Match 16
16 October 1993.
Stockport County (a)


They are the best.
says ex-England star Alan Ball 

Stockport County 4 Exeter City 0.

Saturday 16 October 1993.


Att: 4349

Match Report by Jan Vass

County roared back into gear on Saturday with a display right out of the top drawer to humble Exeter. The Devon side know they escaped the hiding of their lives with County missing a hatful of chances that had their manager Alan Ball admitting: "County are the best team I've seen this season." Such high praise from one of the greats of English football was well-deserved as the Hatters served notice they have put their two disappointing draws behind them, playing some irresistible football. In the old days all you had to do to stop County was to stop Kevin Francis and the better teams were well capable of doing just that. But on their current form County look a threat from all over the field and have turned from aerial bombardment to the kind of passing game more latterly seen at Old Trafford." Certainly it was Exeter, playing with their backs to the bright winter sun in the first half, who were dazzled by a combination of sharp wing play and tough midfield tackling. They looked like they had hardly shaken off the effects of the long coach journey when they fell behind to a classic Darren Ryan goal. With barely four minutes on the clock he cracked in the sweetest of volleys. The tricky No. 10 proved a constant menace, teasing them with a combination of running and passing that had their back four baffled. County could and should have gone further ahead with Andy Preece missing twice in two minutes on a day when County's top scorer had an embarrassing number of chances and contrived to miss them all. Danny Bergara might have been understandably annoyed with such profligacy, but an excellent overall performance by Preece should have soothed any criticisms of his finishing. His first chance on the quarter hour saw him hit the bottom of the left hand post after rounding the keeper and then shaving the other upright four minutes later. However, County got their well-deserved second on 23 minutes, an excellent Frain through-ball sending Francis scampering down the right wing to beat the fullback before rounding the keeper and slotting home coolly.

It was all such a stroll for County that Connelly tried to make a game of it on 33 minutes, putting a header into the path of the on-rushing Mick Ross. The Exeter forward did all the hard work beating Edwards but failed to make the most of it with a weak shot that allowed Connelly to make amends by clearing off the line with some assistance from Flynn. County made it 3-0 on 38 minutes with an all too easy goal. Flynn's long throw to Francis saw the big striker nod the ball on to David Frain who had the simplest of jobs beating the hapless Veasey in the Exeter goal.

The half time talk was all about how mary County would score, but in a game they had well won on 45 minutes they managed only one more, Ward sticking it in via a post following a neat one-two with Beaumont, despite further chances to Preece, Miller, Francis and practical- ly anyone else in a blue shirt. The most pleasing note for Bergara must be the form of Neil Edwards who, despite being kept cold for most of the game, still managed to keep a clean sheet with three outstanding stops. If Neville Southall is determined to stay at home during the World Cup. Wales manager Terry Yorath could do a lot worse than put Edwards on the plane to America.

Edwards 8, Beaumont 7, Todd 6, Frain 8, Flynn 8, CONNELLY 9, Miller 7, Ward 7, Francis 7 (James 84 min), Ryan 8, Preece 8.

Attendance 4,394.


Paul F



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