Pragmatism wanted


- Credit: Archant

Last weekend when clubs the likes of Luton, Brentford and Oldham put one over Norwich, Chelsea and Liverpool in the FA Cup games, it’s generally a time for the supporter masses to celebrate their undoing, whilst the fans of the losing teams quietly move on, writes Gareth Hughes.

On Monday night, under the watchful cameras of Sky television and a crowd of 4,800, it was the turn of Torquay to pull off a surprise win and put one over their local rivals in a game won with just the one goal, which came from a penalty.

Having played out a frustrating 1-1 draw with Torquay, just 13 days ahead of this game in which both goals game from penalties, perhaps expectations were just too high, even though most fans and pundits would agree that overall City have a much better set up, and unlike Torquay are in a position to push for promotion. The reality however, is that ahead of the Monday’s game City had a poor home record and this result was the seventh home defeat in 15 games. On top of that City lined up from the start without a recognised striker, only introducing Jamie Cureton in the 70th minute for the 37-year-old’s 700th game in the English Football League, in a career that has spanned almost 20 years.

This was Torquay’s first League Two victory in seven matches. Torquay started the game brightly and played throughout with tenacity and close tackling which countered the Grecians’ close-passing game.

The only goal came from an error from City’s full back Steve Tully who gave away a soft penalty as he tracked Torquay’s Billy Bodin just inside the area but heading into a crowd of City players. Whether he clipped his heels or not the player went down and referee James Adcock was well placed to award the penalty.There is no doubt that City had their chances with Keohane, Coles and Bauza Moseley and Cureton going close. Torquay, in fairness, continued to close down the midfield breaking up City’s game plan and it was there that the battle was won.

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City lacked the width and the skills of an out-and-out striker. Both keepers played well in difficult conditions and, with a total of 14 second half corners, Exeter could not capitalise. Recent signing Mark Moseley made a good impression on the right wing and Alan Gow, with his close control skills, couldn’t find an outlet for all his fine efforts. Overall it was a frustrating game for the expectant Grecian followers and the game was lost and we have to move on to the next game.

Manager Paul Tisdale summed it up: “There’s a clear difference in the urgency at home. We’re too urgent, the players can feel urgency from the supporters. Away from home we relax and play and have a lot more composure and are a lot more patient. The criticism I have of the players is we didn’t take enough passes, didn’t slow down enough, didn’t take our time and we were too urgent to go forward. It’s not about charging forward, it s about constructive, pragmatic play and away from home we play far more pragmatically. We certainly did enough in the game to get at least a draw”

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This Saturday it’s another home game with Aldershot being the visitors. Exeter are fourth in League Two by virtue of their excellent record of nine wins from 14 and the pressure will be on for a home win. Aldershot have won just four of their games on the road and are just two places above the relegation zone. See you at the game and let’s get behind the City.

Come on you Reds!

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