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MATCH REPORT

PUBLISHED
16:57 29th December 2001

Exeter City v Rochdale

City started off the game badly giving away a corner which was cleared as far as the middle of the park, the ball was slotted through to Kevin Townson who chipped the ball over the onrushing Stuart Fraser to make it one nil in the second minute. City's first effort came in the sixth minute with Ampadu striking a twenty five yarder with Edwards gathering the ball easily.  Roscoe whipped in a corner from the edge of the penalty box which was cleared out to Ampadu on the far left who then won another free kick only to be cleared easily by the Dale defence. Christian Roberts made a break on the right and played the ball onto Cronin who turned on the ball and was chopped down by the Rochdale defence only for some very strong penalty claims to be waved away by the referee in the thirteenth minute.  Flack also then broke away but on trying to chip the oncoming defender to get free lost it. Since Dales early goal City have had a lot of pressure on the Rochdale goal but again can't convert any of the chances that we are creating.  Our best chance of the afternoon came in the twenty fifth minute when Steve Flack controlled the ball beautifully on his chest only to see his control just let him down and the ball just ran ahead of him to the keeper. In the twenty eighth minute Flack was put clear after City seized the opportunity to take a very quick free kick, unfortunately Flacks resulting lob into an open net drifted agonisingly over the bar.  A few minutes later a bad back pass took a bobble and Banks cleared just.  The throw came out to Roscoe who struck from the edge of the box to see his shot superbly saved by Banks to the safety of a corner. Thirty five minutes now gone and once again Flack having another effort to pull the scores level, Roberts played the ball to McConnell on the overlap who whipped in the ball for Flack to glance a header over the crossbar.  Roscoe finally attempted a shot from another free kick on the edge of the area, but again the shot was high. City go into the break a goal to the worse but if they can get the equaliser you can see the floodgates opening.  So far all of the play is Exeter with Rochdale only able to muster up the occasional attack. Second Half Patrick McCourt injured himself early in the second and was replaced by Paul Ware. City's first opportunity came when a throw was played to Tomlinson whose snapshot was gathered by Banks.  Roberts then proceeded to make a flying run down the right past most of the Rochdale team but he got ahead of himself and the ball ran out for a goal kick. From a free kick that went high Roberts struck a thunderous effort that ricocheted off of a Rochdale defender that was sneaking into the corner before Banks pulled off another remarkable one handed save. City finally managed to pull back the much deserved goal when a corner was palmed out to Alex Watson who smashed the ball on the volley past several players into the back of the net in the sixty second minute. The goal seemed to spark Rochdale into life again with Paul Ware somehow squeezing the ball under the oncoming Stuart Fraser only to see his effort rebound of off the post to be cleared to safety by the City defence. In the seventieth minute from another corner Watson almost gave City the lead when he picked up the ball on the edge of the box only to see his shot gathered by Banks on the line.  Roberts charged down a tackle and as he was chasing the ball down he was sliced down by Dales McCauley who earnt himself a booking for the challenge.  City head into the final twenty minutes firmly in control and fully expecting to get another goal. Whitworth was caught full in a face by the boot of Townson and had to be replace by Mark Burrows in the seventy fifth minute.  In the eightieth minute Tomlinson also came off to be replaced by Paul Read.   A lot of dodgy decisions were going against City in the final few minutes and John Cornforth expressed his views and ended up being asked to leave the dug out area. For all of City's efforts in the last ten minutes the winning goal would not quite come and City finish the day having to make do with sharing the points.
    Data provided by Press Association