City stand and deliver at Carlisle

PUBLISHED: 10:00 28 August 2009 | UPDATED: 10:07 18 June 2010

I m Gonna Be (500 Miles) the title of a popular song written and performed by the Scottish band, The Proclaimers, would have been an appropriate song for the coach, as Exeter City fans left Sidmouth last Saturday on their long trip to Carlisle.

I'm Gonna Be (500 Miles)" the title of a popular song written and performed by the Scottish band, The Proclaimers, would have been an appropriate song for the coach, as Exeter City fans left Sidmouth last Saturday on their long trip to Carlisle.

If not actually geographically absolutely correct, at least they were heading in the direction of Scotland and the return journey from our home town is around the 700 miles.

The Grecian fans were, of course, travelling in hope for at least a draw, or for the true believers, a win at Brunton Park. It was always going to be a tough one though, as Carlisle, since the promotion to League One in the 2006/7 season, finished eighth in that season, and in the following one lost out to Leeds in the League One playoffs after ending the campaign in fourth place.

As it turned out, the Grecians came away with the full three points and their first win of the season. Some would say it was a "bang to rights case" of highway robbery as City grabbed an unlikely winner from the penalty spot after being under fire for much of the game, and I, for one, would not disagree with them.

City fought and defended their cause like latter-day highwaymen and, in footballing terms, truly earned the spoils of battle.

There were no shillings or even sovereigns taken, but the three points and a first win of the campaign at Brunton Park were like taking the horse and carriage as well as the money!

There is little doubt that, on reflection, it could also be described as a professional away performance, but, if you were a Carlisle fan, then you simply couldn't understand how they got nothing from the game.

As one Carlisle supporter said "We utterly dominated the game from start to finish, created 20 or 30 good opportunities, of which five were clear cut chances, hit the woodwork, and had three cleared off the line."

City were under the cosh for certain periods, but defended well, and, at times, simply scrambled the ball away. Their reward for resilience came when they grabbed lead against the run of play in the 73rd minute.

Stewart was tripped by goalkeeper Lenny Pidgeley as he ran onto Sercombe's through ball. A cheeky penalty conversion gave Marcus Stewart his 250th career goal. In summary, one shot on target and one goal was enough to hand the Grecians their first away win.

This weekend it's back to St James Park where MK Dons are the visitors. Marked down for play-off potential, and given the form of MK Dons over the last couple of seasons, this will be another tough game.

MK Dons were rebranded and, some would say sold out after Wimbledon, who were founding members of the new Premier League, went into administration and, with the subsequent sale of many players, the club was relegated to League One.

With Paul Ince in his second spell in the MK Dons' manager's chair the team are again becoming a force to be reckoned with. Last Saturday, they beat top of the table Colchester Utd, leaving them undefeated in the league.

A home win would consolidate Exeter's' position and, as the Carlisle result showed, anything can happen. There is no doubt that the manager and the team are still finding their feet following promotion and I guess the big question this weekend is will they be able to secure that first home win of the season?

For me a polished win would be ideal, but I would also take a repeat "smash and grab."

Also, this Saturday morning, Exeter under-18s are playing Torquay at the Cat and Fiddle training ground, kick off 11am. Please go along and support our very talented youngsters. It would be great to see both the under-18s and the first team win this weekend. Come on you reds.

Check out the website http://www.eastdevongrecians.com


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