26th December 1995
Torquay United (h)
TUESDAY 26TH DECEMBER 1995.
EXETER CITY 0 TORQUAY UNITED 0 Report by David Thomas
Blankety blank as Aidan misses derby sitter
Torquay Manager Eddie May put a brave face on it. Many of the fans in yellow-and-blue tried to content themselves with the fact that Torquay United were the better side and should have wonBut nothing could change the horror of the moment at St. James Park yesterday which may haunt Aidan Newhouse for as long as he plays football. In the 48th minute of a match United dominated for long periods came the chance to turn one point into three. Exeter City centre-half Noel Blake slipped and United's West Indian forward Rodney Jack nipped in, was foiled by goalkeeper- manager Peter Fox and the ball dropped for Newhouse. He was eight yards out with the goal at his mercy He had to score but his Left-foot shot flew over the bar. Newhouse, on loan from Wimbledon, stopped and stared into space in disbelief and then held his head in his hands. The best strikers in the history of the game have all missed them That's the nature of the job. But how badly United needed Newhouse to take that chance. In fairness to Newhouse he refused to dwell on his mistake, he cleared his disappointed head rolled up his sleeves and did his best to make up for it. In a match full of mistakes. a third frozen pitch on which forced referee Mike Riley to put the kick off back half-an-hour, United were more reliable in defence, more determined in midfield and, with Jack the best forward on either side, more dangerous in attack. It took mid-table Exeter 61 minutes to force a corner by which time United had already taken and fluffed five flag kicks of their own. The game was riddled with mistakes, most of them from the red shirts, yet Umt- ed simply did not have the confidence to punish them. From the first moments: when Blake and Fox- City's manager and assistant, appeared to be on different wavelengths and nearly gave United two goals, Exeter looked there for the taking. United had paired Jack with the fit again Newhouse up front, with Mark Hall and Ian Hathaway on the wings and Mark Hawthorne recalled to midfield along- side new skipper Paul Ramsey. Ramsey gave a wholehearted performance in mid- fieldex Torquay schemer Paul Buckle made little impressionJack was always a handful and if Hall and Hathaway had provided. more penetration in the first- half United might have taken a decisive lead before the mterval. As it was the best chancefell to Hathaway who only got out of second gear in the second halfand he volleyed at Fox from ten yards after a mistake by Blake had left him clear. Newhouse, Jack and Steve Winterwho supplied anoth er attacking option from night-backall went close, while City relied on break-aways for long periods. From one of them, after a series of touch and go off side decisions, Lee Bradbury was allowed to gallop clear on a Mark Gavin through ball when he was clearly yards offside. Bradbury's miss with Ashley Bayes to beat and time to pick his spot, was as bad in its way as Newhouse's later. Micky Ross also missed a glaring heading chance for City on a cross by Mark Chamberlain, who should have shot anyway. United lost Winter in the 48th minute with an ankle- injurycutting short another lively effort from an improv ing young player Lee Bar- row substituted. But United continued to look the more likely side to snatch the winner. Jack and Hall switched positions and with ten min- utes to go Jack once again defied the bobbly surface with a pinking run, a low cross and Hawthorne wasted a good shooting chance. While they were failing to turn superiority into goals. there was always the chance that United might be caught out. It nearly happened two minutes from time. First, Bradbury burst. through for a shot, Bayes did well to parry and then City left-back Darren Hugh- es struck the rebound against the bar from 20 yards. What it would have done to United's morale if they had gone mone dreads to think. As it is they have to try and draw comfort from factors other than precious points. It isn't easyespecially for the fans, while that worrying gap at the bottom of the table remains.
Grecians: Fox, Parsiey, Hughes. Buckle, Blake, Richardson, Gavin (Braithwaite 851. Chamberlain, Bradbury Ross (Gecere 66), Came
Torquay: Bayes Winter (Barrow 51). Kelly, Gere. Watsen, Ramsty, Hall, Hawthorne, Newhouse. Jack Hathaway.
This was a derby match to forget. A shame in view of the excellent turn cut of supporters, but they were left with very little cheer about. Torquay were undoubtedly happy to get a point, and indeed had City looking decidely shaky in celence at times The nearest City came to scoring was a lane drive from Darren Hughes which rebounded back off the Torquay crossbar.