Football League Cup Round 2
28th August 1979 Doncaster Rovers Away
5th September 1979 Doncaster Rovers Home
28th August 1979
Football League Cup
2nd Round 1st Leg
Doncaster Rovers Away
Doncaster 3, Exeter 1
Report from the Daily Mirror 29/08/1979.
WINGER Darryl Pugh tormented Exeter, laying on goals for Steve Lister and Ian Nimmo. David Pullar put Exeter ahead in 16 minutes, but Keith Rip- ley equalised within a minute. Teenager Lister put Doncaster a head after 25 minutes and Nimmo headed a third soon after the break
5th September 1979
Football League Cup
2nd Round 2nd Leg
Doncaster Rovers Home
THERE have been plenty of pulsating matches in Exeter's City's 75-year history, but surely few can have been as dramatic or as action-packed as last night's League Cup tie against Doncaster Rovers. After seeming to be dead and buried, City came back to haunt Doncaster with two goals in extra time from super substitute Keith Bowker to win 5-1 on the night and 6-4 on aggregate.
However, the scoreline does scant justice to a performance which saw Exeter miss a penalty and hit the woodwork three times before hauling themselves into the third round by their bootstraps.
It was such a pity that only 3,201 people City's smallest crowd of the season were at St. James's Park to witness this famous victory. Exeter, who trailed 3-1 after the first leg, looked to have bowed out of the competition when John Dowie popped up with a 65th minute goal to put Doncaster 4-2 up in the two-leg tie.
But instead of being a killer blow, the goal served only as a signal for all hell to break loose in an incredible last 20 minutes.
With 71 minutes gone City were awarded their first penalty when Peter Rogers was pulled down by Doncaster skipper Hugh Dowd. Steve Neville stepped up to blast home the kick and put Exeter back in the game. Five minutes later, referee Tom Bune was pointing to the spot again after Billy Russell had sent Neville sprawling to end a spectacular 50-yard run by the City winger. As a manger Brian Godfrey pointed out afterwards, it would perhaps have been wiser if Neville had allowed someone else to take the penalty after such an exhausting move. But he struck the kick well enough only to see Doncaster keeper Dennis Peacock fling himself to his left to make a tremendous save. It as if City's chance had gone, particularly when Neville missed out with a header a minute or so later. But with just eight minutes to go. John Sims popped up in acres of space on the right of the penalty area to slot the ball past Peacock as coolly as he would have done in a practice game. City were not finished yet, however. They surged forward and twice hit the woodwork in a storming final five minutes. First Doncaster defender Steve Lister smacked the ball against his own upright in a desperate attempt to clear, and then Jimmy Giles, who had earlier had a header pushed against the post by Peacock, thundered another header against the crossbar. But somehow Doncaster held out to force the game into extra- time. In the middle of all the mayhem, Godfrey had made an 80th minute substitution, bringing on Keith Bowker for Phil Roberts - and it proved to be a master stroke. Having spent 10 minutes adjusting to the pace of the game, Bowker proceeded to tear Doncaster apart in the extra half-hour. With 104 minutes gone, he swept into the penalty area to head home David Pullar's corner and put City ahead on aggregate. There was a suspicion that the ball may have been deflected home by a defender, but it hardly mattered as far as Exeter's by now ecstatic fans were concerned. The away goals rule meant that Doncaster still needed to score only once to go through, but Bowker clinically killed off any hopes they might have had of a revival with another fine goal three minutes from the end. Peter Rogers somehow managed to force his weary legs along a brilliant run down the right wing before crossing for Exeter's expert finisher to lob the ball over the advancing Peacock from about 15 yards out. It rounded off a superb all-round performance by Exeter, who seemed to get better and better as the game wore on. They had put Rovers under a fair amount of pressure in the first half, but their only reward was a 25th minute goal from Peter Hatch, who hit a tremendous left foot shot into the top corner from John Delve's free kick. Manager Brian Godfrey claimed afterwards that he was more exhausted than any of the players. It was that sort of match.
Even the referee had a busy time of things, booking Doncaster's Billy Russell, John Dowie, and Dave Bentley along with City's Martyn Rogers in addition to awarding those two penalties.