The games are coming thick and fast and we’re on the road again after our trip to Cardiff.
Date: Saturday 3rd December 2016
Opponent: Huddersfield United (14th)
Venue: Galpharm Stadium
Odds: Huddersfield Town=7/2, Draw=9/4, Exeter City=4/6
Weather: Drizzle, 18C
Referee: Mr. Stuart Attwell
I will start by pointing out that the temperature is not a mis-print. It did say 18C for the start of December. Surely some kind of a record. Bradley Johnson is making his 375th career league appearance, Jan Pavlov makes his 25th career league appearance and Dacian Varga is making his 175th league appearance for the club.
It’s a slow start in the warm conditions, with Frimpong shooting just over from 25 yards in the 16th minute. Three minutes later, Johnson marks his milestone by getting his name into Mr. Attwell’s book for a foul on Frimpong. Frimpong continues to shoot from 25 yards and hits an absolute rocket in the 26th minute, but it goes just wide. The weather is evidently having an impact as there is no further action of note in a dull first half.
Notable action in the second half begins in the 63rd minute when former Exeter left back Holmvik crosses from the right and Danalache helps the ball on with his head an in to the net from 10 yards out. Hopefully, it will be the catalyst for us to wake up. Two minutes after going behind, Michele Marconi slips in Varga. He steadies himself and shoots from 10 yards, but former Exeter keeper Cervi is up to the task and saves at the expense of a corner. Bertin Matip takes an outswinging corner in the 68th minute and Marconi flicks the ball on at the near post. The flick on reaches Jagos Vukovic at the far post and he heads back across the ball. It takes a superb diving save from Cervi, who claws the ball out, to deny him. I make a double substitution one minute later; Will Keane and Jonny Hayes come on for Marconi and Federico Cenci respectively. Johnson looks to mark his milestone with a goal, but his shot from 25 yards in the 73rd minute goes over. I make my final substitution in the 81st minute, with Michel replacing Pavlov – a defensive midfielder is replaced by an attacking one as I seek an equaliser (and dare I dream, a winner). Michel is able to find a yard of space 20 yards out in the 87th minute and shoots, but it’s a soft shot that Cervi easily fields. Matip enters Mr. Attwell’s book in the 88th minute following a foul on Denalache. Hayes hits a cross/shot from the right in the third minute of stoppage time, but Cervi comfortably and confidently catches the ball. There’s still time for one more chance though. In the fourth minute of stoppage time, Michel is 25 yards out and shoots. It beats Cervi, but it’s just wide and the hosts hold on.
Result: Huddersfield Town 1-0 Exeter City
Man of the Match: Holmvik
Ratings: GK-Bond (6.9), DR-Zapotoka (6.7), DCR-D’Avanzo (6.6), DCL-Vukovic (7.0), DL-Chaloupka (6.9), DMC-Pavlov (6.7, sub 81), MCR-Matip (6.8, booked), MCL-Johnson (6.7, booked), AMR-Cenci (6.4, sub 69), AML-Varga (6.8), ST-Marconi (6.6, sub 69). Subs-Hayes (6.5, on 69), Keane (6.5, on 69), Michel (on 81). Unused-Spasov, Rentea.
League Position: 1st
Coming into the match, we had won our last four, whilst they had lost their last three; it would be fair to say it was a shock result. To be honest, we didn’t play all that well and only really started to play after going one down. Perhaps a loss was a little harsh on us, but I didn’t feel we were good enough to win. It’s important that we bounce back in our next game and ensure this result is just a blip. It is our first loss in 19 league games, the kind of run I’d definitely have taken at the start of the season.
Alessando Gaetani, the manager of Napoli, was one of the 13,023 in attendance. The media report that he’s in attendance because he’s interested in signing Federico Cenci. Chris Hjort returns from his loan spell at Bath City and Aaron Walker returns from loan at Plymouth Argyle. Cambridge beat Hartlepool in their 2nd Round replay in the FA Cup, so we now know our opponents in the 3rd Round. 14th placed Leicester City dispense with the services of Alex McLeish; my name is in the mix, but Gareth Southgate is the favourite to take the job.