8 May 1993.
Fulham 1 Exeter City 1. D2.
Saturday 8 May 1993.
Referee: Ron Groves (Weston-super-Mare) ****
Slick Minett turns on the style to keep City safe.
Fulham 1 (Farrell)
Exeter City 1 (Storer)
Fulham: Stannard, Morgan, Pike, Ferney, Jupp. Thomas, Hails, Bedrossian, Farrell, Brazil, Baah; Subs: Kelly (for Baah, 67 mins). Marshall (not used).
Exeter City: Miller White Tonge Balley. Daniels Brown Bond. Minett Jepson Storer Hodge
Subs: Harris, Moran (not used).
Bookings: White, Storer (Exeter).
EXETER City per-formed their now seasonal redeeming style escape act to avoid relegation with a draw at Fulham.
In the end City did not need Preston to lose at high flying Bolton but will now get the chance of a third time lucky. Since winning the old Fourth Division title Alan Ball's side have come close to the drop twice.
City travelled to the capital in buoyant mood after picking up a point at home to Port Vale. With Dave Cooper suspended, Peter Whiston injured and Steve Moran dropped it always looking to be a tough and to the season.
City started well with Jon Brown finding Hodge with a good diagonal ball with Pike happy to concede a corner
Hodge was at the heart of most of City's moves with Danny Bailey making his early mark with some typically solid tackles although Kevin Miller needed to be alert to clear with his feet following a ball over the top.
In the 14th minute Brazil was about to round Stuart Storer but the City striker took his legs earning himself a yellow card. A poor goal kick from Miller then let in Farrell who wasted the chance shooting well over as Fulham stepped up a gear. Baah's teasing centre looked to have been tipped over the bar although referee Ron Groves gave City the goal kick and then a decision not popular with the hosts. In the 27th minute however, the best chance so far was created with an excellent pass from Danny Bailey into space for the increasingly influential Jason Minett to run on to but he scuffed his attempted lob from a good position.
Another good Exeter move followed involving Minett, Jepson and Hodge whose deflected shots flew into the midriff of the giant Fulham keeper, Stannard. A second clear opening presented itself to City just before the break. Kevin Bond's lob back into the crowded goalmouth follow- ing a free kick found Hodge clear on goal but Stannard was equal to his well struck shot turning it behind for a corner.
Fulham began brightly in the second half as Ferney was allowed time to pick his target from 30 yards but his effort flew wide. A minute later Chris White was booked for bringing down Martin Pike as he was about to cross. Storer then lifted an effort over the bar after a good lob by Hodge although Stannard's subsequent challenge left the speedy front man needing treatment.
Then in the 53rd minute an exquisite 30 yard crossfield ball from the youngster Minett found Storer in the inside left channel. He first took the ball to the deadball line then cut back in leaving two defenders for dead before unleashing an unstoppable shot past Stannard.
City were working even harder to preserve this hard earned lead with the players backing each other up well, particularly Alan Tonge who was keeping Fulham's player of the year Julian Hails very quiet.
A four man Fulham move opened up the Grecians defence but Brown once again made an important clearance. Minett helped to relieve the pressure with a great 35 yard pass to Hodge and in stretching for the latter's cross Scott Daniels went down but continued after treatment. Then, just when Exeter appeared to be taking the three points, a momentary lack of concentration allowed Farrell to control Pike's hopeful run from the left and finish smartly from close range at the far post. However, this was a great team performance with no real stars and gave supporters a glimpse of real hope for an end to the recent struggles.