City’s ‘disastrous defending’

Quite rightly City fans have been enjoying a good run of form and, on reflection, future hopes were based on a form of indulgent euphoric optimism, after they overcame Tranmere Rovers two weeks ago, having dealt out a 3-0 drubbing at St James Park, writes Gareth Hughes.

With a two-week break behind them, and a more or less fit squad facing Leyton Orient, a team one place below them in the table, who had only lost one game in the last 10, it was the “O”s who turned in three goals without reply against an insipid Grecian side.

With the three goals coming in the last 25 minutes of the game, and two of them penalties, there was not much to cheer for the 678 travelling fans. On the balance of views, including those of manager Paul Tisdale, it was deserved result, and in simple terms disappointing. But the Grecians can consider themselves unlucky not to have gone one up within two minutes of the restart of the second half when only the post and a fantastic save from Leyton's keeper Lee Butcher kept out a combination of a Liam Sercombe shot and a Jake Taylor follow up which was cleared off the line. That would have made it 1-0 and the assumption is of course that City would have taken confidence and got hold of the game. Sadly none of it was meant to be, and there wasn't much more to shout about after that and the team allowed the game to slip away.

The three goals conceded in the last 25 minutes included two penalties. City protested over the first penalty, which to Grecian eyes was incorrectly given when the ball struck the defender Troy Archibald Henville who had his arms rigid by his side. As it was, after later first tripping and then almost wrestling an attacker to the ground the same player, who gave away another penalty which wrapped up the game. The result helped Orient to the biggest league win of the season and moved them above City in the league leaving the Grecians in 18th position.

Manger Paul Tisdale summed it up: "The players are all complaining about the first penalty, but then we got very spread out. We had no real flow, we didn't find our lines, our pattern or our purpose. The score line probably tells everything. Disastrous defending.

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"I am very disappointed with the result. The performance wasn't the best and we didn't do the basics well enough. They looked a good side for the last 15 minutes and the score line probably tells everything. They were worthy winners."

On Saturday there is a chance to put things right, and those fans not scouring the shops for last minute Christmas presents will be looking for their own, as they cheer the Grecians on against visitors Scunthorpe United. A home win is needed to regain the momentum. Scunthorpe have a run of poor form winning their last game against Tranmere on October 29, and with the previous six games netting them just one point, this game must be one of the most winnable to date for Exeter City. Not quite a must win game, but either way the result may well set the scene for the festive programme. Come on your Reds!

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?The Christmas calendar includes a Boxing Day away game at Wycombe, and if you fancy the trip the East Devon Grecians are running a coach. Please phone Di Lee on 577567. On Saturday, December 31, the Grecians are away at Colchester. The next home game is Jan 2 with local rivals Yeovil being the visitors.

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