Dean Edwards and Steve Moran. Then Howells got down smartly to half-stop a Marshall shot, Curran dashing across the goalmouth to complete a clearance off the line. And on the stroke of half- time Howells brilliantly tipped a 20-yard volley by Edwards over his bar after Steve Williams had punished a mistake by Neil Sang and set up the chance. Right-back Myers had been wired in from the start, pushing forward at every opportunity, Wayne Dobbins was doing his best to turn the midfield battle and Fashanu was playing the Exeter defence virtually on his own. But still the prospects did not look good for United at the interval. Former United defender Peter Whiston was having a solid game for City. But team boss Wes Saund- ers urged his patched-up side to start believing in themselves, the players responded and City seemed to decide that it was only a matter of time before they scored. In the 51st minute Paul Hall, who had finished disappointingly when he was clear in the first half, intercept- ed an Andy Cook back-pass and only a good save off his line by Miller saved City. Although Dobbins had to come up with a saving tackle to foil Edwards in the 55th minute, United had the bit between their teeth at last and four minutes later they scored. Neil Sang floated a corner in from United's left, Cook miskicked at the far-post in- stead of clearing and Fashanu pounced to score with a first-time right-foot shot into the top right-hand corner from ten yards. It was the big man's first league goal for more than six years. That's a long time for any striker to wait and there was no mistaking his delight or the joy of the fans who have taken to him so readily. Myers, who had picked himself up from a nasty ankle knock, curled in a 25-yard left-footer which Miller saved. And in the 62nd minute Hall flicked Fashanu clear, only for him to shoot wide with the 'keeper to beat. As the belief visibly drained out of City, so United's deter- mination to hang on to their lead grew. Fashanu was back organising every set-piece in defence. Loram won a series of impressive headers at left- back. Curran and Myers would let nothing pass them. For one horrible moment in the 75th minute, referee John Deakin looked as if he might send Phil Lloyd off. Edwards had niggled him into aiming an elbow, but Mr. Deakin produced only the yellow card. Lloyd was lucky to get away with that and an 80th minute mistake when a City shot went through his legs. Howells saved again, as he did five minutes from time as substitute Vince Hilaire headed a Wimbleton cross. Mr. Deakin added five minutes of injury-time, allowing Dobbins to put in the game's best run, beating three men round the left of the City defence and cutting in along the bye-line. He might have had a go himself, but he passed instead and substitute Sean Joyce couldn't quite reach it. The point was that it was United nearly scoring at the finish, not City.