Classic Match | Crewe Alexandra 2017

It’s rare for a league game at the beginning of February to be considered a classic match, but the context and events of this game made it more significant than your usual Saturday 3pm fixture.

Just two months prior this game, City had been rooted to the bottom of the table thanks to a frustrating start to the season that culminated with a 3-2 defeat at Carlisle, despite having led 2-1 at the 90 minute mark.

However, a win at Leyton Orient the following week saw City begin to rise up the table, as they went on their best run of form in decades. To add to that, David Wheeler was also in the form of his career, scoring week in week out for Paul Tisdale’s side.

Heading into the Crewe game City had equalled the 1964 promotion side with 11 games unbeaten, while Wheeler had scored in six successive league matches; levelling a club record set by Henry Poulter in the 1934, and only matched previously by Rod Williams (1937) and Alan Beer (1977).

The game got off to the perfect start for City, going in front after just eight minutes when Lloyd James searching free-kick was nodded back across goal for Jordan Moore-Taylor to poke home from close range.

After that it did not go entirely our own way, at least not to begin with. After Ollie Watkins limped off to join Reuben Reid on the treatment table, City struggled to regroup and were indebted to Christy Pym, who made an astonishing double to keep the lead intact.

Then, just two minutes later, it was 2-0 as David Wheeler headed in from close range to write his name into the history books with a club-record seven goals in seven successive matches.

Not that he was done there, as in the 68th minute he picked up a lay off from Robbie Simpson and drilled a stunning 20-yard shot into the bottom corner to make it 3-0.

The rout was completed in the 86th minute, when Lloyd James bagged the fourth with a lovely curling effort from 25 yards.

The result made it 12 games unbeaten for City, which to this day has only been bettered twice in our history (1977 & 1986), and this run of form played a key role in propelling the team towards the play-offs, where they would have the last laugh over Carlisle after all.

Final Score: ECFC 4 Crewe Alexandra 0

Exeter City: Pym, Stacey, Brown, Moore-Taylor (Croll 77), Woodman, Wheeler, James, Taylor, Harley (Grant 83) Watkins (Simpson 31), McAlinden.

Crewe Alexandra: Garratt, Turton, Ray (Bakayogo 12) Nugent, Guthrie, Cooke, Hollands (Kirk 75), Jones, Cooper, Bowery, Kiwomya (Dagnall 67).

Man of the match: David Wheeler

Attendance: 4,534

Written by: Will Barrett


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