Exmouth Town latest - a chat with assistant manager Andy Rawlings

Exmouth Town at home to Barnstaple in a FA Cup game. Ref exsp 33 19TI 0143. Picture: Terry Ife

Exmouth Town at home to Barnstaple in a FA Cup game. Ref exsp 33 19TI 0143. Picture: Terry Ife - Credit: Archant

Here we have a chat with Exmouth Town assistant manager Andy Rawlings.

Exmouth Town suffered a second successive 2-0 defeat when beaten by Southern League Melksham Town on Saturday in the FA Cup.

The cup exit came hot on the heels of a 2-0 midweek reversal at Parkway.

Speaking about both games, Town assistant manager Andy Rawlings said: “We are having to come to terms right now with the seriously fine margins that exist in the game.

“Sometimes, when everything is going your way, you get the little things go in your favour that can, at the end of 90 minutes, make all the difference.”

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He continued: “Take the game at Parkway, we were their equal for long periods and you could sense the relief their dugout felt when they netted the second goal to effectively ‘kill us off’.

“On Saturday we were left feeling disappointed and frustrated and much of that was aimed towards the match officials for some very strange decision making.

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“They [Melksham] slowed the game down at every opportunity – and, while that’s not illegal, you’d like to think the match official would be strong with them and get them to ‘get on with it’. We also felt very aggrieved that the opening goal had a huge dollop of off-side about it.

“That said, we are where we are and we have now suffered back-to-back 2-0 defeats.

“Now, we can do either of two things. We can go on feeling sorry for ourselves and run the risk of letting this season slip away – even if it’s only the opening weeks of the campaign - or, we can, and this is what I am sure our lads will opt for, roll our sleeves up, get back on the horse, as they say, and look to put together another superb unbeaten home run.”

Speaking more on the two performances against Parkway and Melksham, the Town number two said: “Parkway deserved to win, but I am not so sure there was genuinely a two-goal difference between the teams and the Melksham defeat left us feeling that if we could have another crack at them, we’d probably be able to reverse the result

“Now, when I say that I am not being flippant, nor am I looking to be disrespectful to Melksham, but we genuinely felt when the dust had settled on the 90 or so minutes of action on Saturday that, despite them playing at a higher level, there was precious little between the teams in terms of ability and performance.”

There is an area of the Town game that Rawlings recognises is in need of strengthening.

He explained saying: “It’s in midfield where we are currently missing some much-needed experience.

“Now that’s not meant to take anything away from the lads doing the midfield jobs right now, but what we lack is that experienced head in the engine room. Look, we have lost the services since last year of then likes of ‘Rico’ [Karl Rickard], Adam [Billcock], Jimmy [Hynds] and James [Richards] - that’s a full complement of midfield players with a few years of experience between them and we are keen to look at what is available with regard to bringing in an experienced midfield player just to help our younger lads.”

Specifically, on Karl Rickard, the Town number two said: “It’s great to learn that he has now had his operation and so the long road to recovery is one ‘Rico’ is starting out on. Do we miss him? Of course, we do, his presence was always felt on and off the pitch and you really cannot make up that sort of loss overnight.

“It goes without saying, and I know I can speak for players and management, that we all wish Rico the very best for a speedy recovery and look forward to eventually seeing him back on the park with us.”

The Town number two also had high praise for another superb Southern Road turnout.

Indeed, the club’s 50/50 draw master-minded by Martin Cook, who has been able to call on the services of a grand number of club volunteers, on Saturday, was able to offer up prize’s of £100 and £50!

Rawlings says; “The atmosphere created by another wonderful Southern Road turnout really is something we draw great strength from.

“Goodness knows what the atmosphere would have been like post-match had we got the result we really wanted to serve up for the supporters.”

Finally, to team news ahead of Wednesday night’s visit of Tavistock.

Rawlings says: “We picked up no new injury woes in the FA Cup defeat and we did manage to get Dean [Billingsley] onto the pitch for the last 10 on Saturday so that’s a big 1-0 minutes for him as we nurture him back to full match fitness. He will be again involved against Tavistock.”

Town’s Wednesday night meeting with Tavistock kicks-off at 7.30pm while Saturday’s big FA vase Southern Road tie against Cornish side Mousehole, kicks-off at 3pm.

Supporters are reminded, ahead of both games, of the need to get to Southern Road earlier than usual so as to allow for the track-and-trace procedure to be carries out.

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