Thursday, February 16, 2012
Exeter City fans, last Saturday, witnessed a great Grecian team performance full of purpose, energy, passion, commitment and which included two stunning goals, both from free kicks taken by Billy Jones and David Noble, writes Gareth Hughes.
Never mind the visitors were high-flying Sheffield Wednesday, a club where money is not an issue, and where the players are expecting to win automatic promotion to the Championship. Never mind that City have, up to now, had a stop-start season and that the Grecians hadn't scored since the dying minutes at Chesterfield on January 7. What matters is that this was a victory to be enjoyed and the taste savoured.
Manager Paul Tisdale summed the mood of the Exeter camp after the game: "I think we've deserved something out of the ordinary because we've put so much effort into the games and got little reward from them. We were excellent today and the goals were excellent. The fact is we need three points every week and we do everything to attain them. We had a team today that all met the challenge and it was a tough day, the pressure was on. I want these players to keep playing like they did today which was whole-hearted, purposeful and together."
The game had a positive start and Exeter had the ball in the back of the net after just seven minutes but Nardiello was judged to be offside. City began to have chances, only to be denied by a strong Owls’ defensive wall. On 33 minutes a great move involving Bauza ended when the ball rolled into the path of Nardiello who had two shots superbly blocked by Wednesday defenders. A Billy Jones free-kick from the right-hand side caused havoc with the ball pinging around before being booted to safety. It was the same story two minutes later with Taylor and Bauza both hitting bodies with their efforts, the duo just couldn't get shots away as City enjoyed a great spell of pressure. At the other end the City stopper who made important saves in both halves, including from Sheffield's best chance in the first period. The ball seemed destined for the top corner but Artur Krysiak threw out his right hand to make a superb save.
In the second half The Owls continued to have the best of the ball and the pressure finally told in the 66th-minute through Jermaine Johnson, when a long throw-in wasn't dealt with by the Grecians' defence and Johnson smashed home a powerful effort leaving the Krysiak no chance.
Two minutes later, it was City's turn to score and get back on level terms with a free-kick from Billy Jones, which beat the defence and Stephen Bywater in goal. The lead and the winning goal came on the 82nd minute with another dramatic goal from a free kick from David Noble. With the clock ticking down it was time, as it was in the first half, for Artur Krysiak to play his part to the full, and he saved superbly at his near post. From the resulting corner he leapt the highest to claim the ball under pressure from plenty of Wednesday bodies, including the Owls’ keeper!
The win produced a valuable three points and just as importantly produced a performance which gave every fan hope for the rest of the season.
Unfortunately, the rest of the season started on Tuesday, as City were on the road to the home of Notts County. Back-to-back wins would have been a perfect Valentine gift but, on this occasion, it was not to be as City went down 2-1.
A slip by the City keeper created the first goal when he lost his footing when dealing with a routine back header from Billy Jones. At the other end an inswinging corner was met by Scott Bennett to head home on 14 minutes. The third and winning goal came from a penalty given away by Troy Archibald Henry. The second half saw City on the ascendancy but unable to find the two goals which would have given them the back to back wins. Unfortunately Notts County held out, including the six minutes of extra time and the win gifted with two goals was a big disappointment for City supporters.
No easy games any more, but we have seen plenty to know that we can move up the league table. Another home win please. Come on you Reds!
This Saturday it’s another home game, the visitors being Bury.