Match 20
4th November 2011
Lincoln City (h)

Exeter City 3-0 Lincoln County


EXETER CITY inflicted Lincoln's heaviest defeat of the season and zoomed up to third place In Division 4 with a sparkling performance at St James's Park on Saturday. Lincoln went into the game with the best defensive record in the division, having conceded just nine goals in their previous 14 games. But City made mincemeat of that proud boas: and Jim MeNicholDarran Rowbotham and Steve Neville scored the goals to prove it. Those well deserved strikes capped a thrilling game, marred only by a 64th minute sending off as Lincoln's frustration boiled over. They had already had three players booked when striker Paul Smith committed a crude foul on Scott Hiley and was rightly ordered off by Birmingham referee Alan Seville. That led to a touchline flare-up between the two managers. Terry Cooper leapt from the bench in outrage at the ugly tackle and Colin Murphy indulged in some histrionics by staring at his City opposite number long and hard until the referee moved in and eventually called for police presence to calm the situation Cooper admitted afterwards that he shouldn't have reacted so sharply when Hiley was scythed down not five yards from him. The City boss said "I thought it was a premeditated tackle. I know we were beat- ing them 3-0 and it was a six pointer but there wasn't any need for it. But I was wrong. I should have just stayed in the dugout because the referee did his job. Their manager might have thought I tried to get the boy sent off but I offered him my hand afterwards and he didn't want to know so he can please himself. All I will say is that we had Steve Neville sent off at Lincoln last season for nоthing and we accepted it. "But that one incident doesn't take anything away from our performance We completely and totally out- played them and we fully deserved the result." Any fears that City would be suffering from post Chris Vinnicombe depression after the Exeter teenager's big money move to Glasgow Rangers on Friday were quickly dispelled. They set about Lincoln's big and resolute side right from the off with Hiley, maturing well as a full-backalso a constant attacking threat on the overlap down the right. Shaun Taylor went close with two early headers from the youngster's accurate crosses and Lincoln's busy goal-keeper Andy Gorton also had to save well from Brian McDermott after a great break from Paul Batty and Neville. Dave Walter reacted smartly to save a close range shot from Smith in the 14th minute and was grateful to see the same player miscue dreadfully from inside the six yard box from the resulting corner. But apart from a 25th minute scramble when Hiley and McNichol were forced into goal-line blocks and Wal- ter tipped a Grant Brown header over the barLincoln hardly had another first half sniff of goal as City's midfield and defence retained a tight grip on the match and their strikers kept the pressure on at the Big Bank end. The first goal came in the 19th minute and it was simplicity itself McDermott delivered a perfect corner and McNichol thumped an unstoppable header into the roof of the net. City were rampant from then on and could have been four in front by the break as Lincoln were repeatedly run ragged Richard Dryden, who slotted into Vinnicombe's left-back role admirably, should have made it two but shot into the sidenetting when Rowbotham's delightful backheel put him clear, Gorton had to save from Neville and John Schofield cleared to deny Batty from a sweeping City move that bore testimony to their supreme confidence. The inevitable happened in the 38th minute when Rowbotham made it 2-0 to take his impressive goal tally to 12 McDermott's astute and precisely weighted pass down the line invited Hiley into ano- ther telling gallop to the byline and with the defence drawn to cover the considerable threat of big Richard Young. Rowbotham appeared at the far post to head in off the luckless Gorton. Lincoln lost their discipline and began to dish out the rough stuff with Mark Cook and Darren Davis booked for malicious fouls after Rowbotham had been shown the yellow card for dissent. Back chat also earned Gorton a caution as the players left the field at half time and the keeper's annoyance was heightened when Lincoln gave away a sloppy third goal in the 57th minute

Young and Neville, an effective chalk and cheese mix of strength and subtlety, did the damage again. Powerhouse Young touched the ball through and Neville put it past the wrong-footed keeper to take his season's haul to eight goals, four in the last four games. City almost made it 4-0 within seconds as Dryden had a shot cleared off the line and Taylor hit the bar before Smith got his marching orders for a late and over-the-top challenge that left Hiley writhing. But as so often happens, a team reduced to 10 men can be more effective than at full strength and Lincoln worked hard to overcome their disadvantage with Alan Roberts drawing two smart saves from Walter and Schofield cracking a long range effort just over the bar. Lincoln's unhappy afternoon brought one more booking for Graham Bressington's foul on Young Manager Murphy refused to comment on any of the incidents.

Exeter City
Walter, Hiley, Young. McNichol, Taylor Batty Rowbotham, Bailey, McDermott, Neville (Benjamin 80) Young
Sub not used Rogers

Lincoln City
Gorton, Schofield Clarke Cook, Dava, Brown Roberta, Bressington, Sertori, Smith, Cumming (Carmachael 60)
Sub (not used ) Waitt

Scorers: McNichol, Rowbotham, Neville

Attendance: 3674



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