20th April 1992
MARVEL MILLER SAVES SECOND DEVON CREAMING
Royals strike rate turns sour
Reading 1 Exeter City 0CLIVE BASKERVILLE reports from Elm Park
Exeter goalkeeper Kevin Miller saved his side from a pounding as slipshod Reading converted only one of hatful of chances yesterday. City should have gone the same way as Devon rivals Torquay, who were hammered 6-1 by Royals nine days earlier. Reading created just as many chances, but fine goalkeeping and some weak finishing meant Royals had to be happy with just a one-goal victory. Even so, the performance was a marked improvement on Saturday's dreadful display against Bradford. The quality of the passing and the running off the ball opened up City's defence time and again-and there was a much greater desire to win. The goal proved the point. Adrian Williams won the ball at the back and played it for- ward to Kevin Dillon, who timed his run perfectly to beat the offside trap. The midfielder drew Miller before unselfishly sliding a pass across the area for rto sidefoot in his third goal of the season. Former Newcastle striker David Robinson should have broken his scoring duck two minutes later following another Dillon cross.
Robinson rose unmarked at the far post and beat Miller with his header-but Scott Daniels got back to clear off the line. McGhee then missed a gilt- edged chance on eight minutes. A long clearance kick from Steve Francis was allowed to bounce through by the City defence and McGhee beat Miller to the loose ball. With the 'keeper stranded, McGhee had the whole goal to aim at but hit it straight at defender Jon Brown. Robinson could also have scored in the 19th minute when he scooped a right-foot shot over after a good run and cross by Maskell. Exeter came more into the match after the half hour and Francis made a fine save from Ian Thompstone, who hit a near shot on the turn. Minutes later, Steve Williams curled a dangerous cross into the middle where Francis fum- bled and Adrian Williams was forced to make a last-ditch clearance as Gary Chapman moved in. The luckless Robinson was denied again just before the break when Miller made a point- blank save from a glancing header after a Maskell cross. Miller was Exeter's saviour again soon after the restart when he spectacularly palmed away Maskell's shot. The busy 'keeper beat away another close range attempt by McGhee after a pass by Robinson within minutes. Then Miller was called upon again to push Robinson's rasping right-foot shot away for a corner. Perhaps Reading's biggest miss came on 67 minutes when Miller denied both Maskell and Robinson, before Maskell hit the bar with a follow up shot. Exeter staged a late rally to almost snatch an underserved point. Daniels was left unmarked on 76 minutes after Reading had pushed out for offside but he fired straight at Francis. Three minutes later, Thompstone's header from John Hodge's corner was superbly tipped over the bar by Francis. Exeter's two substitutes got involved in the late action. With five minutes left, Andy Harris was booked for dissent, while David Cooper shot nar- rowly over from 20 yards. There was still time for Maskell to fire straight at Miller following a Robinson break in the last minute - but it clearly wasn't a striker's day.
Francis, Jones, Richardson, McPherson, Williams, Bailey, Maskell, Dillon, McGhee, Robinson, Taylor.
Subs (not used): Barkus, Seymour.
Miller, Hiley, Cook, Williams, Daniels, Brown, Hodge, Hilaire (Cooper 29 mins), Thompstone, Kelly (Harris 75 mins), Chapman.
Referee: Paul Vanes (Warley).
- Attempts on target: 11.
- Attempts off target: 6.
- Corners: 10.
- Free kicks conceded: 28.
- Attempts on target: 5.
- Attempts off target: 3.
- Corners: 10.
- Free kicks conceded: 18.