25th April 1992
Hull C (h)
THE BIG BIG DROP LOOMS NEARER FOR CITY.
Exeter City 0
Hull City 3
(Atkinson, France, Jenkinson)
THE odds on a Devon relegation double shortened dramatically at St. James' Park yesterday as Exeter crumbled to a disastrous 3-0 defeat against Hull. The struggling Grecians now have to win their last match at Darlington on Saturday to be sure of avoiding relegation after just two seasons in Division Three. But the prospects of that must be rated as remote as City have lost their last six away games, and relegated neighbours Torquay apart - have the worst trip record in the section. To avoid a return to the fourth division, they could well have to rely on fourth from bottom Bury failing to win a mid- table Preston. Yesterday, Exeter looked on the way to the victory which would have ensured safety until a bizarre catalogue of errors after 56 minutes. The home defence allowed a long wind assisted punt from Hull goalkeeper Alan Fettis to bounce, and suddenly Graeme Atkinson was racing beyond stranded stand-in City keeper Kevin Maloy - who was lost in no-man's-land-to touch the ball home. Twenty minutes later, it was virtually all over as Exeter centre back Scott Daniels and Peter Whiston failed to cut out Atkinson's through ball and striker Darren France bustled through unchecked to beat Maloy with a fierce left foot shot. But the Tigers - now celebrating the success that keeps them in the division - rubbed it in with a third on 82 minutes Lee Jenkinson finding space in the box to stab a shot past Maloy after another defensive blunder. Maloy (photo) was replacing suspended Kevin Miller and City also had striker Gary Chapman starting his first home league game of the year after leading marksman Steve Moran failed a fitness test on damaged ankle ligaments. Yet they made all the running, with John Hodge in particular causing down the right flank. Twice in five minutes mid- way through the first half, Hodge fired left foot drives just over the Hull bar, and it was from a left-wing Hodge cross that Chapman almost gave City the lead with a glancing header in the 34th minute. Their best chance, however, came two minutes before the break and Tom Kelly, Chapman and Whiston combined to provide the opening for Ian Thompstone, but his close range header was blocked by the sprawling Fettis. Only 25 seconds into the second half, Thompstone should have again provided the breakthrough, surging clear from Chapman's pass, this time, however, Fettis tumbled to his left to palm away the striker's 10-yard shot. With the game slipping away manager Alan Ball sent on Gary Marshall for Steve Williams, then Vince Hilaire for Daniels. But for all their possession, City never looked like scoring.
Maloy. Hiley. Cook. Williams. Daniels. Whiston. Hodge. Brown. Thompstone. Kelly. Chapman Subs: Marshall (Williams 64), Hilaire (Daniels 79)
Fettis; Matthews, Brown, Mail, Wilcox, Warren, Stoker, Atkinson, France Hunter 88), Windass (Allison 29), Jenkinson.
Referee: John Carter (Christchurch)
Brown, Cook (Exeter),