Buoyed by a two-goal victory, we look to string a couple of wins together for the first time in a long time.
Date: Saturday 21st January 2017
Opponent: Rotherham United (24th)
Venue: Rotherham Community Stadium
Odds: Rotherham United=6/4, Draw=2/1, Exeter City=13/8
Weather: Sleet, 1C
Referee: Mr. Stuart Attwell
Following the departure of Metodi Spasov and the illness of Jonathan Bond, Eugenio Bertolucci gets the number 1 shirt (figuratively speaking) and makes his league debut for the club. Oliver Norwood is also making his league debut for us, whilst Jagos Vukovic makes his 225th career league appearance. A game against the club bottom of the league gives them all a good chance to mark their milestones with a victory.
Four minutes in, Michele Marconi runs into the area and shoots from 16 yards. Whilst the Rotherham defence might have been napping in allowing him to do so, Blackman is alert and saves before the Rotherham defence wakes up and clear for a throw. Two minutes later, Melikson takes a free kick from the left. It’s the turn of our defence to go to sleep as Arey is 6 yards out at the far post and unmarked. He makes no mistake, putting our hosts into the lead. Federico Cenci goes close to drawing us level ten minutes later, but his shot from 18 yards goes just over. Marconi passes to Jonny Hayes in the 18th minute and Blackman is on hand to deny him from 10 yards at the expense of a corner. One minute after the half hour mark, Porter shoots from 25 yards. It hits the bar, bounces down and in. We’re sinking without trace against the club bottom of the league. With one minute to go until half time, Hayes crosses from the right and Cenci, 1 yard out at the far post, scores his 15th goal of the season. It’s also our first away goal for nearly two months.
Any hopes that a goal on the stroke of half time would spur us on and dashed. Porter shoots just over in the 53rd minute and in the 61st minute, Rotherham surely secure the points; Celik crosses from the right and Airey slides in at the far post, scoring from 6 yards. John-Joe O’Toole makes way in the 65th minute, with Michel his replacement as I replace a defensive midfielder with an attacking one as we go searching for at least two goals. Marconi fires just wide from 18 yards with 20 minutes to go and two minutes later, his shot from 12 yards is spilled by Blackman and then cleared to safety. With 11 minutes to go, Norwood takes an outswinging corner and finds Cenci unmarked 6 yards out at the near post. Cenci heads in his 2nd of the game and 16th of the season to give us a chance. Unfortunately, we’re unable to get anything of note going and Rotherham see the game out.
Result: Rotherham United 3-2 Exeter City
Man of the Match: Federico Cenci
Ratings: GK-Bertolucci (6.1), DR-Zapotoka (6.6), DCR-D’Avanzo (6.6), DCL-Vukovic (6.8), DL-Chaloupka (6.7), MCR-Norwood (7.5, A), MC-O’Toole (5.7, sub 65), MCL-Johnson (6.0), AMR-Hayes (6.9, A), AML-Cenci (8.8, 2G), ST-Marconi (6.1). Sub-Michel (6.9, on 65). Unused-Wilkinson, Rentea, Besse, Keane.
League Position: 2nd
Although it was nice to finally score away from home again, we should have left with all three points. Marconi’s shooting boots were not on and just about every chance Rotherham had ended up in our net. It’s the kind of result that I fear that we’re going to look back on with regret at the end of the season.
Jonathan Bond resumes full training after his illness. Alain Besse and Florian Koch request to be put onto the transfer list and I accept both requests. I also accept a request from Roberto Carlos Gutierrez Ramos to be removed from the transfer list.
Dominik Masek to Palencia until the end of the season (can buy at any time for £120,000)
Busao to extend loan at Bristol Rovers for 3 months
Richard Ibrahim to extend loan at Plymouth Argyle until end of season
Paolo Palese to Como until end of season
Adolfo Mannino to Campobasso until end of season
Roman Chaloupka to Sheffield Wednesday until end of season (£80,000 and can be bought at any time for £525,000 – reject)
Michel to Real Sociedad until end of season (£300,000 and can be bought at any time for £375,000 – reject)
Clement Baud to extend loan at Millwall until end of season
Martin Brandt to extend loan at MK Dons until end of season
Per Fischer to Brighton and Hove Albion until end of season
Per Fischer to Sheffield Wednesday until end of season
Per Fischer to FC Nordsjaelland until end of season
Dennis Schmid to Frankfurt until end of season
Tomasz Surowiak to Plymouth Argyle
Busao extends loan at Bristol Rovers
Richard Ibrahim extends loan at Plymouth Argyle
Dominik Masek to Palencia
Per Fischer to Brighton and Hove Albion
Loans (Rejected by player)
Martin Koci (extension at Southend United)
Declan Warburton (extension at Stevenage)
David Goikoetxea (Lugo)
Paolo Palese (Como)
Adolfo Mannino (Campobasso)
Martin Brandt (extension at MK Dons)
Clement Baud (extension at Millwall)
Dennis Schmid (Frankfurt
Loans (Returning players)
Declan Warburton from Stevenage (glad to return)
Martin Koci from Southend United (glad to return)
Aaron McCarey for £90,000 from Birmingham City
Espanyol for Lubomir Zapotoka – £220,000, £725,000 over 24 months, £45,000 after promotion and 25% profit from next sale (negotiate, asking for £220,000, £1,500,000 over 30 months, £100,000 after promotion and 10% of next sale, Espanyol reject)
Wolverhampton Wanderers for Philipp Langer – £250,000 and 25% profit of next sale (negotiate, asking from £250,000, £1,000,000 over 24 months, £100,000 after 10 league goals and £50,000 after 40 games; Wolves come back with an offer of £300,000 that I reject)
Johan Hammar to Ascoli at end of season (free)
Southampton are preparing a bid for Jagos Vukovic
Wolverhampton Wanderers stepping up their chase for Philipp Langer
Fulham are interested in Alain Besse