30th January 1996
Tuesday 30th January, 1998
EXETER CITY 1 HARTLEPOOL UNITED 0
The long awaited first home fixture of 1996 took place before the smallest crowd of the season. This was perhaps not surprising on what was still a cold evening Hartlepool had not been too pleased either about making the long trip down to the South West with manager Keith Houchen explaining in his local press that it involved a 15 hour coach journey. seven and a half hours each way
Houchen must have been even more frustrated after his side almost snatched a point, but eventually faced the journey home empty handed. Exeter played some great football in the first half, passing the ball accurately but once again the goals did not come apart from Mark Cooper's 38th minute close range effort atter Pools keeper Brian Horne dropped the ball from a corner.
City had several long range attempts at goal, with Mark Cooper hitting one effort narrowly wide from 25 yards. Grecians pattern of play seemed to disappear however, when sing Mark Chamberlain early in the second hall, falling on his already broken arm. Having also lost Daren Hughes at half time, City now found it difficult to get the forward, with Hartlepool pinning them back in there own hall.
The visitors persisted on using the same route to goal, that being a high ball into the City penalty area, whether it being from a long ball forward or the huge throw-ins of substitute Steve Howard. Despite the pressure put on the City defence, they really only had on clear cut chance, and that was brilliantly saved in the closing minutes by Peter Fox who dived low to his ledt to stop a close range header
Lee Bradbury almost put the result beyond doubt right at the end when breaking from the halfway line. He outpaced a defender and faces with a one on one situation, powerfully struck a shot, only to sse it cannon off the angle of the post and cross-bar and bounce high into the Bank.
This may not have been the prettiest of football matches, but it was nevertheless a most welcome three points and a boost to players and supporters confidence alike.
Peter Fox, Mark Chamberlain (Neil Parsley) Darren Hughes (Colin Anderson). Paut Buckle, Noel Blake, Jon Richardson, Mike Cecere, Mark Cooper Lee Bradbury Danny Bailey, Mark Came
Sub not used: Leon Braithwaite
Hartlepool United team:
Brian Home, Denny Ingram, Terry Lynch (Steve Howard), Peter Bulling, lan McGuckin, Shaun Reddish, Joe Allon, Mick Tait, Keith Houchen Steve Halliday, Sean McAuley
Subs not used: Steve Jones, Keith Oliver
Scorer: Exeter: Cooper
Referee: Mike Pierce (Portsmouth)