Thursday, January 9, 2014
With Exeter City closing 2013 off with a very welcome 3-1 away win at the home of West Country rivals Torquay United there was hope that this might have been the beginning of a good run of form, which of course is much overdue, writes Gareth Hughes.
The first league game of the new year was last Saturday when Mansfield were the visitors. Whilst the result was a 1-0 defeat for the Grecians there were a lot of positives to be taken from what, strangely enough was a very enjoyable game. The defining goal was conceded on the stroke of half time in a half which both sides were roughly even. In fairness though the main difference was that Mansfield, who seemed to have fielded a team of improbable footballing giants, were able to a certain extent exert themselves over the Grecians, and control the flow of the game and probably edged the first 45 minutes. The second half however, was all about Exeter as they piled on the pressure, and equally all about how heroically the Stags defended. Tom Nichols, Liam Sercombe and Jimmy Keohane were all denied by Stags keeper Alan Marriott, with three attempts to draw level hitting the post.
Three days later there was more action at the Park when an under 21 City side played themselves into the quarter final of the Under-21 Premier League Cup, by beating Championship Blackburn Rovers 2-1 with goals from Scott Bennett and Jimmy Keohane. It was another famous night for the youngsters who in their incredible journey on route to the last eight have beaten the best of Premier sides Crystal Palace and Southampton in the nationwide competition. The City team sheet was made up of the now familiar names of Pym; Dawson, Tillson, Bennett (captain), Wannell; Wheeler, Grimes, Keohane, Gosling; Jay, Nichols. including substitutes, Hamon, Riley-Lowe, Reid, Jagger Cane, and Chamberlain, many of whom have featured in City’s first team fixtures over the last few months. An enthusiastic crowd of over 600 attended the game and witnessed the win which included City going behind in the first half, against the run of play, and comfortably winning with two quick fire goals just after the break. With all the games of the current round not all yet played, the young Grecian team will be pitched against who have already made it through to the quarter finals which include teams of the calibre of Chelsea, Newcastle United, Manchester City. Arsenal play Fulham this week and both Burnley from the Championship and Wolverhampton Wanderers from League One are already through to the next round. In last year’s Cup final Manchester United beat Tottenham Hotspur 3-2.
This Saturdays League Two game is a short trip away to Bristol Rovers who lost their last game to Rochdale and are just one place above the relegation two places. With Paul Tisdales policy of giving youth a chance some of the under 21s will feature in Saturdays game and hopefully play their part in bringing home a very much needed three points back to Devon.
More news from the East Devon Grecians includes a social evening to be held on Monday January 20, with City player Alan Gow. Anyone interested in knowing more about this can contact either Di Lee on 577567 or Gareth on 07879801477.