We barely have chance to celebrate our victory over Sheffield United before we’re back in action.
Date: Tuesday 27th September 2016
Opponent: Norwich City (19th)
Venue: Carrow Road
Odds: Norwich City=7/2, Draw=9/4, Exeter City=4/6
Weather: Strong wind, 12C.
Referee: Mr. Anthony Taylor
Despite being the away side, we start well and in the sixth minute, Jonny Hayes has a go from 20 yards. Walker is able to keep the ball out, but not keep hold of it; his defence bale him out and clear the ball to safety. When Hayes shoots from the same distance four minutes later, Walker is able to hold onto the ball. He releases the ball quickly and a ball gets played over the top of our defence. Jagos Vukovic is tracking back, but misses a header back to Jonathan Bond. Tahar is alert and seizes the chance, scoring from 18 yards under no pressure. A setback, but we continue to press. The fourteenth minute sees Dacian Varga cross from the left. Walker gets to the ball first, but spills it and Norwich clear for a throw. The Norwich defence need to be alert three minutes later when Walker parries again, this time from Federico Cenci from 16 yards after Bertin Matip had played him in. Varga puts Cenci clean through on goal in the 26th minute. Halford brings him down and Mr. Taylor’s whistle goes. Halford is called over. Mr. Taylor reaches into his pocket. It’s yellow. He’s lucky to still be on as it was a clear goal-scoring opportunity. One minute later, Simpson finds himself behind our defence and shoots from 16 yards. Bond makes a good save, but at the expense of a corner. Three minutes before half time, Bradley Johnson shoots from 18 yards. Walker saves but spills and ball loops back to Johnson. He hits a rocket volley from 20 yards out that gives Walker no chance and we’re level through his second goal of the season. On the stroke of half time, Cenci plays in Johnson and he coolly slides the ball under Walker for his second of the game and third of the season to give us the lead. He’s certainly enjoying playing against his former side!
Five minutes into the second half, Hayes is forced off after a tackle by Lowry; Florian Koch comes on to replace him. I make another substitution in the 63rd minute, with Michele Marconi coming on for Cenci. Five minutes later, I lose another player to injury. This time, it’s Gennaro Riccardi who is injured after a tackle by Simpson. George King comes on; he goes to centre back, with Vukovic moving out to left back. Djuric crosses from the left in the 77th minute and the ball reaches Simpson. He’s 12 yards out and shoots, but Bond is able to save. He’s unable to hold onto the ball, but we’re able to clear for a throw and preserve our lead. With four minutes to go, two of my substitutes combine as Koch plays in Marconi. He shoots from 10 yards, but Walker is able to save and Norwich reach the rebound first, clearing for a throw. The final action occurs in the third minute of stoppage time. Johnson lifts the ball over the Norwich defence and Marconi runs onto it. He shoots from 12 yards, but his effort goes just wide of the post.
Result: Norwich City 1-2 Exeter City
Man of the Match: Bradley Johnson
Ratings: GK-Bond (7.0), DR-Judge (6.9), DCR-D’Avanzo (6.9), DCL-Vukovic (7.0), DL-Riccardi (6.9, off 68), DMC-Spearing (6.9), MCR-Matip (6.9), MCL-Johnson (9.2, 2G), AMR-Hayes (6.9, off 50), AML-Varga (6.9), ST-Cenci (6.9, A, off 63). Subs-Koch (6.6, on 50), Marconi (6.6, on 63), King (6.8, on 68). Unused-Spasov, Michel.
League Position: 6th
It was a deserved victory as we were the better side throughout, with Norwich’s goal coming as the result of a mistake. We probably should have won more comfortably, but Johnson’s little cameo against his former side was enough to take the points home.
The mid-week results see a couple of managerial sackings. Nigel Pearson is sacked from Derby and Slaven Bilic wastes no time in telling the media that he wants the job. This probably goes part of the way to explaining why he’s favourite to get it. The other sacking is Nigel Adkins. He’d been managing Norwich City. Sorry, Nigel! Even though Norwich lost, it seems as though the board were impressed and I’m made the favourite for the job. I deny any interest in the job, which pleases the Exeter board.
The physio reports back following our bruising encounter with Norwich. Jonny Hayes suffered a bruised rib and is expected to be out for 5-7 days, whilst Gennaro Riccardi has a bruised head and will not be available for 5-8 days. Thankfully, nothing long term as both are regular first team players.
Charlie Hollet extends his loan spell with Newport County for three months. Leeds United offer to loan Phillip Langer for three months and to be able to purchase him at any point for £7,000. I negotiate with them; I’m happy for him to go on loan, but I don’t want them to be able to buy him.
It’s the end of the month and the awards are made. Craig Noone of Bristol City is named Player of the Month. We do very well in Young Player of the Month; Bertin Matip comes first, whilst Federico Cenci is second. Manager of the Month goes to Hristo Stoichkov of Cardiff City; I make the top three in third place. In League 2, Rob McNally (on loan at Bristol Rovers) is named Young Player of the Month.