After going (comparatively) goal-crazy in our last match, we start the 2017 away from home.
Date: Monday 2nd January 2017
Opponent: Leeds United (11th)
Venue: Elland Road
Odds: Leeds United=1/2, Draw=13/5, Exeter City=9/2
Weather: Breezy, sleet, 1C
Referee: Mr. Howard Webb
Being in action again so soon sees a changed line-up run out at Elland Road. Will Keane makes his 75th league appearance for us, whilst Omer Ozturk plays in his first competitive game. The changed side evidently needs some time to settle and in the 2nd minute, Vokes has a chance from 12 yards. However, he wildly fires wide. Two minutes later, Florian Koch crosses from the right and Miltos Makris heads over from 10 yards. The game settles down until the 18th minute; Lucas takes an outswinging corner and Vokes amends for his earlier miss by heading in from 6 yards at the far post. The two players making milestone appearances combine in the 26th minute; Ozturk plays a long ball over the top and Keane fires wide from 18 yards. Keane is fouled in the 30th minute and Lucas enters Mr. Webb’s book. Keane shoots from 20 yards in the 33rd minute and Lonergan is unable to hold onto the ball. Koch gets to the rebound, but he’s offside.
Mr. Webb is called into action again in the 46th minute, booking Koch for a foul on Jemal that leaves the Leeds player carrying a knock. Two minutes later, Bertin Matip is booked for fouling Howson. In the 51st minute, Movsisyan picks up the ball on the halfway line and runs to the edge of our area, shooting from 18 yards. Jonathan Bond parries and Movsisyan picks up the rebound and rolls the ball into an empty net from 12 yards to double Leeds’ lead. It feels like it’s game over. I make a double substitution in the 56th minute as Dacian Varga replaces Makris on the left wing and I sacrifice Jan Pavlov to bring on Michele Marconi; Marconi goes up top, with Keane dropping back to an attacking midfield position. Marconi has a chance three minutes after coming on when he receives the ball from Koch; his shot from 16 yards is spilled and Leeds are able to clear. With 21 minutes to go, I make a change in the midfield with Bradley Johnson being replaced by Ryan Mason. Marconi lays the ball back to Keane in the 74th minute, but his shot from 18 yards is blazed over the bar. With 10 minutes to go, Mason passes from the right to Varga and he shoots from 12 yards. Lonergan is equal to the shot and although he can’t hold onto the ball, Leeds are able to clear. We finish the game with 10 men as in the 87th minute, Koch goes off injured. In the third minute of time, Catalin Rentea’s name is taken by Mr. Webb.
Result: Leeds United 2-0 Exeter City
Man of the Match: Lucas
Ratings: GK-Bond (6.7), DR-Rentea (6.7, booked), DCR-D’Avanzo (6.9), DCL-Vukovic (6.7), DL-Ozturk (6.6), DMC-Pavlov (6.1, sub 56), MCR-Matip (6.8), MCL-Johnson (6.6, sub 69), AMR-Koch (6.4, booked 64), AML-Makris (5.8, sub 56), ST-Keane (6.7). Subs-Varga (6.7, on 56), Marconi (6.6, on 56), Mason (6.7, on 69). Unused-Spasov, Zapotoka.
League Position: 3rd
As the match stats show, there wasn’t too much difference between the teams. The only difference was where it matter most – in front of goal. We struggled and drew a blank there again, with no-one stepping up and taking control of the game to turn things around for us.
Leeds United appoint Billy Davies as their manager.
Portsmouth offer to loan Patrick Olsen until the end of the season; they offer £1,500 up-front and can pay £45,000 at any time to make the move permanent. I accept and he joins them. Luton Town offer to loan Allen Ababio until the end of the season, I agree and he joins them. Fulham offer £170,000 for Alain Besse, an offer I reject. Middlesbrough enquire about George King and I quote them £28,000, £10,000 over 12 months and 10% of the profit of the next sale. Middlesbrough agree to my demands. Tomasz Surowiak returns from his loan spell at Ebbsfleet United after rejecting the loan extension offer they made.