Match 05
27 August 2001.
Rochdale (a)


27th August 2001

EXETER City and Rochdale moved to opposite ends of Division Three after Noel Blake's side failed to make much improvement on their abject defeat to Scunthorpe two days earlier. Gary Jones' 27th-minute penalty and a Kevin Townson strike two minutes later dumped the Grecians to the bottom of the table, after Torquay overcame Carlisle 2-1 at home and Plymouth managed a 3-2 win at Rushden and Diamonds. Blake made five changes. from the side he accused of lacking commitment against Scunthorpe. Defenders Graeme Power and Marcus Gross took the places of Neil Whitworth and Jamie Campbell, although trainee Gross had his debut curtailed after 37 minutes. Andy Roscoe made his first start of the season in midfield, while Gary Birch and Graeme Tomlinson were recalled up front. The personnel may have changed, but the performance still lacked quality as Rochdale sensed a Devon double, fol- lowing their defeat of Argyle. Dale had two goals disallowed in the first half, and goalkeeper Arjan van Heusden spared his side further blushes with two superb saves after the break. But he had to make up for his earlier mistake which led to Rochdale's first goal. Centre back Dave Bayliss launched a long ball to Clive Platt, who took the ball inside the area and nudged it past the outrushing Van Heusden, who then caught the striker's legs. Referee Mike Brandwood pointed to the spot and Gary Jones drilled his penalty kick past the 'keeper's outstretched left hand. The home side added a second goal two minutes later when defensive mix-up a resulted in the ball rebounding off Martin Barlow and into the path of lively teenager Kevin Townson, a 20th-minute substitute for injured striker Paul Connor. Rochdale had taken their time to settle into the game but the two-goal lead helped them get in their stride and there was no way back for Exeter. Blake brought on Barry McConnell for Gross and the visitors weathered the remainder of the half. Van Heusden enjoyed a quieter second half but was solid when needed, punching the ball over the bar from Sean McAuley's 20-yard free-kick and denying Townson with his legs when the striker was clear on goal. Roscoe and Birch came clos est to opening Exeter's account. with goalkeeper Matthew Gilks blocking Roscoe's initial effort with his legs before Birch hit the crossbar from the rebound. But City, for all their endeavour, rarely gave the impression they will do anything but struggle this season.



Jones 27 pen, Townson 29


Rochdale (4-4-2): M Gilks, W Evans, $ Coleman, D Bayliss, & McAulay, T Ford (D Flitcroft 79), G Jones, M Oliver, K Durkan, C Platt, P Connor (K Townson 19).
Substitutes (not used): J Baker, G Griffiths, M Doughty

Exeter City (5-2-3): A van Heusden; M Gross (B McConnell 37), A Warson, C Curran, G Power, D Kerr (G Cronin 44); M Barlow, A Roscoe, C Roberts, G Birch, G Tomlinson (5 Flack 55).
Substitutes (not used): A Walker (k), R Moor,

Bookings: Watson 55, Cronin 77

Referee: M Brandwood (Lichfield).

Attendance: 3,003.



Allowed tags: <p>, <a>, <em>, <strong>, <ul>, <ol>, <li>