Match 26
18th December 2004
Scarborough (h)

Alex turns St James's Park into a FORTRESS!

Exeter City 3
Moxey, Flack, Devine (pen)
Scarborough 1 

Report from Matt Bamsey at ST JAMES'S PARK

THE key to securing promotion is not rocket science: turn your home ground into a fortress and plunder as many points as possible on travels.

Most managers would agree on this recipe for success a simple formula providing a guiding light for clubs har- bouring realistic ambitions of going up. Under Grecians' boss Alex Inglethorpe, there is little doubt that phase one of the grand masterplan is well under way. Last season St James's Park was the chief source of the club's failure to clinch a top-five spot too many dropped points against the league's lesser lights on home soil ultimately proved to be costly. While the Grecians missed out only by a solitary point, they won fewer home games than any of the eventual play-off outfits, and paid the penalty as a result. But now there appears to have been a radical transformation in the club's fortunes at St James's Park. No longer is the drawbridge down and a welcoming sign nailed to the battlements-as St James's Park is fast becoming a fortress increasingly difficult to breach. Everyone remembers last season's sorry surrender at the hands of part-time clubs like Farnborough, Forest Green Rovers and Margate, which all conspired to deal a succession of blows to the club's play-off hopes. But things are starting to change. Statistics don't lie and, since Inglethorpe took up the reins two months ago, the Grecians have lost just once on home soil-a low-key LDV Vans surrender to League One side Swindon Town. In his time at the helm, he has guided his side to six wins, including FA Cup victories over Braintree United, Grimsby Town and Doncaster Rovers, plus Conference triumphs against Aldershot Town, Leigh RMI and now Scarborough. He has successfully transformed inconsistency into a solid asset, weakness into strength and a sense of despair into a real source of comfort and hope. And, while the atmosphere at St James's Park last season was often muted, suffocated by the team's tendency to squander valuable points, the electricity inside the ground at the weekend mirrored the latest turnaround in fortunes. The fans were different class, rallying and cajoling the team towards a priceless three points. Even the doom-mongers are starting to realise that positive vocal support can have a inspiring effect on the team and the results speak for themselves. Inglethorpe said: "It was great to see a big crowd, and it must make a difference to the players because there was a real buzz around the ground," And all of a sudden there is a fresh belief that last season's tendency to ship late goals has been consigned to the scrap-heap and replaced by a renewed sense of optimism that City are starting to carve out a reputation as a real force on their home patch. The club's second largest home gate of the season 4,592 fans, buoyed by the prospect of next month's trip to Old Trafford-refused to fall into the old negativity trap when veteran mid- fielder Neil Redfearn cracked an exquisite first-half free-kick past Paul Jones to break the deadlock. Over the past few seasons, City have developed a reputation as freezing on the big stage. When the crowds flock in, the team tends to fold- well, not on Saturday as Inglethorpe's troops mounted a stirring second-half fightback to kickstart a hectic festive programme in fine style. Enormous credit for this result must go to Inglethorpe, who was plunged into the murky waters of an injury crisis only to come back to the surface clutching a priceless three points. The City chief was deprived of Kwame Ampadu and Marcus Martin, not to mention the absence of Glenn Cronin, Barry McConnell and Chris Todd. Veteran Paul Buckle, embarking on his third spell with the club, was rewarded for answering an SOS in the week by being drafted into the engine room at a rain-lashed St James's Park. Alex Jeannin and Keith Gilroy exchanged on-target efforts as the two sides separated by six places and just four points at the start of play sized each other up in the opening ten minutes. The Frenchman's fizzing drive can- noned into Redfearn, while Andy Taylor produced an heroic block at the other end after Gilroy launched a thunderous effort. But it was Scarborough who settled into their stride the quicker, with Redfearn who has commanded transfer fees of nearly £2 million in his 23-year career probing in the hole behind the lively pairing of Tony Hackworth and Chris Senior. Scarborough's pass-and-move football, shuttling the ball around with speed and accuracy, stood in sharp contrast to City's tendency to pump misdirected balls up-field, by-passing the midfield altogether. And when Buckle clattered into the back of Colin Cryan 25-yards from his own goal-earning the 34-year-old a yellow card fears of a Redfearn cracker-jack immediately rose to the surface. The former Barnsley man had already punished the Grecians once this season with a sizzling free-kick in the 1-1 draw at the McCain Stadium. And it came as no surprise when he repeated the same dose of clinical precision, lashing the laser-guided set-piece over the wall and past Paul Jones. Scott Hiley launched a bid to eclipse his fellow veteran just a minute later with a flighted effort that looped over Leigh Walker only to land on the roof of the net. Hackworth- whose presence was causing palpitations within the City defence flashed a shot over the bar while Gilroy's driven cross eluded everyone. 

Match Report 2 
BBC Match Report: 
Exeter 3-1 Scarborough

Exeter came back from a goal down to defeat Scarborough. The visitors took the lead when veteran midfielder Neil Redfearn converted a free-kick.

Redfearn went close shortly after the break but Exeter equalised with a Dean Moxey shot before they went in front through a Steve Flack effort. Sean Devine was rewarded for a lively performance when he wrapped up the win from the penalty spot after Mark Hotte had fouled Les Afful.

Exeter: Jones, Hiley, Sawyer, Gaia (Afful 62), Jeannin, Buckle, Sheldon, Taylor, Moxey, Flack (Edwards 90), Devine. Subs Not Used: Rice, O'Sullivan, Seaborne.

Booked: Buckle, Flack.

Goals: Moxey 51, Flack 64, Devine 89 pen.

Scarborough: Walker, Baker, Foot, Hotte, Nicholson, Thompson, Cryan, Redfearn, Gilroy (Burton 73), Senior, Hackworth. Subs Not Used: Hayfield, Gill, Lyth, Coulson.

Booked: Baker.

Goals: Redfearn 21.

Attendance 4,529.

Referee S Hollick (Devon).



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