Friday, November 9, 2012
If Exeter City management and fans could have chosen a team to play in the first round of the FA Cup it would definitely not have been Bury FC, writes Gareth Hughes.
The Grecians had been drawn against the Shakers in 2007 and 2010 and lost both games, ending any dreams of cup glory. As it was then, it very unfortunately was again, and last weekend City travelled to Gigg Lane and the hoped for cup run ended as it had in those previous games as the Grecians crashed out of the competition 1-0. Notwithstanding the loss of finance for not progressing to the 2nd round of the competition, the opportunity was also lost to reverse a horrible run of form which includes only one win in nine games scoring just one goal in six games.
With fans’ favourite Alan Gow fit and in the starting XI there was hope that the distraction of a cup game would mark a change of fortune for the team’s recent run of form ahead of another important league home game on Tuesday against AFC Wimbledon. It was not to be, and this was another frustrating performance with Bury dominating the first 45 minutes where they scored the only goal of the game in the 35th minute. Again it was a headed goal from a set piece and, from the corner, Bury’s veteran centre-back Efe Sodje rose unchallenged to score.
Despite the horrendous issue of another goal conceded form a set piece, by all accounts the lead was deserved and, as in recent games, set the scene for another self-inflicted defeat and also third cup exit this season.
As is their way, City made more of the game in the second half and upped their effort and, despite the sending off in the 60th minute of the Bury goal scorer for his second bookable offence, the Grecians could not make the extra man count and level the score. Alan Gow proved a constant threat, Liam Sercombe came close with a blocked shot, Substitute John O’Flynn blasted the ball over the bar from close range, and the Shakers had to defend for their lives in the closing stages as City continued to press forward, only to miss the target or fail to beat Bury stopper Trevor Carson. After the game a very frustrated Paul Tisdale commented: “How we didn’t get a goal I don’t know. I’m very disappointed. It’s hard to pick fault with anything we did in the second half - they played with a lot of freedom and a lot of fight”
With that behind us it was back to league action on Tuesday with the visitors AFC Wimbledon who, on their travels had played seven times, winning twice, drawing once and losing four times. Thankfully City ran out 2-0 winners in a game where Wimbledon were poor and the Grecians did enough to win but were not much better in terms of quality play. Understandably, the confidence has gone from the City play, although Jamie Cureton opened the scoring for City with a composed finish just after the half-hour mark, and John O’Flynn sealed the victory with a low drive 20 minutes from time. City were definitely better value in the first half but needed the second goal to calm the nerves as they failed to dominate in the second period. The win leaves them in 11th place and, bizarrely after a poor run, just one point outside the playoffs!
This Saturday it’s another home game against League 2 newcomers, Fleetwood Town. Another home win is expected!
by the City faithful, and City based on Tuesdays performance will have to up their game to deliver the expectations. Come on you Reds.