Match 20
30th October 1979
Football League Cup Round 4
Liverpool (a)

By Martyn Dean

THE LIVERPOOL machine which has steamrollered so many much bigger clubs aside in the past, finally flattened Exeter City's League Cup hopes at Anfield last night. But their ride into the fifth round of the competition was anything but smooth as City performed with a combination of courage and sheer hard work which for the first hour of the match threatened to throw the mighty First Division side off the victory road. Although they were eventually beaten 2-0, the thousands of fans who followed Exeter to the Mecca of British football had every reason to be proud of their team. There was certainly no doubt that City had earned the standing ovation they received from the appreciative Liverpool crowd of 21019 at the end of a magnificent cup-tie. In the end it was the sledgehammer directness of Liverpool's super substitute David Fairclough which finally cracked Exeter's tough nut of resistance.
Taken ill
Fairclough came on as a second half replacement for Kenny Dalglish, who was taken ill, and proceeded to change the course of the game with two fine goals. To be fair, he would probably never have scored the second in the dying seconds had Exeter not been. pushing forward in search of an equaliser, but had it not been for his efforts, the League champions would. almost certainly have been travelling to Exeter for a replay next week. But if flame-haired Fairclough was Liverpool's hero, City had their own saviour in the form of goalkeeper Vince O'Keefe. On last night's performance it was unbelievable that only a week ago manager Brian Godfrey was talking of dropping him. O'Keefe more than rose to the occasion. He dived, leapt and stretched to it as well. He made two superb saves from Dalglish in the first half, but that was really only a taste of what was to come.
Drew applause
As Liverpool put Exeter under almost relentless pressure in the closing half hour. O'Keefe turned on a breathtaking display which drew applause from his England counterpart Ray Clemence at the other end. His positioning and handling was immaculate. throughout, but the most memorable moments in a superb all-round performance were a couple of saves from David Johnson. and another from Jimmy Case which undoubtedly made the difference between humiliation and respectability as far as the final scoreline concerned. O'Keefe found able allies all round him, but none stood out more than Jimmy Giles, who for most of the match was literally head and shoulders above the rest. Liverpool's strange insistence on firing high balls into the middle provided Giles with the perfect stage to display his mature talents and he made sure that he stole the scene with some superb defensive heading. Tony Mitchell did such an effective job on an admittedly unfit Dalglish in the first half that apart from the two efforts O'Keefe smothered, Liverpool posed few threats to Exeter's strong defensive barrier.
City's undoing
Case warned City of the dangers of complacency with a volley which thundered against the crossbar three minutes before half-time. but it was the introduction of Fairclough which proved to be Exeter's undoing. His willingness to run at the defence instead of trying to pump the ball over it, caused all sorts of problems. And it really came as no surprise when he broke the deadlock in the 62nd minute. For once Alan Kennedy's I cross eluded all Exeter's eager heads as Fairclough climbed powerfully at the far post to force the ball over the line and shatter City's dreams. It was the signal for Liverpool to begin their familiar onslaught and there were long periods when. Exeter were virtually prisoners in their own penalty area. In one incredible scramble, O'Keefe made a blinding save from Case, Peter Hatch headed off the line from Fairclough, and Johnson nodded the ball against the post only for it to rebound. harmlessly into the arms of O'Keefe. But City somehow. survived and when Peter Rogers was introduced as a 76th minute substitute for Dick Forbes in a last ditch gamble by Godfrey, they even managed to push forward. Exeter's failing throughout the match. however, had been their inability to get the ball into the Liverpool penalty area. Ian Pearson did manage to put the ball in the net after the referee had blown for offside and Steve Neville almost caught Clemence. napping with a shot which nearly slipped through his hands, but too often the City winger was guilty of squandering good possession. And with the seconds. ticking away, Exeter were made to pay for their failings up front as Liverpool counter-attacked with stunning speed. Before City's defence. could regroup, Johnson had fed the ball inside for Fairclough to slot home his second goal with almost nonchalent ease.

Credit to Exeter from Bob Paisley

LIVERPOOL manager Bob Paisley was full of praise for Exeter City after their brave performance at Anfield last night.
"I do not want to comment on our own performance, but all credit to Exeter, I thought they did extremely well," he said. "I always expected it to be hard. If you sent a team of girls up here, we would somehow manage to make it difficult for ourselves." Paisley was also extremely impressed with City's goalkeeper Vince O'Keefe. "I thought he magnificent," he said. was "Somebody said beforehand that he couldn't play, but he was as good as any goalkeeper who has been here this season."
The Liverpool manager confirmed that he would have sent on matchwinning substitute David Fairclough at half-time even if Kenny Dalglish had not gone down. with suspected flu. "I was going to put all the players in the bath at half-time and the one who could not swim was coming off," he joked.
Exeter's manager Brian Godfrey also felt that the introduction of Fairclough had proved to be a turning point. "It was a pity he had to come on, complained Godfrey. "He gave them a couple of extra inches which made all the difference." Godfrey was justly proud of his team's magnificent all round performance. "We were playing against a First Division side and there are plenty of teams who come here and do not do as well as we did. "I just hope we can carry the spirit we showed tonight into our League games. We won't be playing Liverpool every week.



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