10th October 1992
Swansea City (a)
Swansea City 0 Exeter City 0
By JOHN BURGUM
COLIN PASCOE will discover this week just how far Swansea City are prepared to go to keep him at Vetch Field.
Next Saturday's top-of-the-table contest at Hartlepool will be Pascoe's final contribution to a revitalised Swansea team unless a permanent agreement can be thrashed out. The three-month loan deal with Sunderland runs out on October 19 and there is likely to be a lot of hard bargaining this week to secure the services of a player who has made such a huge difference to the Swansea midfield.
Pascoe wants to stay and said as much after Swansea stretched their unbeaten run to seven matches with probably their poorest display in 13 League and Cup games this season. Swansea manager Frank Burrows has never made any secret of the need to keep the better quality players like Pascoe and restated the case after what he described as a mediocre performance against a team who have drawn more matches than any other team in the Barclays League.
"You can bring in just so many non-league players, but you need that extra quality around them if you are going to make any real progress." he said. Broader hints of the likely course of events over the next few days don't come any broader. So Burrows, who has already broached the subject of Pascoe with his opposite number at Roker Park, looks certain to be talking to Malcolm Crosby again this week to see whether the two clubs can agree a fee.
Right now the absence of Pascoe from this emerging Swansea side does not bear thinking about. He has been the cornerstone of a reshaped midfield and looks a far more accomplished player now than he was when Sunderland snapped him up for a bargain £70,000 in March 1988.
Even on one of Swansea's off days, he still had the vision to conjure a scoring opportunity when so few were created. Exeter's outstanding captain Peter Whiston (photo) cleared the Pascoe effort off the line after goalkeeper Kevin Miller had recovered from missing the initial cross to take the sting out of the shot. With so few openings, a poor match turned into a battle of wills rather than skills. Like so many teams arriving at Vetch Field these days Alan Ball's Exeter had clearly done their homework.
For a while in the first-half the Devon side seemed to have the greater appetite for hard work which allowed overlapping full-back Scott Hiley to cause all sorts of problems down Swansea's left flank.
They closed down the Swansea midfield, passed the ball much more accurately but lacked the penetration to test the dependable Roger Freestone.
Despite the untidy aspects of the match. Swansea, who forced 10 corners, created the better scoring chances and if Andrew Legg had shown a little more composure in front of goal his team could have leapfrogged into third spot behind West Brom and Hartlepool.
Exeter, who looked less and less likely to score the longer the match went on. probably deserved a point for their industry and commitment. But they were still indebted to the keen anticipation of Miller who made two critical saves as Swansea applied pressure in a frantic last five minutes, the best of them a point-blank effort to deny the diving Colin West.
For all Exeter's hustle and bustle Swansea clearly felt they had lost two points even though their disrupted game plan lacked imagination. "I wasn't happy with the way we played and I was disappointed that we did not steal it because we had the chances," said Burrows.
Freestone: Lyttle. Ford. Walker, Harris, Coughlin. Cullen, Pascoe. West, Cornforth. Legg
Subs Bowen. Jenkins not used.
Miller. Hiley, Cook. Kelly, Brown. Whiston, Cooper. Harris. Jepson. Evans. Hodge Subs Collins for Harris, injured (45mins). Dolan not used
Referee: PW Vanes (West Midlands)
Swansea: Coughlin (foul):
Exeter: Collins (foul). Brown (foul). Kelly (foul).
Star Choice: Colin Pascoe