27 January 1993.
Stoke City (a)
Wednesday 27 January 1993.
Tonge and cheek City upset Macari
STOKE 1 EXETER CITY 1
Ed Hogg reports from the Victoria Ground.
Only the lack of generosity traditionally associated with Scotsmen could have prevented Stoke City boss Lou Macari conceding that Alan Ball won the tactical battle of wits in last might's 1-1 Division 2 draw. Ball's Exeter City went to Stoke as cannon fodder Having been blasted for eight goals in consecutive defeats by the Potters chief championship rivals West Brom and Leyton Orient the chances of a first profitable visit to Stoke looked bleak. Macari might be the darling of the Victoria Ground after mas- terminding the 21-match unbeaten league sequence that has taken them clear by a country mile at the top of the table. And Ball may be Public Enemy No. 1 for many Potters fans for nis failure to achieve instant success in his 16-month stint in the Stoke hotseat. But Exeter's impressive per- formance 38 minutes of it without central defender Scott Daniels was rich in the ingredients that the St James's Park manager relishes. A canny gameplan, coupled with a gutsy refusal to be over- whelmed, enabled City to emerge bloodied but unbowed. They learned a lesson from the aerial bombardment launched by Orient four days earlier. And some brave strategic switches paid dividends. Alan Tonge - principally right- footed - reverted to left back to quell the flank threat of Kevin Russell, freeing Andy Cook to move into midfield. And the inclusion of Jon Brown as a marker at the back enabled skipper Peter Whiston to roam. Once the predictable early storm had been weathered it was via Whiston and Cook that City's shock 25th minute break- through came. John Hodge caused the initial problem with an instant cross that forced Tan Cranson to con- cede a first corner. The flagkick was only partially dealt with and Whiston performed a fair impression of a winger with his break down the right, shimmy past Lee Sandford and a dangerous low centre Danny Bailey dummied and Cook arrived at the far post to fire his first City league goal-and his third in nine outings - past Ronnie Sinclair.
Immediately Andy Harris blocked superbly from Regis and goalkeeper Kevin Miller superbly denied Nigel Gleghorn with the first of a series of saves of quite stunning quality. But on 38 minutes Stoke were level. Carl Beeston and Gleghorn worked a neat exchange on the left-hand touchline and Beeston's firm cross was diverted home at the crowded near post by Regis outstretched foot. Ronnie Jepson's was the third Exeter name to go in referee Steve Bell's book when the Stoke-born striker complained too vehemently that Mark Stein had thrust his studs into the face of the prone Brown. Stein went unpunished. Six minutes after the interval it was the villain of that piece who led the home side's clamour for Daniels to get his marching orders. Mr Bell obliged, deciding that Daniels' challenge on the goal- bound Regis, although clumsy, was calculatedCity looked like crumbling particularly when Gleghorn drove the resulting free-kick against the foot of Miller's left-hand upright. But with Jepson hauled back to chaperone Regis and Whiston marshalling the rearguard action superbly, they held on. Regis hooked over on one of the rare occasions that Russell escaped Tonge's clutches to cross and Miller incredibly clawed a 68th minute Lee Sand- ford piledriver from out of the top corner. Jepson blocked from Stein two yards out- Miller plunging on the rebound and then Scott Hiley superbly deflected a Gleghorn header wide. Stein's 84th minute shot flew across the face of the visitors goal and, after Macari had replaced near-redundant defender Vince Overson with striker Graham Shaw, Cook cleared a Regis header off the line. The exhausted Hodge couldn't find sufficient energy to burst clear of John Butler and Cranson as Exeter threatened an injury-time breakaway But they were confirmed as the first outfit all season to take a Victoria Ground lead and leave without defeat when Regis nod- ded a Stein cross wide two-and-a-half minutes into stoppage-time.
Match Report 2
Exeter on the ball for a point
Stoke City 1 Exeter City 1.
Former Stoke manager Alan: Ball saw his Exeter side deny the second division leaders a ninth successive home league win, despite playing with 10 men after Scott Daniels was dismissed for a foul on Dave Regis in the 51st minute. Exeter took the lead in the 24th minute via Andy Cook but Stoke deservedly levelled after 38 minutes through Regis.
Report from Exe-Directory
Stoke 1 City 1
How City managed a point from this game I'll never know. After Saturday's abysmal display at Orient, we even had the nerve to take the lead, Andy Cook finishing with ease after good work by Whiston. However, ex-Argyle man Dave Regis netted for Stoke after 36mins to level the scores. Just after half time, Scott Daniels was shown the red card for hauling down Regis when he was clean through. From the resulting free kick Stoke struck the inside of the post and the ball was cleared. Bally moved Jepson to the centre of defence to cover for Daniels and he performed well in this position. If Kevin Miller hadn't been in outstanding form, making 5 superb saves, City would have been well and truly buried. Andy Cook cleared one off the line, then Scott Hiley somehow managed to hook a certain goal bound shot out, as the Stoke player was turning to salute the fans. It was all Stoke in the second half, like something out of the Alamo. Somehow City held out. At least we stopped Stoke from winning nine on the trot at home.
Stoke City Team:
1 Ronnie Sinclair 2 John Butler 3 Lee Sandford 4 lan Cranson 5 Vince Overson 6 Nigel Gleghorn 7 Steve Foley 8 Kevin Russell 9 Mark Stein 10 Dave Regis 11 Carl Beeston
Miller, Hiley, Cook, Bailey, Daniels, Whiston, Harris, Brown, Jepson, Tonge, Hodge. Subs not used: Moran, Phillips
Referee: Steve Bell