11th January 1992
Bolton W (h)
Moran spares sad City's blushes.
Exeter City 2, Moran (2)
Bolton Wanderers 2 Philliskirk, Walker
STEVE Moran struck both goals as Exeter City twice came from behind to earn a 2-2 draw against Bolton Wanderers and stretch their unbeaten Division Three home run to 12 matches. But really this was a game that City should have won at a canter with something to spare. They created sufficient chances to atone for the defensive mistakes that led to both the Bolton scores, but they were denied victory by a combination of poor finishing and superb goalkeeping from David Felgate. And it needed a second opportunist strike from Moran -his 13th goal of the season -to save a point eight minutes from time.
Exeter Manager Alan Ball made one change from the team on Autoglass Trophy duty at Hereford in midweek, bringing in Dean Edwards up front for Gary Chapman. Edwards could have got City off to a flying start when he was sent clear by Andy Cook inside 40 seconds, but the on-trial striker delayed his shot and Bolton right back Alan Stubbs got back to clear for a corner.
That set the pattern for the match with City - shrugging off the loss of midfielder Steve Williams through suspension setting the pace and Bolton forced to defend in depth. However, Wanderers
grabbed the lead in the 25th minute when a Peter Whiston error gave Scott Green the chance to put Tony Philliskirk away for his 17th goal of the season a clinical finish from ten yards. Six minutes later, though, City were level thanks to some trickery from winger Mark Robson, back at St James Park on loan after being sold to Spurs for £50,000 four years ago. Robson turned neatly to thread an inch-perfect cross into Moran's stride, and although the striker badly mis-hit his shot, the ball trickled past the unfortunate Felgate. Exeter stormed forward at the start of the second half with skipper Scott Hiley, in his last match before a hernia operation, again in outstanding form. In the 58th minute, the right back accepted a Gary Marshall pass and whipped in a delightful cross from the by-line, but Scott Daniels headed over a gaping net after Felgate had palmed the ball out. That miss - the worst of an increasing number-looked costly in the 70th minute when substitute Andy Walker, on loan from Celtic, flicked in Bolton's second from a Philliskirk pass after a mix-up in the City defence. But Moran partially repaired the damage 12 minutes later, forcing the ball home at the second attempt after Felgate had somehow blocked his initial effort from Hiley's headed centre. Felgate was soon in action again, saving brilliantly from a close-range Vince Hilaire drive, and in the last minute Moran almost got the winner on the near post from Hiley's low centre.
Miller. Hiley. Cook. Brown. Daniels. Whiston. Marshall. Wimbleton. Moran. Edwards. Robson.
Subs: Hilaire (Edwards 75), Cooper.
Felgate, Stubbs, Burke, Kelly, Seagraves, Came, Green, Patterson, Jeffrey (Walker 66), Philliskirk, Darby. Sub: Fisher.
Referee John Martin (Alton, Hants)
RIVAL bosses Alan Ball and Phil Neal thought alike after the entertaining 2-2 St James Park draw between Exeter City and Bolton Wanderers. 'We both feel we have lost a game we should have won,' Ball revealed. 'Phil will consider his team has dropped two points because they were twice ahead, and I think we have because we created really good chances throughout the game.' Despite a string of missed opportunities, however, Ball was delighted with his team's overall form. 'There is a lot about our play at the moment which is pleasing me,' he said. 'No side in the Third Division is getting into wide areas to set up opportunities like we do. 'I still feel that some day we are going to give some- body a something." Ball offered words of encouragement to former City starlet Mark Robson, now on loan from Tottenham Hotspur and making his return Park bow. 'Mark did one or two good things and I have no qualms about him.' But Ball reserved special praise for Scott Hiley, who was having his last match be- fore undergoing a hernia op- eration today. 'Scott was outstanding,' Ball said. 'He has done a smashing job for us, playing in pain for the last three months, and he has a very bright future.'