16 January 1993
West Bromwich Albion (h)
Ossie pulls off master stroke to lift Baggies
ALAN Ball tore off his cap and stormed back to the dressing-room after seeing Exeter City throw away a two-goal advantage at St. James' Park.
Report by Simon Mills
Exeter City 2
Moran, Raven (og)
West Brom 3
Heggs, Hackett, Hamilton (pen)
West Brom manager Ossie Ardiles had pulled a tactical masterstroke when he replaced Craig Shakespeare with mid-fielder Carl Heggs.
Heggs' brilliant individual goal sparked the revival and another piece of great finish- ing from Gary Hackett and Ian Hamilton's 82nd minute penalty snatched all three points out of City's grasp. So, despite 70 minutes of hard work from the Grecians, those three goals in just 13 second-half minutes ended City's five-match unbeaten run. But Ball will point to a crucial penalty decision at the other end when defender Paul Raven appeared to handle John Hodge's swinging pass. For an hour, though, City showed that they could live with the best Division Two has to offer. The Baggies played plenty of neat passes but failed to wear down a hardworking midfield in which Danny Bailey and Jon Brown were outstanding. They provided the ammunition for Hodge and Scott Hiley to break down the well-organised West Brom defence. After just 24 minutes their combination created City's opening goal. Hiley's pass took Hodge past full back Wayne Fereday and his cross found Steve Moran, who looped the ball over Stuart Naylor. Joe Gallen could have put them further ahead five minutes later when he glanced his header inches wide from Andy Harris' corner. But the fragility of City's lead was immediately underlined when Kevin Miller was forced to make crucial saves from Bob Taylor and Steve Lilwall late. But after Raven, threatened by the approaching Moran, turned Hodge's cross past his own 'keeper with only one minute of the second half played, Exeter began to display their full potential. West Brom captain Darren Bradley was forced into one desperate challenge and Bailey even turned up on the right wing as City sought a third goal. Grecians' fans certainly felt they deserved one when referee Gerald Ashby waved away demands for a penalty after Raven handled Hodge's cross in front of goal.
That decision proved to be the turning point as West Brom re-discovered their self belief. City gave ground in midfield and often failed to pick up 18- goal marksman Taylor. He was denied by Miller in the 66th minute and gained the time and space to shoot just wide moments later. Two pieces of individual brilliance put the sides back on level terms. After 72 minutes Heggs turned and volleyed Bradley's through ball into the top right-hand corner of Miller's goal - then, 90 seconds later Hackett was allowed to cut back from the right-hand touch-line and hit a 20-yard curling shot over the diving Miller. City's confidence drained away, and there was an inevitability about the winner. Keeper Naylor cleared down field and the ball eluded the leaping Peter Whiston to fall into Taylor's path. Miller appeared to pull the striker down and after a brief consultation with his linesman, Referee Gerald Ashby gave the City 'keeper his marching orders. And midfielder Ian Hamilton stepped up to tuck the spot kick neatly past stand-in 'keeper Andy Cook.
Miller. Hiley. Cook. Bailey. Daniels. Whiston. Harris. Brown. Moran. Gallen. Hodge.
Subs: Jepson (Gallen mins), Cooper (not used).
Naylor, Fereday, Lilwall, Bradley, Raven (Robson 62 mins), Shakespeare (Heggs 46 mins), Hackett, Hamilton, Taylor, McNally, Donovan.
Referee: Gerald Ashby, Worcester
Booking: Danny Bailey (Exeter).
Sending off: Kevin Miller (Exeter).
Match Report 2.
Charge of the late brigade
Exeter City 2 West Brom 3.
Saturday 16 January 1993
NO doubt there will be a few more twists and turns before Albion's promotion bid has run its course, writes ROB BISHOP. But Ossie Ardiles' men took their supporters through a whole range of emotions in the space of 90 minutes at St James Park on Saturday. The fans sat back in admiration as their favourites dominated the opening half to such an extent that even the setback of conceding a 34th minute goal appeared to be no more than a minor distraction. The travelling band looked on in horror when a bemused Paul Raven headed into his own net to transform what had been a gentle incline into a mountain. They sank to the depths of despair as Albion subsequently displayed signs of total surrender. And Raven more than a little fortunate to escape a penalty decision for handball. And ultimately there was the sheer delight of a comeback which was is unexpected as it was exhilarating. Albion hadn't wiped out any sort of defi eit on opposition territory for more than three years, so it was ttle wonder that the three goals in the final 19 minutes were greeted with such jubilation.
After an impressive sequence of eight unbeaten Second Division games, the real test comes with next weekend's match at home to leaders Stoke City, but Albion are in the right frame of mind after a stunning finale on a pitch as cloying as Devon cream. Ardiles laid the foundations at half-time, taking off Craig Shakespeare and pushing substitute Carl Heggs up front alongside Bon Taylor in place of Kevin Donovan The lanky,
sometimes awkward Heggs provided a more lively spearhead, Including the goal which sparked Albion's recovery, while Donovan was more at home in his second half midfield role Darren Bradley underlined his value with a composed display in place of suspended central defender Gary Strodder, a suming the skipper's role in Inspirational fashion after Shakespeare's departure. And the vialtors finished with two midfielders at the heart of their defence when Bradley was joined by Ian Hamilton after Raven's miserable afternoon was prematurely ended by a 62nd minute hamstring straia.