Exeter – Fan’s Views

Saturday, 14 December 2002, 0:01
3 mins read

It seems an age since the last game, so it was off to Exeter for the dreaded 6 pointer. Jason Smith again out injured and with loan signings the line up changed again.

Freestone Evans, O’Leary, Tate and Howard Britton, Mumford and Phillips Wood, Murphy and Thomas

Exeter included old boys Ampadu & Thomas and with rain promised we went for the posh seats in what can only described as the quirky wooden stand.

The first half was played mostly from area to area by two poor teams who seemed to want not to lose than go for a win. Chances were few and far between as poor distribution or interceptions made it a very stop start affair with neither team on top.

Exeter did have one excellent strike on goal when from the edge of the area a player turned the defence and sent in a curling shot which with Rog well beaten luckily rebounded to safety off the post. We did have a couple of promising attacks but only one resulted in a goal chance when a cross into a sparse area fell just behind Murphy and the chance was gone.

We lost Mumford to an injury half way through the half replaced by Reid. The halftime conversation was of Exeter were there for the taking if only we could raise the tempo. How wrong could we be, as the second half saw us content to keep what we had although the weather was deteriorating with good old ‘Heavy Welsh drizzle; in our faces maybe having a baring.

Exeter seemed to sense it, and started to play with more confidence. Again, with not much goal action, the game seemed to be petering out for a goalless draw.

It was until we decided on a farcical period of play. First Tate took a free kick inside our half only to find the back of O’Leary’s head standing right in front only a few yards away. This resulted in a mad panic as Exeter attacked for the ball to be cleared towards the bye line at the edge of the area.

Ried then protected it out for a corner (if in doubt row Z). The goal itself was even more farcical. O’Leary was adjudged by the ref (who had lost control by now) to have fouled an Exeter player with a high boot, when it seemed more that the player had lowered his head to the ball. This was centre goal a yard inside the area. As the player received attention the wall duly lined up 5 yards away.

Surprise, surprise they were moved back to the full 10 yards with the ref taking an age before allowing the kick to be taken. On 73mins a low shot by Roscoe took a deflection and ended up in the corner of the net. What a comedy of errors, you wouldn’t believe it if it was written for Dream Team, this was more a nightmare.

We stared to show some urgency, but it was mostly hopeful balls forward although Britton did show some intelligent thoughts. There was no real way back with only a glancing header from Watkin (on for Murphy who had been stretchered off) our only offering. Steins replaced Wood but did not get any service to give us an insight into what he may offer us.

Player Views

Freestone – solid display and good handling in poor conditions. Did sky one drop clearance into touch right at the end for what would have been our last attack.

Evans – Caught out quite a few times, not much offered going forward

O’Leary – Although committed was off the pace

Tate – Played with confidence but was worrying at times as he showed no urgency in tackles or clearances. Did not seem to communicate with other players, relying on his undoubted skills.

Howard – as Evans Britton – very bright and lively, problem was that not many players were on his wavelength.

Mumford – not a good performance before his injury

Phillips – Huffed and puffed Wood – as Phillips, did not offer a threat.

Murphy – one some headers but needs to show more urgency in the box. Thomas – battled but like Wood no threat. Reid – Battled but again no creativity.

Watkin – Not in the game

Steins – Not on enough to comment

A few thoughts For a six pointer we didn’t seem up for it. Even allowing for the conditions and the poor referee, resulting in more yellow cards. Strangely, no segregation in the stands resulting in a very small ‘argument’ after the goal. Two coaches turned up 10 mins from half time to boost our share of the 2,600 crowd to near 600. No large abuse aimed at Lewis, although we did leave on the final whistle. Flynn has said it will go to the wire, on this performance you have to agree. A win, which was achievable, with other results going in our favour, could have bought us some leeway.

It’s going to be a very long few months. Let’s hope the loan players stay.

 

Images courtesy of Getty Images, Athena Picture Agency and Swansea City Football Club.

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