Following on from our victory over Bristol City, we play at home again.
Date: Saturday 26th November 2016
Opponent: Derby County (15th)
Venue: St. James Park
Odds: Exeter City=6/4, Draw=2/1, Derby County=13/8
Weather: Dry, 10C
Referee: Mr. Billy Siddall
There’s a couple of milestones at the back; Luca D’Avanzo is making his 25th career league appearance, whilst Roman Chaloupka (coming in for the injured Gennaro Riccardi) makes his league debut for Exeter. Derby start well and in the 5th minute, Colback shoots from 12 yards. Jonathan Bond saves and the rebound falls to Chaloupka. Derby are too keen to get the rebound and foul him, giving us an easy escape. Five minutes later, Jonny Hayes passes the ball from the right and Michele Marconi slots the ball under Fielding at the near post for his 8th goal of the season. Colback looks to be a threat and in the 15th minute, he pulls the ball back from the right and picks out Vargas – he shoots from 10 yards and Bond makes the save with the help of the post and we’re able to scramble the ball clear. Colback enters Mr. Siddall’s book in the 18th minute, fouling Michel. Fernandez takes a outswinging corner in the 25th minute and finds Vargas unmarked at the near post. Vargas is 6 yards out, but heads straight at Bond. Our next chance of note comes in the 31st minute when Michel passes to Marconi, who crashes a fierce shot from 18 yards off the bar. The rebound hits Fielding and Derby are able to clear. Two minutes before half time, Bertin Matip takes a free kick from the right and Jagos Vukovic shoots from 10 yards. The ball bounces around like a pinball in the area until Fielding is able to fall on the ball. One minute before half time, Bradley Johnson fouls Palsson and enters Mr. Siddall’s book.
Three minutes after half time, Colson shoots from 10 yards and is denied by Bond’s leg, which deflects the ball out for a corner. The resulting corner is met by Hanley at the far post with a header from 8 yards that goes just over. Vargas has another chance in the 57th minute when Griffiths cuts the ball back from the left. His shot from 8 yards it too hot to hold for Bond, but we’re able to clear to safety. The clearance sees Michel pick the ball up and Palsson fouls him, getting his name added to Mr. Siddall’s book. We have a rare chance in the 61st minute when Marconi shoots from 25 yards, but it’s easy enough for Fielding. Vargas has a second chance from 8 yards in the 64th minute. This time, Bond saves, conceding a corner in the process. I make my first substitution in the 67th minute as Dacian Varga comes on for Hayes. Varga gets involved straight away, playing in Marconi in the 71st minute. Marconi’s shot from 10 yards goes just wide. One minute later, it’s the turn of Michel to play in Marconi. He gets to the ball ahead of Fielding and blasts the ball into the net from 12 yards for his second of the game and 9th of the season. A bit of comfort. Three minutes later, it gets even more comfortable. D’Avanzo plays a long ball over the top and Varga rounds the onrushing Fielding and slots home his 3rd of the season from 8 yards. That should put the result beyond doubt and I take off Johnson for Jay Spearing to ensure he doesn’t pick up a second yellow card. Smedts enters Mr. Siddall’s book in the 77th minute following a foul on Varga. In the 82nd minute, Fernandez shoots straight at Bond from 12 yards and we’re able to clear the rebound to safety. Two minutes later, it’s Derby’s turn to clear a rebound to safety, Varga being denied by a good save from Fielding from 18 yards. Forren enters Mr. Siddall’s book in the 85th minute following a foul on Federico Cenci. Cenci picks himself up and takes the free kick from the right and finds an unmarked Vukovic who heads home his 4th of the season (and our fourth of the afternoon) from 6 yards. Vargas has chance for a consolation goal on the 88th minute, but Bond is able to tip his effort from 18 yards over the bar. Will Keane comes on for Marconi in the 90th minute, giving Marconi a chance to take the applause of the crowd.
Result: Exeter City 4-0 Derby County
Man of the Match: Michele Marconi
Ratings: GK-Bond (7.7), DR-Zapotoka (7.7), DCR-D’Avanzo (8.3, A), DCL-Vukovic (8.6, G), DL-Chaloupka (7.7), MCR-Matip (7.4), MCL-Johnson (7.3, booked, sub 75), AMR-Hayes (6.9, sub 66), AMC-Michel (7.5, A), AML-Cenci (7.9, A), ST-Marconi (8.8, 2G, sub 90). Subs-Varga (7.5, G, on 66), Spearing (6.9, on 75), Keane (on 90). Unused-Spasov, Rentea.
League Position: 1st
A comfortable looking victory, but the three late goals added plenty of gloss. Derby certainly had their chances, but poor finishing/good goalkeeping ensured that our late salvo secured an impressive victory. It was a good debut for Chaloupka, who earned a good rating and didn’t look out of place. If he can continue to play like that, Riccardi is likely to have some competition when he returns from his injury. Bond, Vukovic, Cenci and Marconi all make Team of the Week.
In the wider football world, Burnley appoint Gordon Strachan as their new manager. The draw for the Third Round of the FA Cup takes place and we could be on the end of a shock as we’re drawn away at either Cambridge United or Hartlepool United, both of League 2.