Memory Match: Exeter City 0-1 Blackpool, 1993
Matt Scrafton trawls through the archives to take a look back at a rare away win for Blackpool at Exeter City on January 30, 1993.
Dave Bamber’s birthday came 48 hours early as one of the most spectacular goals of his career gave Blackpool the rare delight of an away win.
His overhead kick in the third minute was enough to stretch the Seasiders’ revival to three wins in a row and four from their last six matches.
But while Bamber found his way onto the scoresheet for the fourth time in as many matches, the entire team played their part as Billy Ayre’s men gained only the second victory on their travels this season.
Not only did Pool defend their lead for more than 87 minutes, they created the better chances later in the match and Alan Ball’s Exeter could have had a few complaints if they had lost more heavily.
Home victories over Rotherham United and Leyton Orient earlier in the month offered Pool fans hope that they could again be watching Second Division football next season.
But the New Year revival really came of age as Ayre’s men produced a commendably solid all-round show which could hardly have contrasted more with the agonising 5-1 humiliation at Bournemouth in their previous away game.
On that day, three weeks earlier, the Seasiders’ away form really reached an all-time low as they fell to their heaviest defeat of Ayre’s time as manager.
But Pool proved in Devon that their away trips can still be fruitful as they produced a performance packed with the grit and determination which was so lacking at Bournemouth.
An away sequence up to Saturday of 10 defeats and just the one win at Chester from their opening 13 trips was dreadful to say the least.
But on this shown, there is plenty of hope that Pool can count on more than just their rapidly-improving home form to steer them to safety from relegation.
Their first double of the season was all the more satisfying because they were without one of their most consistently impressive players of the campaign, suspended midfielder Andy Gouck.
Steve Thornber successfully switched back to midfield to replace him and Jamie Murphy had an excellent match as he came in at left back.
Not only did Murphy play his part in an impressive show in defence, but he also looked in fine form going forward - and it was his free kick which led to Bamber giving Pool their dream start.
It was awarded 25 yards out for a foul on Trevor Sinclair which earned Exeter’s Scott Daniels a booking.
Murphy floated the free kick into the box, Phil Horner went up for a header and the ball broke to Bamber eight yards out. Quick as a flash, the big striker belied his height to turn an acrobatic overhead kick past former Pool loan keeper Vince O’Keefe.
Exeter couldn’t manage a single goal attempt on target all afternoon but one of their closest efforts came in the 20th minute following their third corner.
Matt Dickins in the Blackpool goal misjudged John Hodge’s kick from the right and Steve Moran at the far post aimed a downward header at goal.
But it bounced over the bar and within a couple of minutes, the Seasiders went desperately close at the other end to adding to their tally.
Grant Leitch crossed from the right and Bamber had a free header 12 yards out but he put it wide of the right-hand post.
Five minutes later, a surging run down the left by Murphy ended with O’Keefe blocking the full back’s low shot with his legs.
In the 31st minute, Sinclair put a diagonal shot from the edge of the box just wide of the left-hand post following a pass by Murphy.
A minute before the break, a neat through ball by Bamber set Sinclair free but the young Pool striker was penalised for a foul as he battled to get past his marker.
Pool continued to dominate after the break and their best chance of the second half came on the hour.
Leitch put over a low cross from the right and Thornber did well to turn and put in a low shot only to see it blocked by home defender Scott Hiley.
Exeter had their own best chances of the second period soon after that. Moran put a header wide from a Hiley cross and a couple of minutes later saw a header turned away for a corner by Gary Briggs after former Preston striker Ronnie Jepson had touched on a cross by Andy Cook.
But Pool comfortably held onto their lead, restricted Exeter to no real threats after that and could have added to their lead five minutes from time.
Sinclair put Bamber through 20 yards from goal but the striker’s attempt at his second of the game ended up going over the bar.
Blackpool: Dickins, Davies. Thornber, Horner, Briggs, Gore, Leitch, Sinclair, Bamber, Murphy, Eyres
Subs: Bonner, Burgess