Match 03
22nd August 1979
Wimbledon (h)

EXETER CITY slumped to their second successive defeat at St. James's Park last night as the "Wombles" of Wimbledon picked up a 2-0 win with the ease that their TV counterparts gather litter from the local common.

Two goals in the final 16 minutes left Exeter still searching for their first point of the new campaign and presented manager Brian Godfrey with plenty of problems to sort out before Saturday's match with Mansfield.

It was one of Exeter's poorest performances for some time. They managed to force a couple of tremendous saves out of 'keeper Ray Goddard in the first-half, but apart from that they rarely troubled a Wimbledon side which grew in stature as the game progressed. City's lightweight strike-force were no match for Wimbledon's big defenders. The midfield seemed to lack cohesion and there were a number of occa- sions when the defence was caught at sixes and sevens. Few of the Exeter players came out of the game with much credit, although Peter Hatch and John Delve both worked tirelessly in an effort to tran- sform City's performance into something more than mediocre.

What a start!

But, in the end it was left to goalkeeper Vince O'Keefe to save City from complete embarrassment. Before any of his colleagues had even touched the ball, O'Keefe had to make a magnifi- cent save to keep out a fierce shot from Ray Knowles. The resultant corner was cleared to Steve Neville who carried the ball 40 yards before crossing for Ian Pearson to force an equally fine save from Goddard with a diving header. After such an explosive opening minute, the rest of the first-half proved to be something of an anti-climax. It was another 30 minutes before either goalkeeper was seriously troubled again, Goddard showing commendable skill once more with a brilliant save from a Delve shot which he could only have seen at the last minute as it pierced the defensive wall. But, that was almost the end of Exeter's attacking aspirations. For most of the first-half, Wimbledon were content to soak up what Exeter pressure there was, but after the break they began to realise that this was a game they could easily win. They pressed forward and started to expose some alarming gaps in the City defence. Alan Cork twice came close to break- ing the deadlock, one effort skimming inches wide of the post and another being hooked off the line by Hatch. O'Keefe then had to make a couple of fine saves from Paul Bowgett and John Leslie, before Steve Parsons finally put Wimbledon ahead, cleverly bouncing the ball on his foot before hitting a fierce shot into the roof of the net. Seven minutes later Leslie made it 2-0 after Cork had ripped the Exeter defence apart with a fine run. By that time Godfrey had already sent on substitute John Sims in place of Peter Rogers, but it was too late to change the sad pattern.

To make matters worse, both John Hore and Jimmy Giles were booked in the second-half by referee Leslie Burden.

Attendance: 4,051.



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