After our visit to Bramall Lane, we head to Hillsborough.
Date: Saturday 18th February 2017
Opponent: Sheffield Wednesday (9th)
Odds: Sheffield Wednesday=4/5, Draw=2/1, Exeter City=3/1
Weather: Drizzle, 7C
Referee: Mr. Mark Clattenburg
The first action of note comes in the 10th minute when Sheffield Wednesday win a free kick 20 yards out. Medda steps up, lifts it over the wall and just over the bar. A minute before the half hour mark, Michel shoots from 18 yards, but it’s straight at Flinders and although he can’t hold on, Sheffield Wednesday clear to safety. Oliver Norwood enters Mr. Clattenburg’s book in the 33rd minute for a foul on Baldock. Federico Cenci gets his head to a right wing cross by Lubomir Zapotoka in the 37th minute, but his header from 8 yards goes over. The half may be coming to an end, but we’re putting pressure on their goal. With four minutes of the half left, Cenci runs into the area and shoots from 12 yards, forcing Flinders to concede a corner. One minute later, Bradley Johnson shoots wide across the face of the goal from 12 yards out.
Cenci enters Mr. Clattenburg’s book in the 48th minute for a foul on Huntington. Norwood goes close to breaking the deadlock in the 53rd minute, but his shot from 25 yards hits the post and Sheffield Wednesday are able to clear the ball away from the danger zone. Nine minutes later, Michel shoots from 20 yards, but Flinders is able to save and hold on to the ball. Daniel Berger becomes the third name into the book in the 63rd minute after he fouls Trajkovski, with Zapotoka following moments later for a foul on Rose. Michel is replaced by Michele Marconi in the 64th minute; Marconi plays up front, with Cenci dropping into the hole. Cenci shoots over from 30 yards in the 65th minute. Marconi tests Flinders from 18 yards in the 68th minute. Flinders spills. Alain Besse goes for the rebound. He doesn’t get to the ball because Kovacevic brings him down. Penalty! Cenci shoots low to the right of Flinders and scores his 21st goal of the season to break the deadlock. Seven minutes later, Cenci plays in Marconi, but his shot from 18 yards rolls wide. Upton shoots from 25 yards with 11 minutes to go, but it doesn’t test Jonathan Bond as it sails over. With 8 minutes to go, Jay Spearing comes on for Jonny Hayes as I look to secure the points – Spearing plays as a defensive midfielder shielding the back four, with Cenci moving out to the right wing. One minute after the change, Besse picks out Marconi, but Flinders saves his shot from 18 yards and it’s cleared. Cenci plays in Besse in the 84th minute, but his shot from 12 yards is parried by Flinders. The rebound falls to Cenci and he plays the ball back to Besse, who spurns the opportunity to double our lead by blazing wide from 10 yards. One minute later, Cenci runs into the area and shoots from 12 yards. His shot hits a defender and the rebound falls to Besse, who makes amends for his miss a minute earlier by scoring his second goal of the season from 8 yards into an unguarded goal. It surely seals the points, but with three minutes to go, Marconi hits the post from 10 yards after being played in by Besse. The rebound off the post is cleared for a corner.
Result: Sheffield Wednesday 0-2 Exeter City
Man of the Match: Alain Besse
Ratings: GK-Bond (6.9), DR-Zapotoka (7.1, booked), DCR-Berger (7.1, booked), DCL-Vukovic (7.2), DL-Riccardi (7.0), MCR- Norwood (6.9, booked), MCL-Johnson (6.9), AMR-Hayes (6.9, sub 82), AMC-Michel (6.9, sub 64), AML-Besse (8.7, G, A), ST-Cenci (7.7, G). Subs-Marconi (7.0, on 64), Spearing (on 82). Unused-McCarey, Rentea, Matip.
League Position: 2nd
A much better showing in Sheffield and no late collapse this time. Evidently midweek fixtures don’t agree with us! We were in control throughout and deserved the win. Jonathan Bond is unlikely to have ever have had an easier afternoon.
Stefano Colantuono, the manager of Atalanta, was in attendance, watching Jagos Vukovic.
We have a reserve team match against Brighton and Hove Albion Reserves and I lose two players to injury; Adriano Gazzoli will be out for 4 weeks with a broken rib, whilst Luca D’Avanzo will be missing for 2-3 weeks with a twisted knee.