13 March 1993.
Ball's masterstroke nets a long overdue Park win
Exeter City 3
Jepson, Hodge, Moran
Match Report by David Hutchings
Saturday 13 March 1993.
EXETER secured a much needed home league victory to distance themselves from the Second Division strugglers and boost their confidence for Tuesday's Autoglass Area final. But it took an inspired reshuffle by City boss Alan Ball to achieve it. Exeter had gone ahead in the first half through Ronnie Jepson only to see Hartlepool haul themselves back into the game with an equaliser on the stroke of half time. Then Eamonn Dolan missed two chances early in the second half and the game seemed to be stalemated. But when Ball replaced Andy Harris with Toby Redwood, pulled off the ineffectual Dolan and put on Steve Moran, the team seemed to click. Within ten minutes of Moran coming on John Hodge put City ahead again. Then Moran himself added the third just four minutes from time. City badly needed their first home league win since the Boxing Day defeat of Plymouth Argyle. The points were vital. So too was the psychological boost for the home club after the somewhat controversial departure of popular Scott Hiley. Hartlepool dominated the opening minutes and went close on a number of occasions. After just two minutes Brian Honour pumped in a corner and John McPhail met it with a bullet-like header. But Kevin Miller reacted brilliantly to finger-tip the ball over the bar. Two minutes later Ian McGuckin stormed in from the left and let loose a shot that Miller could only parry. But skipper Jon Brown did well to clear for a corner. City went ahead after 22 minutes when Dolan flicked on Hodge's cross from the right. Jepson ghosted in behind his marker, reached out a foot and deftly guided the ball into the net. Dolan got the ball in the net after 37 minutes from a Jepson header but the ref signalled a foul on Frank Talia. Then on the stroke of half time Mick Tait burst through the defence, latched on to a through ball and smashed his shot past Miller and just in- side the upright. Dolan missed two chances on the hour after Andy Cook had twice set him up with pin-point crosses. But then Ball made the substitutions and with 12 minutes to go Hodge put City ahead again. Moran turned back Cook's cross and Hodge executed a perfect lob over the keeper from the edge of the box. Moran demonstrated his own goal-poaching skills after 86 minutes when Redwood's shot cannoned out off the upright and the striker was ideally placed to head home from close range
Miller, Tonge, Cook, Bailey, Daniels, Brown, Harris, McIntyre, Jepson, Dolan. Hodge
Subs: Moran (for Dolan, 68 mins), Redwood (for Harris, 59).
Talia; Nobbs, McGuckin, Gilchrist, McPhail, Tait, Peverell (Wratten, 70), Olsson, Saville, Honour, Southall; sub., Garrett.
Referee: Keith A Cooper (Swindon)