Thursday, August 14, 2014
With so much going on behind the scenes at Exeter City in the run up to the start of the season it was great to be back at St James Park for the first game, writes Gareth Hughes.
Portsmouth, promotion favourites were the visitors.
Never mind that the City chief executive had recently followed the chairman out of the door, and that there is transfer embargo, as a result of the club having to take an emergency FA loan of £100, 000, along with a sickness bug running through the camp and a couple of injuries thrown in.
So, with the first match of the season under their belts in what is already looking like what could be the toughest week of the season how did it work out? Firstly manager Paul Tisdale had to name himself with a position on the bench- but thankfully wasn’t needed as the game finished with a credible draw and Tisdale still on the touchline.
More importantly the Grecians scored the first goal on 27 minutes when striker Tom Nichols slotted the ball home from a low cross by Craig Woodman. City overall, probably edged the first half after their goal settled their nerves. Pompey were clearly give some changing room half-time direction and dominated the final 45 minutes.
Their reward came with 16 minutes remaining when a low drive across the penalty area found the corner of the net. So, all in all a great atmosphere, a crowd of 5,694, a well deserved and hard earned point, and given the circumstances solid start.
After the game Paul Tisdale commented: “We did as well as we could have expected. When you have the lead for so long, it is easy to be disappointed, but I think we should be very pleased and proud with how our team stuck together. They played and tried and committed really well.”
Championship side Bournemouth were the visitors on Tuesday for the first round of the Capital One Cup. The result was a 2-0 defeat exit from the competition. Whilst there was a large element of this being a one-sided game the Grecians put up a very spirited performance which included some great defending.
The goals came in the 54th and 74th minutes the first being an unfortunate own goal. There were opportunities for City to score but were not taken, and despite the gulf in class, if City and been able to take their chances as well as they had defended, they could have had something from the game. As City fan Graham Davies commented after the game: “In defeat they can hold their heads up high”
This Saturday Exeter’s second league game of the season is a juicy away trip down the A38 to the home of Plymouth Argyle.
The Pilgrims lost out to League Two new boys Cambridge United last weekend, and, in the week after netting three goals against Leyton Orient lost on penalties, bowing out of the Capital One competition.
Exeter’s next home game is on Saturday, August 21, against York City. We are always very keen to hear from those interested in learning more about us, and hopefully joining the East Devon Grecians. Check out our website http://www.eastdevongrecians.com/ or phone 01395 515552.