On the FA Cup trail
13:01 02 November 2012
Another 3-0 defeat at the home of Cheltenham adds to the woes of Exeter City with a record of just one win in the last eight games, writes Gareth Hughes.
For a side who made a very encouraging start to the season, City have become a team that appear out of sorts, with the defence conceding goals at the will of the opposition, with a midfield that has lost its spark and penetration, and a forward line consisting of just Jamie Cureton. This may all appear all doom and gloom but those who made the trip to Cheltenham, despite witnessing another defeat, should generally feel more positive, in the ability of the side to turn fortunes around.
In all 908 travelling fans made the journey to support the Grecians and made up just over 25 per cent of the crowd. Unfortunately, they witnessed what has been commented on as Cheltenham’s best performance of the season. It was, though, a harsh score line which did not tell the whole picture. The fact that Cheltenham’s keeper Scott Brown was awarded their Man of the Match after a series of phenomenal saves ahead of their full-back Keith Lowe who scored two of the goals gives some balance to the story of the day.
There was not too much to choose between the sides in the first half and both teams provided good entertainment and it was not evident at that time that City would be going home with their seventh defeat out of seven games played against the Robins.
It was in the second half that the Robins did the damage at the business end of the pitch in the aptly named Abbey Business Stadium. Loanee Lawson D’Ath capped his Cheltenham debut with a fine goal which was created from a fine exchange of passes with Darryl Duffy and a clinical finish put Cheltenham ahead in the 55th minute. This was compounded by right-back Keith Lowe who scored twice in the 62nd and 87th minutes both yet again from close range headers.
From a Grecian perspective the positives were that Cureton played his heart out again, the team looked in better shape and more confident when Alan Gow replaced Steve Tully and Jimmy Keohane continues to grow in confidence and influence. Artur Krysiak was not to blame for the goals and, for me, Matt Oakley was more influential in the centre of midfield.
However, there is no getting away from the fact that something has to happen to bring on changes in fortune and manager Paul Tisdale was clear in his post match observations: “It’s happened once too many times. At the end of the day we played enough football to have scored a goal, but if we can’t defend at crucial moments, it’s very disappointing. There is a lot of thinking to do after that because it’s happening too many times and it’s becoming a trend. I want to win games and I am practically minded so something has to change.”
●This weekend sees a return to action in the first round of the FA Cup and City are away to Bury who are currently in 23rd place in League One with only one home win to their name.
Strangely this is the third time in five years that the two sides have been paired with each other in the competition. Exeter have lost on their last two visits to Bury – 1-0 in a second-round encounter in December 2007 and 2-0 at the first-round stage two years ago.
Come on you Reds!