A late penalty against West Ham gave us the three points and two wins on the bounce – can we make it three from three for the first time in a long time.
Date: Tuesday 14th February 2017
Opponent: Sheffield United (17th)
Venue: Bramall Lane
Odds: Sheffield United=Evens, Draw=11/5, Exeter City=11/5
Weather: Drizzle, 3C
Referee: Mr. Alan Beck
Loic Fournier makes his 25th career league appearance. We get off to a flying start – in the 8th minute Bradley Johnson plays in Federico Cenci and he scores his 20th goal of the season from 10 yards. Four minutes later, Cenci looks to turn provider by passing to Jonny Hayes, but Elizondo saves his shot from 16 yards. With 28 minutes on the clock, Quinn takes a free kick from the left and he picks out Omai at the far post. Omai heads from 12 yards and McCarey saves. With a minute to go until half time, Quinn takes another free kick and this one finds Banton. He shoots from 16 yards and scores. Before he can raise his arm in celebration, Mr. Beck’s whistle goes. Offside.
Mollins shoots over from 12 yards in the 48th minute as Sheffield United start the second half well. 56 minutes in and Luca D’Avanzo is forced off with an injury. Lubomir Zapotoka is his replacement. Cenci goes close to doubling the lead in 64th minute, but his shot from 35 yards out hits the bar and Sheffield United play their way out of danger. Michele Marconi and Oliver Norwood replace Cenci and Johnson in the 66th minute. Two minutes later, Omai crosses from the right and Goian levels from an acute angle. Things get even worse in the 70th minute as Sheffield United take the lead. Quinn plays in Jackson and he rolls the ball under an onrushing McCarey from 12 yards. Two minutes later, McCarey has to react quickly to deny Jackson doubling his tally. Although he can’t hold on, we’re able to clear the ball for a throw. With four minutes to go, Goian looks to double his tally from 18 yards, but McCarey saves and the defence completes the clearance. One minute later, Gennaro Riccardi crosses from the left and Marconi flicks the ball on, but Elizondo saves comfortably. In the third minute of stoppage time, McCarey parries a Goian shot from 18 yards and Jackson is able to walk the ball into an empty net and seal the points for the hosts.
Result: Sheffield Unite 3-1 Exeter City
Man of the Match: Jackson
Ratings: GK-McCarey (6.1), DR-Rentea (5.7), DCR_D’Avanzo (6.8, sub 56), DCL-Vukovic (6.1), DL-Riccardi (5.8), DMC-Fournier (6.8), MCR-Matip (6.8), MCL-Johnson (7.2, A, sub 66), AMR-Hayes (5.8), AML-Besse (6.1), ST-Cenci (7.5, G, sub 66). Subs-Zapotoka (5.8, on 56), Norwood (6.3, on 66), Marconi (6.2, on 66). Unused-Bond, Michel.
League Position: 3rd
A good start, but we didn’t do much after that. D’Avanzo’s injury followed by a couple of substitutions saw a bit of a defensive collapse as two quickfire goals put Sheffield United in a strong position. D’Avanzo will be out for 3-4 days with a dead leg. We can have no complaints about the result.
Middlesbrough agree to my negotiation over their loan offer for Will Keane and he agrees to the temporary switch.