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MATCH REPORT

PUBLISHED
13:48 12th May 2009

Exeter City Promoted

This only happens to other sides, right?

Paul Tisdale joined the ranks of the Grecian managers to guide City to the third tier of English football for only the 4th time in their 105 year history.

And Richard Logan has stamped his own name indelibly on City's history. After his play off semi final header last May Bank holiday, up he popped with 20 minutes to go to fire City to promotion.

Call it sentiment, call it hyperbole, but when you come from the depths of financial despair, suffer play off heartache and see teams you were on a par with competing leagues above you wonder just how you're going to do it.

Well, Tisdale, Yems, Gwinnett, Tamer James et al have done it for us. And back to back promotions too!!

Tisdale even had the nerve to change a winning formation and City lined up 4-5-1 : Jones, Tully, Archibald-Henville, Taylor, Edwards, Sercombe, Gill, Harley, Cozic, Moxey, Fleetwood. On the bench were Marriott, Seaborne, Basham, McAllister and Logan.

In the bright and breezy South Yorkshire sunshine City settled well. Chances were at a premium early on, A home shot wastfully over and Sercombe's header wide were as good as it got. On 13 minutes though City nearly conceded. As Taylor appealed for offside Broughton broke through but couldn't control his chip over Jones and Troy cleared from inside the 6 yard box.

Gill, as he has been for most of the season was looking imperious in midfield. At the halfway point of the half he outmuscled Sharps in the home defence and cut back to a lurking Fleetwood. Uncharacteristically, Fleets mishit his shot when well placed and Grecian nerves continued to jangle.

Warrington, in the Rotherham goal, soon dealt with a Taylor header before Fleetwood wastefully fired over while Cozic had made up ground superbly and was well placed centrally.

Rotherham enjoyed their best spell of the half around the 30 minute mark but without penetrating much and it was Moxey, who wriggled free at the far post and drove at Warrington who had the next chance.

Gill, after intercepting, set Harley away on the right but his cross was too far ahead of Fleetwood and drifted away for a goal kick.

As half time approached and news of other scores started fluttering around City were nearly undone by a freak goal. Rotherham's left back Green swung a cross in. The wind drifted it towards the far post and only Jones' athleticism meant he could tip it onto the bar for Edwards to knock away to safety. A close call, but half time and all to play for still.

The second half, and as you were. Half chances continued to come to either side with Green probably having the best sight of goal after cutting inside Tully, then Jones needing to be alert at the feet of Ryan Taylor after Matt Taylor's weak clearance.

But then the substitutions, and the critical point in the game. McAllister on for Cozic, Logan for Sercombe and 3-4-3 with Edwards stepping out infront of the back 3 of Tully, Troy and Taylor.

Immediately City seemed to find an extra gear. Harley and Gill pressed further forward, after not really getting much ball in the second half and on 70 minutes the former played a part in the decisive moment.

Harley played a quick corner back to Edwards. Another exchange of passes allowed Edwards to cross where Logan met the ball at the far post. Warrington was left helpless as the ball went back across him and the 2,500 Grecian, yes, that's right, 2500, went beserk.

Within 5 minutes it should and could have been all over. Taylor just flicked a header wide, then the home side were reduced to 10 men. Edwards and Fleetwood played McAllister in from 30 yards out. He outpaced the defence before shaping to shoot. As he did so Dale Tonge chopped him down. Penalty to City and red card for Tonge.

But woe for Fleetwood as he saw Warrington dive to his left to push the ball away to safety.

The final 15 minutes saw City fairly comfortable in seeing out the game. They gave up a fair amount of possession but only once did there seem to be any real threat. Basham replaced the tiring Fleetwood with 5 minutes to go and as news came through that Wycombe had lost, and Bury had gone ahead City's promotion was confirmed by the sound of Paul Taylor's whistle.

Delight, delirium, hugs and tears followed.

City players were mobbed in a running track invasion and it was a full 45 minutes before the last few left the stadium.

Well, how do you sum it up except by running out of superlatives?

It doesn't do justice to examine each player's performance this afternoon. Each one was magnificent. A clean sheet, great work rate, industry and skill in midfield and running, battling and creating chances up front.

City, we salute you.

    Data provided by Press Association