“Don’t be pushed by your dreams.
Be led by your dreams.” Ralph Waldo Emerson
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of Trevor Howard, Stringer, Steve Fallon and Smith. Ahead of them was a blend of schemers and strikers featuring Spriggs, Jon Cozens, Ian Buckley, Finney, Sweetzer and Biley. There was no room in the starting line-up for Morgan, but he was destined to play a huge role in the day’s events. The Abbey was rocking that Saturday, although the official attendance of 8,741 was, surprisingly given how much was at stake, almost a thousand down on the figure for the previous Tuesday’s 1-0 win over the Welsh championselect. United were entitled to look back with satisfaction at a season in which they’d lost just one home match and drawn only three. But they started nervously and ceded control to Exeter, whose Cambridge-born keeper Richard Key had a memorable first half. He would have cause to recall the second period with a shudder. United seemed more relaxed after the break but were forced to rethink when, first, Grecians striker Keith Bowker – who had played in black and amber the previous season – shot them ahead in the 62nd minute and then the injured Spriggs retired. His replacement was on a mission. Morgan’s first meaningful actions, as a high ball dropped into the box, were to smash Key into the net and then provide ref Stephen Bates with his name. ‘I had to make my presence felt up front,’ the Belfast-born wrecking ball explained later. ‘He was coming out, so I had to go in.’ The shaken keeper was understandably deprived of a little confidence, and he stayed firmly on his line as, 17 minutes from the end, another cross came in and Finney headed it home. He did make an effort, with three minutes left, to get to a Cozens corner, but it wasn’t nearly as effective as Fallon’s tremendous leap. In went the defender’s header to make the result 2-1 and cue the celebrations. ‘Magic!’ said the goalscorer. Key’s post-match comments were not recorded, but his thinking was evidently along the lines of ‘You have to get back on the horse that threw you.’ Preparing himself mentally for the task of facing Morgan in training, he signed for the U’s in time for the following season.
[Now that was a great season, wonderful players, great hair styles and a proper kit. Some reasonable music around too. I love nostalgia. Ed]