Goals start to arrive
Last Saturday Bury FC were the visitors to St James Park, and, for a very pleasant change, it was the Shakers who were left shaking in their boots as Exeter City got the game off to a flying start, writes Gareth Hughes.
Bury found themselves 2-0 down within the first eight minutes and were lucky not to go further behind after Grecians’ substitute Liam Sercombe’s shot rebounded off the underside of the crossbar and, possibly, over the Bury goal-line. The officials, however, waved play on. The first goal came from Exeter’s first corner and it was Scot Bennett who rose unchallenged and rattled the post with a header before Troy Archibald-Henville pounced to open the scoring in the fifth minute. Two minutes later Bury’s Efe Sodje felled Exeter danger man Jake Taylor in the penalty area and former Bury loanee David Nardiello hammered home the spot kick.
The previous weekend the Grecians had taken all three points off high flying Sheffield Wednesday and for the City faithful of just over 4,000 home fans, this was payback time for recent barren times in front of goal. The mid week 2-1 defeat away to Notts County now seemed like a minor blip with the two goals given away with individual errors and a very poor first half performance.
So with a 2-0 advantage in just under 10 minutes how would City deal with the rest of the game? As one would expect Bury were keen to redress their poor start and the pressure was on City as the Shakers started to get their act together, and looked dangerous, particularly from corners.
The pressure told on the half hour mark and Peter Sweeney for Bury swung one in and Mark Hughes headed the ball across the face of goal for Sodje to plant his header onto the bar before David Amoo swooped on the rebound to pull one back for Bury. Suddenly City fans were feeling less confident despite their 2-1 lead, half time seemed an eternity away. Bury continued to push and probe and in doing so left themselves exposed. With five minutes to go to the break, the ever-impressive and fans’ favourite Jake Taylor raced down the right to provide the perfect cross for Richard Logan to head home and put the Grecians 3-1 up at half-time.
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After changes, and no doubt strong words, Bury came out looking more purposeful and had the majority of play but City's defence was strong .The impression was that the game plan was to let Bury have the ball in the hope of catching them on the break. Jake Taylor was substituted on the advice of the team doctor and replaced by John O'Flynn. On the half hour Logan made way for Bauza. There were some signs of panic as City absorbed the pressure. Following a succession of corners late substitute Ashley Eastham flicked the ball home deep into injury time, to make it 3-2 but it was too little too late for Bury, an issue that was not lost on manager Barker. “We were the best team for 75 minutes,” he said. “But if you are 2-0 down after eight minutes – and we could have been 4-0 after 15 – you can’t expect to recover!”
Manager Paul Tisdale gave his summary “I was delighted with the way the team started. They executed everything I asked them to do. The team moved with intensity and purpose, and we got some rewards for it. The second half showed where we haven't got our full confidence back yet, you have to earn it."
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This Saturday it's away to the Galpharm Stadium to play Huddersfield Town.
The Terriers currently occupy 4th place in the League 1 table with 55 points – 22 points and 15 places above the Grecians and they have two games in hand. They have won 9, lost 2 and drawn 5 of the 16 games on their home turf, scoring 26 times whilst conceding 15 goals. No easy games, but there are at long last some positive signs and at last we can say with a bit more confidence , come on you Reds!