15th February 1992
Swansea C (h)
New partnership comes up trumps.
Exeter City 2, Moran, Thompstone Swansea City 1 Harris
Match Report by Mark Halliwell
EXETER'S new Little and Large striking partnership were on target once each as the Grecians returned to winning ways. Steve Moran and lan Thompstone struck before half- time - although City should have been dead and buried by then.
Slick Swansea carved out chance after chance keeping Exeter pegged back, but their failure to hit the target cost them dear. Grecians' boss Alan Ball had almost his first choice squad to choose from after a succession of injuries, with Pe- ter Whiston and Jon Brown returning although he decided not to gamble on the fitness of club skipper Tom Kelly.
But right from the start it was City's defence that came under pressure: With just 15 seconds on the clock, Jason Bowen won the ball on the half-way line and fed Paul Raynor, who put Jimmy Gilligan through, but the Swans skipper shot sadly wide. That was to become the sad story for Swansea. Bowen was guilty again on 16 minutes when he raced on to a short Scott Daniels back pass, and bore down on Kevin Miller's goal. Miller came out and hacked clear, only to see his clearance hit Bowen and fall to Gilligan, but luckily he was unable to control it and Miller - still way out of his box - finished the clearance. It only seemed a matter of time before Swansea broke the deadlock but then up popped Moran, that goal poacher supreme. Brown swung in a free-kick from the right after Legg fouled John Hodge, Daniels headed back into the danger area and there was Moran, pounching on a deft slick from Harris, to volley his 16th goal of the season past Roger Freestone. But still, that didn't stop Swansea's almost non-stop pressure, although Wimbleton nearly fooled Freestone into conceding a soft second five minutes after Moran's strike. But these City attacks were still intermittent as the lively Bowen in particular kept Miller occupied. After 32 minutes the big Cornishman spread himself well to deny Bowen again after Raynor had put him in the clear, then Miller had to be at his best to deny a blistering 25-yard effort from Gilligan. But, as was often the case, Miller couldn't hold onto the shot and Bowen darted in for the loose ball, falling under challenge from Miller, appeal- ing for a penalty. Referee David Frampton said no immediately, Miller irately pointing at Bowen, indicating that he felt the Swansea man dived. Just as it seemed Swansea were set to go in at the break with a fighting chance, City struck again. Another right-wing free-kick this time from Steve Williams, given for an- other foul on Hodge, this time by John Ford, caused consternation in the Swansea defence. Moran did enough to distract Freestone, and the ball ran free for Thompstone, almost on his knees at the far post, to head in his first goal for City. But Swansea managed to redress some of the balance just three mintes after the break. A 40-yard throw-in from Andy Legg was flicked on by Gilligan for centre-half Mark Harris to nip in ahead of Miller, who seemed to take his eye off the ball, to score. On 64 minutes a neat free-kick move nearly brought Swansea's deserved equaliser. Gilligan rolled sideways to birthday-boy Coughlin who teed up nicely for himself to fire in a 25-yard volley which was flicked over by Miller. Moran should really have wrapped things up nine minutes later, as Thompstone's weak cross somehow reached him on the far post, but from five yards out a surprised Moran failed to beat Freestone, who ended up sitting on the ball. Swansea's sad day was summed up by two free headers in the final 10 minutes, Bowen and Keith Walker guilty of bad misses leaving Exeter mightily relieved to take maximum points in front of their lowest crowd of the season.
Miller. Brown. Cook. Williams. Daniels. Whiston. Harris. Wimbleton. Moran. Thompstone. Hodge. Subs: Cooper (for Cook 57), Robson (for Hodge 74)
Freestone; Agboola (Jenkins. 75), Ford, Walker, Harris, Thornber, Bowen, Coughlin, Gilligan, Raynor (Chapple 87), Legg.
Referee: David Frampton (Poole)
Whiston, Wimbleton (Exeter),