City need home wins now

Going into Tuesday evening’s home game against Wycombe it would have been good to have collected three points from Saturday’s visitors Preston North End, writes Gareth Hughes.

Unfortunately, and disappointingly, it was not to be, as Paul Tisdale's young side lost 2-1 to the Lilywhites after drawing level in the 65th minute from a Liam Sercombe strike from just outside the area. After the game, Tisdale was quite rightly keen not to criticise his extremely young team which was fielded as a result of the on-going injury problems at St James Park. After the game he commented that these were the worse injury issues he had experienced in 12 years of coaching.

The game’s first chance fell Exeter’s way in the fifth minute, Jamie Cureton getting on the end of a cross from Elliott Frear and heading over the bar from six yards. However, it was the visitors who drew first blood in the 12th minute. A low cross travelled across to the City back post where Iain Hume slid in to steer the ball over the line from five yards, his 100th league career goal. Most of the half went North Ends way, although in stoppage-time, their lead was preserved with a superb save at the near post, again from a Cureton effort. Out they came for the second half and surprisingly it was Exeter who came out the quickest and nearly scored an equaliser with the half only one minute old.

Jake Taylor quickly took a free kick just outside the box, passed to Cureton, who with the defenders daydreaming, moved possession on to John O'Flynn who from five yards out fired high only to see the effort clip the bar. This was a huge let off for Preston who continued to press throughout the half.

Indeed after Sercombe's 25 yard goal strike City keeper Krysiak’s poor game was complete when Preston took the lead in the 84th minute. A long ball was played forward to Hume who easily beat the erratic and outrushing keeper to calmly roll the ball home from 15 yards, making it a double for him and his team.

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?In addition to Jonathon Fortune and Pat Baldwin arriving at the club, City have also announced the loan signing of Fulham striker Lauri Dalla Valle who was be available for the club's clash with Wycombe. The 20-year-old Finland Under 21 international has made two appearances for Fulham this season and recently spent a spell on loan at Dundee United.

?Despite being firmly rooted to the foot of the table a few short weeks ago, Wycombe had also ventured very successfully into the loan market. Ahead of Tuesday’s game they occupied 21st place in the league, two points and two places above the Grecians and came to St James Park on a high following their 4-1 trouncing of Bury at Gigg Lane.

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Well they also left on a high, leaving St James Park with three huge points as they beat City 3-1. Watching two teams fighting for their lives in the relegation zone is never easy and the quality of football was somewhat stilted. Overall Wycombe had the edge.

?Eight games remain, and City need 50 points to be safe. With just 34 points in the bag, they need at least five wins.

There is no doubting how difficult this will be and, as ever, the manager, team and fans need to remain positive.

Saturday takes the team to Tranmere and what a great place to kick off the revival. Come on you Reds! Up the league we must go!

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