14th January 1991
Football League (Autoglass) Trophy
West Bromwich Albion (a)
Albion's options for success cut.
Autoglass exit means promotion is sole hope for Gould's team.
West Brom 0 Exeter 1
Match Report By MICHAEL WARD
The Birmingham Post
West Bromwich Albion missed the last bus to Wembley last night and with it the chance to make a financial windfall at the end of their journey. The hope of a pleasant diversion from the pressure of main- taining a Third Division promo- tion challenge vanished when a first-half goal from Exeter City's Mark Robson sent Albion reeling out of the. Autoglass Trophy in the first round. Victory at The Hawthorns over a team they beat 6-3 on day one of the League season would have left Bobby Gould's team only four stops from the promised land, but they missed a vital chance after only 25 seconds and another less than a minute into the second half. So Birmingham City, the holders, are out and so are Albion. Together, their only remaining route is over the rugged terrain leading back to Division Two. To add insult to moral injury. Gary Strodder had what looked a perfectly fair goal disallowed for a challenge on goalkeeper Kevin Miller in the dying moments. With a little more composure from Winston White, Albion could have taken the lead after 25 seconds. Having robbed Dave Cooper 20 yards out, the winger was through on Miller, but whacked his shot straight at his legs when he had time to take the ball round him. At the other end. Stuart Naylor was grateful to have his fingers warmed by a fierce, left- footed drive from John Hodge without the need to move an inch. It was another 14 minutes before Albion conjured their second chance, but the ball fell unkindly for Gary Robson and Jon Brown hooked it away to safety. Strodder rose to meet Gary Hackett's corner, but the header, firm as it was, travelled six inches too high. A minute later Bannister volleyed ambitiously wide from a Hackett cross.
Albion had cause to regret White's wasted opening from the kick-off, for Exeter took advantage of some terrible bungling at the back to help themselves to a 23rd-minute lead. Naylor punched away Gary Marshall's left-wing centre under pressure from Steve Moran, but was a stranded spectator when Mark Robson swept the loose ball into his empty net from 20 yards with no sign of a regrouping defence. Shamed into a quick burst of counter-attacking, Albion produced a chance three minutes later, but when Robson pulled a good ball back for Bannister his fellow-striker's goal-bound shot was unluckily deflected for a corner. But if Albion could complain that the ball wouldn't run for them in several penalty area scrambles, Naylor was kept busy with a string of saves, notably from Moran, at the other end. At half time, Exeter were worth their 1-0 lead. Albion might have equalised 50 seconds after the restart, but once again a chance went astray when Bannister headed over from Hackett's excellent run and cross.
The appearance of Neil Cartwright as substitute resulted in the young midfielder hitting a blistering drive which whistled over the angle of bar and post and. in a frantic spell of Albion pressure. Bannister and Cartwright came close while Strodder had a headed goal disal- lowed for an apparent push.
Scorer: Mark Robson (23 mins, 0-1)
WEST BROMWICH ALBION (4-4-2):
Naylor. Hodson, Harbey, Bradley, Strodder: Burgess White, Bannister. Robson: Parkin (Williams. 63). Hackett (Cartwright, 74)
Miller. Brown. Cooper, Wimbleton. Daniels: Whiston. Marshall. Hilaire. Moran (Strod. 77k Hodge (Waters, 87). Robson. Referee: Mr RC Milford (Bristoli
Albion Man of the Match: