15 August 1998.
Exeter City 1 Scarborough 0.
Saturday 15 August 1998.
Referee: J Oliver
Exeter City 1 Scarborough 0
BY ROSS REID
EXETER City central de- fender Jon Git- tens headed a 21st minute winner to end the Grecians' nine-year wait for an opening home League win. The last time City won their first home League fixture was on August 19 1989 when they beat Doncaster Rovers 1-0 and went on to claim the Fourth Division Championship.
Yesterday they got the result they deserved when Gittens celebrated his home League debut with a superb headed goal that won praise even from opposition boss Mick Wadsworth. Graeme Power lived up to his name, power- ing down the left flank to set up the all-important goal in the 20th minute. Borough No.5 Jason Lydiate wrestled the ball off Power on the edge of the box but then received a yellow card for fouling Steve Flack who won the ball back. Former Bristol Rovers defender Power curled in a far post free kick from the left with his left foot and there was man-of-the-match Gittens rising unchal- lenged to head the ball back across the face of goal and in at the far post, with Borough keeper Tony Elliott left helplessly scrambling. There were other fine performances by players sporting the red and white stripes. Two of them, right wing back Shaun Gale and Flack, combined for City's first meaningful attempt on goal in the seventh minute. Gale crossed from the right, Flack powered in a header but Elliott saved well Gale proved a thorn in the side, down the right, to Borough. In the 12th minute Lydiate had to be on his toes to clear and a minute later a good ball from Jason Rees set up Chris Curran whose pinpoint cross should have been dealt with better by Billy Clark, who unfortunately miscued and fired over from 12 yards. Exeter's increasing pressure was capped by the goal which came midway in a good spell from the home side. In the 24th minute Rees's superb curling ball into the path of Darran Rowbotham sent his fellow Welshman away, but the striker's first-time drive skewed wide. A minute later Rowbotham found Jon Richardson on the left edge of the box and he nearly beat Elliott with an audacious curling chip which just went over the top corner. Another Gale cross was bravely met by Flack, who dived in ahead of Frenchman Alex Marinkov, but just failed to get enough on the ball. Teignmouth teenager Geoff Breslan, who tormented Borough down the left, was also making his home League debut and came close to scoring in the 26th minute, forcing Elliott to punch away, although assistant referee Wendy Toms awarded a goal kick. In the 41st minute Borough's best chance was wasted by Steve Brodie who shot wide after spinning into the box. And in the first minute of the second half Power and Gittens nearly made it 2-0 from another free kick. In the 62nd minute Rowbotham must have thought he had scored with a scorching, curl- ing drive after beating Marinkov which came back off the inside of the upright. Exeter coped well as Borough threw everything at them in the last minute, but the nearest the Seadogs came to a second half goal was a sole 74th minute strike by Neil Campbell which flew wide.
Bayes. Gale. Power. Curran. Richardson Gittens. Rowbotham. Rees. Flack. Clark. Breslan. Substitutes: Fry (for Rowbotham, 73 minutes), Holloway (for Breslan, 80), Gardner (for Power, 81).
Elliott, Jackson, Atkinson (Russell, 73), Worrall, Lydiate, Marinkov, Bullimore (Mil- bourne, 46), Hoyland, Campbell, Brodie (Radigan, 80), Williams.
Exeter - Gittens, 21 mins.
Exeter Clark, 75;
Scarborough Lydiate, 20, Campbell, 28, Worrall 45.
Referee: Ray Olivier (Birmingham)