Match 32
27th January 1973
Football League
Exeter v Workington

27th January 1973
Football League
Exeter 4-2 Workington


EVERY GOOD STORY, they say, should have a beginning, a middle, and an end. The tale of this match certainly followed that dictum. For promotion-pressing Exeter it was a good beginning, a mediocre and slightly anxious middle, and a happy ending-one that not even an 89th-minute Workington goal could spoil. So the unbeaten home record remains as yet untouched, and the prospects of a higher division of football in the autumn, are still gleaming bright. This was a good win for Exeter in that after being given a rude shock they still managed by gritty determination to recover their composure, get back on top, and end by playing the same crisply confident football with which they had opened the match. And that opening was very good. Exeter made the pieces fix like the simplest of jigsaw puzzles, but it made a handsome picture of fast moving soccer as everyone wants to see it played. Workington reeled under the steady and systematic series of raids Exeter were mounting. The quality of their football in these opening stages was certainly such as to make their supporters glow with the relish of anticipated success. With Exeter in this form a goal must surely follow soon, and it did. Jimmy Blain fed Tony Scott, who had switched to the right wing, and once again his cross was a combination of perfect accuracy and timing. As the ball seemed to hang in the air, Dick Plumb was already running in hard and fast. He met the ball superbly and his header had the pace of a well-taken shot, and it fairly streaked into the net.

Surely, thought the fans, only a harvest of goals could follow some thorough preparation of the ground. But instead Exeter were hit by a sudden blight. Workington's Jim Martin escaped in a fast raid and he swept a cross into the middle. Alan Tyrer, Workington,'s midfield general, flicked it on to big John Rowlands, who took his shot with judicious care, and Workington were back on terms. It was almost in that precise moment that the purring smoothness of a beautifully-tuned Exeter engine, started to splutter and cough, as if it had just run out of petrol. Where there had been confidence before, there was now confusion. Passes started to go astray and the pattern fell apart. At the same time, Workington, sensing they had, at any rate, put a temporary brake on Exeter's progress, made their move to cash in on the in fortunes. But as it turned out, Workington could not take complete control. Exeter might have lost their rhythm, but they had not forgotten the melody. Slowly, but surely, Exeter started to come back, and gradually they again found the pace and purpose that had been there before. The change became goal-getting reality when Blain was pulled down in the penalty area in the 70th minute. Fred Binney took the kick and made no mistake. Workington answered by raiding smartly, and Rowlands fired a tremendous shot at goal. Bob Wilson was on the spot, and pushed the ball against the crossbar with a spectacular split-second reaction save. The ball bounced dangerously, but Mike Balson headed it away. Exeter returned to the attack immedi- ately, and set up two more quick goals. In the 79th minute a massive clearance by Wingate was chased by the irrepressible Binney. He caught up with the ball, banged over a cross, and Plumb again flung himself at the ball, reaching it with his head to score his second goal. Four minutes later a Scott corner was helped on by Balson and Binney was able to head in Exeter's fourth and collect his 19th goal of the season. It was the end of the match, but not of the scoring. Virtually on time, Binney pushed a pass-back at Wilson, but Martin intercepted and was able to round the Exeter goalkeeper and score.

Attendance: 6,892.

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