Thursday, March 20, 2014
Neither Exeter City or Newport County will be over the moon with the scrappy 1-1 result that was played last Sunday at the Rodney Parade, but if nothing else both will be relieved and reasonably content with the shared points, writes Gareth Hughes.
A victory for Exeter would have sent them five points clear of the relegation zone but as both clubs have each only managed to claim one win in their past 14 league outings it’s no real surprise that neither were able to force a winner.
Exeter’s fall from footballing grace has been a slow and painful decline, and, with each game that comes along, City fans will be hoping for that tiny bit of luck that will switch on the ‘form thrusters’ and boost them to safety!
With all their relegation rivals failing to win on Saturday an away win would have proven very timely and useful and unsurprisingly the game was billed as a ‘big six-pointer’. If we were hoping for a free flowing game, the state of the pitch was not a good omen and put that in the mix with the pressure each player was under to perform and not make mistakes, quickly put an end to those thoughts.
In terms of the play it was all about the second half with City taking the lead after a super cross from Ton Nichols was headed with some aplomb into the Newport goal by one of their own players to put City one up!
Unfortunately the bout of celebratory optimism lasted less than two minutes as Newport scored following a goal mouth scramble.
Overall though there were positives; Newport are a big physical side and the Grecians did well to match them. The stand-out player for Exeter was nineteen-year-old Jordan Moore-Taylor in the centre of defence gott the better of experienced strikers Chris Zebroski and Danny Crow on many occasions – including not being drawn into conceding penalties which the Newport players were clearly doing everything they could to get one.
After the game manager Paul Tisdale said: “We are disappointed that we succumbed to another goal immediately after our opener, but all things being equal, I’m pleased with how our players applied themselves. They were very focused and they covered the pitch very well, which is what you need on a day like today. We finished the game strongly once again; in the last five or ten minutes we were looking to create opportunities to score. I’m pleased today – every point is vital and there were so many good performances.”
This Saturday the Grecians are home to Fleetwood Town who are fourth in the league table and knocking on the door of an automatic promotion place. Last Saturday they saw Portsmouth off with a convincing 3-1 win. If this game is not enough to wet the footballing appetite, next Tuesday (March 25) City have an away trip to West Country rivals Plymouth. A tough couple of games, with everything to play for. Come on you Reds!