Blooded young players
If the prospect of travelling to Huddersfield, a team which is pushing for automatic promotion wasn’t enough to fill the minds of the players and fans alike, the news that a new management team of Simon Grayson, Glynn Snodin and Ian Miller had just joined the club from Leeds United, was probably not the news we wanted to hear, writes Gareth Hughes.
Their record at this level speaks for itself -two teams managed, two promotions! This is football however, and the gap between the haves and the have-nots seemingly continues regardless of news of teams who continue to spend too much and go to the wall. Of course we have a manager who has managed two teams, and has enjoyed promotions with Team Bath and Exeter City.
Last weekend City were looking to build on recent vital home wins over Sheffield Wednesday and Bury, whilst also seeking to claim only their third away win of the season. The Terriers came into this game without a win in three games.
A goal in each half helped Huddersfield to three points in what was Tisdale's 300th game in charge of the Grecians. The goals were scored firstly by McCombe who guided in a header from a free kick given away by James Dunne and secondly by English football's top goal scorer Jordan Rhodes who fired home his 30th of the season with five minutes to go, killing off Grecian hopes.
It certainly was not all one way though and the Grecians, who often had all 11 men behind the ball, did have chances. Skipper David Noble drilled a long-range free-kick wide just 90 seconds in while a vital block was made to thwart Nardiello as he shot from Taylor’s pass a minute later. Alex Smithies had to be alert to gather Liam Sercombe’s snap shot on 10 minutes, and the Town keeper then beat away a fizzing effort from former Barnsley man Nardiello on 27 minutes. City by all accounts put in a dogged performance and this included 19-year-old Aaron Dawson making his City debut at right-back in place of Steve Tully, out with a broken hand. Paul Tisdale commented "I'm very disappointed that we played as well as we did and we didn't get anything from it. To play the way we did required a huge application and focus. Although we lost today, it's a valuable step forward for the young players. Aaron did extremely well. We had a set up which enabled him to focus on just defending, his game wasn't diluted with attacking and certain nuances that you'd normally expect of a right back.
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"We continue to blood our young players. We don't go out and get a loan player from another club, we don't spend money on players, we play our own players and although we've lost, it's a valuable step forward for Aaron Dawson. We're adding value all the time, even though there's no points to show for it," Tisdale said.
A great effort and still lots of positives from the manager. Andy Griffiths a local fan, involved in youth football in Sidmouth, also found the positives in that there are still enough matches to go to make a difference and get to a position of safety. This weekend it’s the turn of Stevenage to visit St James’s. Interestingly they played Huddersfield on Tuesday night and managed a 2-2 draw, having lost the previous Saturday to Charlton. With this result Stevenage now find themselves in a playoff position.
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So it’s all to play for and ever more reasons to support the Grecians, a club owned and run by its fans. Come on you reds, another home win please.