Match 40
10 March 2001.
Shrewsbury T (h)

Exeter City 1 Shrewsbury 0


A SECOND half strike from Steve Flack was enough to give Exeter a vital victory against relegation rivals Shrewsbury. A scrappy game erupted into life when Flack stretched superbly to knock the ball past Shrewsbury goal- keeper Paul Edwards. The win was City's fourth at home in five games and their fifth straight clean sheet at St James's Park. Exeter were forced to start the game without a host of injured first team regulars including Chris Curran, Neil Whitworth and Mark Rawlinson. Manager Noel Blake named himself among the substitutes and drafted in fringe play- ers including Barry McConnell, Graeme Tomlinson and Alex Inglethorpe. Shrewsbury made a lively start and could have taken the lead within the first five minutes. Steve Jagielka picked out Sam Aiston, who scampered into the box but struck his shot straight at Arjam Van Heusden. City started quietly and their only early chance came when In- glethorpe lofted a hopeful ball into the box and Andrew Tretton needlessly headed it out of the grasp of his goal- keeper. Flack rolled the ball along the edge of the box to Inglethorpe who struck a fierce shot just over the bar. Shrewsbury came close to the opener when Aiston crossed dangerously and the unmarked Chris Freestone just failed to connect with the ball despite a desperate lunge. For two sides not yet clear of relegation danger, the game lacked a sense of urgency in the opening stages. Christian Roberts switched from the left to the right and back again but failed to make much of an impression against the visitors well organised defence. Flack had his first strike on goal midway through the half when he ran onto Lee Zabek's pass but struck the ball straight at the goalkeeper. Exeter had a scare when Matty Jones's misdirected cross appeared to be dropping into the net but just cleared the crossbar. Roberts attempted to stamp some authority on the game and two strikes at goal in the space of four minutes. He struck a fierce free kick over the bar from the edge of the box. Then fired a long range shot straight at the goalkeeper. City were increas- ingly forced to shoot from distance and Mc- Connell tested the goalkeeper from 30 yards.

Both teams could have had few complaints about walking off with the score goalless after a poor first half. Exeter could have gone ahead two minutes after the restart. Tomlinson broke well on the left and drilled in a low cross which Paul Buckle struck well and forced a fine save from the goalkeeper. City began to exert some pressure as they pushed men forward while the visitors sat back and occasionally counter-attacked. Jamie Campbell, immaculate in defence, headed McConnell's corner just over the bar as Exeter increased the pressure. Flack finally broke the deadlock with a goal out of the blue in the 68th minute. Van Heusden's enormous clearance bounced once before Flack stretched out a leg and guided the ball past the advancing goalkeeper. Shrewsbury fought hard to get back into the game and City had a nervous last 10 minutes. Aiston thumped a shot straight at Van Heusden in the dying moments but Exeter held firm for a deserved victory.

Exeter City 
Van Heusden. Power. Campbell. Burrows.  Inglethorpe. Buckle. McConnell. Zabek. Tomlinson. Roberts. Flack.
Substitutes: Mudge (for Tomlinson, 70), Ashton (for Zabek, 84) Not used: Breslan, Fraser, Blake.

Edwards, Collins, Tretton (Sertori, 82), Jagielka, Freestone (Brown, 73), Jemson, Aiston, Tolley (Peer, 66), Drysdale, Jones, Murray. Subs not used: Seabury, Dunbavin.

Exeter- Flack, 68.
Exeter - Power, 88.

Dermot Gallagher (Banbury)

Attendance: 3.955.


Power (Exeter) 88.
Exeter 6, Shrewsbury 2.
Exeter 4, Shrewsbury 1.
Exeter 17, Shrewsbury 14.
Exeter 8, Shrewsbury 2.

Star Man:
Jamie Campbell - immaculate at the back


Paul F



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