Can we put on a show for our fans at home after our win at Crystal Palace?
Date: Saturday 29th October 2016
Opponent: Middlesbrough (23rd)
Venue: St. James Park
Odds: Exeter City=1/3, Draw=3/1, Middlesbrough=7/1
Weather: Dry 12C
Referee: Mr. Mark Clattenburg
Another match, another milestone. This time, it’s Federico Cenci making his 75th career league appearance. He gets involved quickly. The third minute to be precise. He takes a shot from 8 yards, but it’s straight at Hamilton. Five minutes later, Jonny Hayes is two yards further out, but he can’t get his effort on target. Bertin Matip is much further out when he shoots in the 15th minute. Hamilton is able to push the 30 yard effort away and Middlesbrough complete the clearance. We’re piling the pressure on and a goal seems inevitable. It comes in the 16th minute. Hayes lays the ball off and Michel hits an absolute screamer from 25 yards for his second of the season. If Hamilton had been in the way, he’d have ended up in the net with it as Michel does his impression of Hot Shot Hamish. We continue to pile on the pressure and Hayes plays the ball to Michele Marconi in the 18th minute. Hamilton saves Marconi’s shot from 16 yards for the expense of a corner. Ten minutes later, Hayes continues to create havoc and crosses from the right to the far post. He’s picked out Cenci who heads over from 8 yards. A big chance to mark his milestone missed. Middlesbrough’s first effort of note comes in the 32nd minute when Pilkington has a free kick 30 yards out. He goes for goal, but it sails over. In the second minute of stoppage time, Michel plays in Marconi to beat the offside trap. Marconi only has Hamilton to beat. He slots the ball under Hamilton from 18 yards out to double our lead with his third goal of the season in the last action of the half. Another game where we’re in control by half time.
Mr. Clattenburg enters the action in the 49th minute, booking Haroun after a foul on Bradley Johnson. I make my first substitution in the 54th minute, bringing on Dacian Varga for Hayes. The introduction of Hayes sees Cenci move over to the right wing, with Varga taking his customary position on the left. Msowonga enters Mr. Clattenburg’s book in the 65th minute, with Johnson being the player fouled again. Three minutes later, I bring on Jay Spearing for Johnson to have a couple of ball-winners in the middle of the park to protect our lead. Middlesbrough win a corner in the 71st minute and we clear and counter. Varga runs down the left, centres the ball and Michel scores his second of the game (and third of the season) from 6 yards into an unguarded goal. In the 79th minute, Middlesbrough score through Moore from 18 yards. Surely it’s only a consolation goal? It is. Two minutes later, Michel plays in Marconi again, with the finish this time being applied from 12 yards for Marconi’s second of the game and 4th of the season. A minute before time, Cenci looks to mark his milestone, but his effort from 18 yards goes wide. Mr. Clattenburg does something neither Michel or Marconi can manage and achieves his hat trick when Kerbar enters the book following a foul on Cenci.
Result: Exeter City 4-1 Middlesbrough
Man of the Match: Michel
Ratings: GK-Bond (7.2), DR-Zapotoka (7.3), DCR-D’Avanzo (6.9), DCL-Karlsen (7.1), DL-Riccardi (7.3), MCR-Matip (7.2), MCL-Johnson (6.9, sub 68), AMR-Hayes (7.2, A, sub 54), AMC-Michel (9.5, 2G, 2A), AML-Cenci (7.1), ST-Marconi (9.0, 2G). Subs-Varga (6.7, A, on 54), Spearing (6.9, on 68). Unused-Spasov, Rentea, Keane.
League Position: 1st
An excellent performance and we turned the style on with a comprehensive win. Hopefully, we can keep playing like that as the season progresses. Michel and Michele Marconi get named in Team of the Week following the performance.
Leonardo Menichini, manager of Crotone, was in attendance and the media are reporting that he’s interested in signing Bertin Matip.
Plymouth Argyle offer to extend the loan of Richard Ibrahim by three months and I accept the offer; he agrees to the extension. I also make a signing – German DM/MC Rudiger Thomas:
The end of October sees the monthly awards being made. Jan Valkucak (Blackburn Rovers) is named Player of the Month, with Federico Cenci the runner-up. Cenci does win Young Player of the Month and Lubomir Zapotoka is third. Melvin Platje (Sheffield United) scored Goal of the Month. Manager of the Month is (drumroll please!)… me! I’d swap that for promotion, but it’s always nice to be recognised.