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Mike Ingham reports
"Exeter had their two goalkeepers to thank"
 real 28k

Saturday, 11 December, 1999, 21:41 GMT
Exeter keep romance alive

Don Hutchison tussles with Exeter's Paul Buckle

Click here for Saturday's football results.

Exeter 0-0 Everton

Football minnows Exeter earned a valuable FA Cup replay thanks to the heroics of an untested 23-year-old former electrician.

Goalkeeper Jason Matthews was called off the bench to make his senior debut for the third division side after veteran Stuart Naylor was ordered to hospital with concussion.

Naylor, who spent ten years at West Bromwich Albion, was the hero of the first half with a series of fine saves.

But Matthews proved an able deputy, rising to the biggest game of his life with a combination of talent, luck and courage.

My mind went blank when I found out I was going on I was so nervous. I'm a Tottenham fan and I was disappointed when Nick Barmby left. I couldn't believe I was on the same field as him
Stand-in goalkeeper Jason Matthews
The match displayed all the finest qualities of football's finest cup competition.

Brave Exeter, 74 places below Everton, took the fight to their Premiership visitors.

Their efforts were typified by the performance of their two goalkeepers - 14 years apart in age.

37-year-old goalkeeper Naylor deflected all Everton could throw at him during the opening 45 minutes while Matthews stood firm for the closing half.

Naylor made a series of solid saves from Scottish internationals Don Hutchison and John Collins, England U21 Francis Jeffers and Wales star Mark Pembridge to keep Exeter on level terms.

John Gittens goes head to head with Everton's David Unsworth
The finest and bravest came two minutes before the interval, when Campbell looked set to finally breach the Exeter defences.

Racing through the Grecians back-four with only Naylor to beat, the former Arsenal marksman needed only to pick his spot.

But Naylor, who had retired from the game until asked back into service by Exeter, pushed the ball wide - and was then knocked unconscious by Campebell's trailing knee.

Referee Bennett allowed play to continue despite the fact Naylor was laid prostrate some yards from his line but Exeter somehow managed to scramble the ball clear.

Naylor, revived by smelling salts, carried on for the final two minutes and a further seven minutes of first-half stoppage time - pulling off another fine save from Jeffers - but was clearly in some confusion and was ordered to hospital by Exeter's club doctor.

Full credit to them. They stuck to their task well and they deserved a replay because we didn't take our opportunities
Everton boss Walter Smith

His place was taken by 23-year-old debutant Matthews.

Matthews, who until the start of the season was working as an electrician, made his first senior appearance in the football league against the mighty Everton in front of the Match of the Day cameras.

He looked like a rabbit caught in the headlights for the opening minutes but once called into action acquitted himself admirably.

First he denied Campbell from six yards then he spread himself superbly to block a shot from Nicky Barmby, just as Everton's pressure seemed about to tell.

Exeter employed classic FA Cup underdog tactics - their 30,000 troops defending in numbers against the 19m of Blue talent while waiting for the chance of the long-ball counter-attack.

And though they were neither sophisticated nor a surprise, they frustrated the visitors without ever really threatening a goal.

England's No 1?

Not least because of the talents of young Matthews.

There was only a trace of irony when the Exeter fans greeted his splendid flying save from Campbell's powerful 65th minute point-blank header with chants of 'England's, England's No 1.'

Exeter manager Peter Fox apparently sensed an upset, for he promptly brought off 19-year-old midfielder Geoff Breslan for striker Steve Flack, a former boxer.

The switch simply opened up even more space for Everton and they began to turn the screw - but Matthews was steadfast.

He parried a header from Jeffers and then stood up to a fierce Barmby drive as Exeter began to look more and more ragged.

Exeter hung on to earn a lucrative replay, which could be worth as much as 200,000, to be played at Goodison on December 21.


Exeter: Naylor, Richardson, Dewhurst, Curran, Gittens, Power, Buckle, Rees, Breslan, Boylan, Alexander.
Subs: Flack, Holloway, McConnell, Speakman, Matthews.

Everton: Gerrard, Xavier, Weir, Dunne, Unsworth, Barmby, Hutchison, Collins, Pembridge, Campbell, Jeffers.
Subs: Cleland, Ball, Moore, Grant, Simonsen.
Referee: S Bennett (Orpington )

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Links to other FA Cup stories are at the foot of the page.