It’s not over til the final whistle
With the Grecians winning the game 2-0 with just 20 minutes to go, Rochdale, the home side, would have been relegated if they had drawn or lost.
What happened in those remaining minutes shouldn’t have happened, but the facts remain, and history will record that this is where Exeter City’s fate was sealed, and next season there will be League Two football at St James Park.
With a great 3-0 win under their belts, beating Leyton Orient last weekend, last Saturday’s match, given City’s away record was never going to be easy. Another win however at Spotland, the home of bottom- of-the-league Rochdale, could have been the turning of a proverbial footballing corner, that we have been waiting for all season. There would have at least been hope that we could have gone on and secured another season in this League. Grecian manager Paul Tisdale was left stunned: "The way we played was more top three than bottom three and all we had to do for the last 10 minutes was stand in the right place at the right time and think the right things. “We had played so well and all we needed to do was some simple things. When that happens you just need a cool head, but we found that very difficult. I'm very disappointed because we were brilliant for 80 minutes, but the result counts over 90 minutes."
City indeed looked in control after Daniel Nardiello and Liam Sercombe gave the Grecians a two goal advantage with a goal apiece in each half. Also in the first half Troy Archibald-Henville had a header cleared off the line and Exeter could have gone in at the break two up but Jake Taylor's shot hit the woodwork . Overall Exeter were coasting to victory and were building momentum for the remaining games with everything to play for up to the last game of the season. Then came the 11 minutes of madness. Nicky Adams scored from the edge of the penalty area, placing the ball low into the middle of the goal. Joe Thompson lobbed Artur Krysiak to level, before Jason Kennedy stroked the ball under the keeper for the winner.
Is it still possible to save the season? Mathematically yes, so there is still hope and with three games to go Exeter are eight points from safety with nine points left to play for. This Saturday City are home to Walsall who are also haunted by the threat of relegation. Walsall are currently 19th in the League 1 table with 46 points – eight points and four places above the Grecians. They have won two, lost eight and drawn 11 of the 21 games on their travels, scoring 21 times whilst conceding 26 goals.
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On a much more positive front Exeter have offered contracts to six youth team players, while two more have the chance to continue their development with the club. Striker Jamie Reid, winger Jake Gosling, defenders Jordan Moore-Taylor and Jacob Wannell and midfielders Jamie Micklewright, Luke Roper, Jacob Cane and Ollie Knowles will all join the Grecians' squad for pre-season training ahead of the 2012/13 season. Also the Football League Youth Alliance Cup Final between the Grecians and Doncaster Rovers has been confirmed as taking place on Tuesday, May 1, (7 pm) at St James Park.
City reached this stage after overcoming Millwall on penalties in the Southern Area Final last Wednesday after a 1-1 draw while Donny overcame Hull in the Northern Final.
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It's not over until the final whistle so let's enjoy the last three games , the last one being at home to promotion hopefuls Sheffield United. Come on you Reds!
lets finish the season as we know we can.