Playing Truant

Playing Truant has five members of a mortgage foreclosure team attending a conference when one of them decides he doesn’t want to go into the meeting. It’s his hometown and three other members of the team join him in visiting some old haunts, whilst the team leader remains. The team finally return and the reaction is not what they expected.

The book takes place over a short period of time. It aims to focus on a real life situation and achieves this, not relying on over the top action or exaggerated situations. Whilst a strength of the book, it also leaves you wanting something else to happen.

Rating (out of 5): ***

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Frank de Boer

Crystal Palace sacked Frank de Boer after 4 games. In that time they failed to score a goal or win a point.

All change

It’s the return of the League Cup for us following our dull and disappointing performance against Blackpool. And in Round 3, we will play…

Date: Tuesday 26th September 2017
Opponent: Tottenham Hotspur (6th)
Venue: St. James Park
Odds: Exeter City=11/5, Tottenham Hotspur=Evens
Weather: Dry, 11C
Referee: Mr. Howard Webb

It’s the League Cup, so it’s a completely changed XI that takes to the field. It’s obviously going to take the players a little bit of time to gel and Spurs have early pressure without creating anything. Witsel limps off in the 9th minute for the visitors.

Although Spurs have had the better of the opening exchanges, we have the first chance of note. It comes in the 25th minute. David Bentley is 20 yards out and elects to shoot. Unfortunately, he doesn’t catch it cleanly and it’s a tame effort that Pantilimon saves with ease. Pantilimon gets Spurs moving and Ideye gets played in. He shoots and Carmine Mello makes a smart save at the expense of a corner.

We win a corner 10 minutes before half time. Spurs win the ball and counter down the right. Djalma crosses and it gets deflected. To the feet of Gutierrez. He shoots from 18 yards and puts the visitors in the lead.

Ideye is given the chance to double the lead in the 41st minute. The ball is with Pjanic and he spots Ideye. He plays a perfect pass. Ideye is 10 yards out, but makes an even worse contact than Bentley did earlier. The shot dribbles across the face of the goal and limps over the line for a goal kick.

I look to rally the troops at half time, hoping we can put a bit of pressure on Spurs. I’m looking for an early goal in the second half. It’s just what I get. Two minutes into the half and an effort from 2 yards goes in. Sadly, it’s to double the lead, with Winters the man on hand to turn in Djalma’s cross from the left. Wijnaldum is only denied by the crossbar in the 52nd minute as Spurs look to put the game to bed. Mick Byrne completes the clearance from the danger zone for us.

I look to the bench and Adriano Gazzoli gets the nod in the 53rd minute, replacing Bentley. It doesn’t have a noticeable impact on the side and the next chance also falls the way of Spurs in the 62nd minute. A cross from the right finds Djalma arriving at the far post. He’s unmarked. He’s 8 yards out. It’s a powerful header, but Mello is equal to the challenge, clawing the ball to safety.

Will Keane replaces Michele Marconi in the 71st minute and Harry Maguire comes on for Daniel Berger in the 78th minute as I complete my changes as the game approaches the end. Five minutes after coming on, Maguire loses the ball to Winters and he quickly shoots from 18 yards. To Maguire’s relief, it’s wide. With the game petering out, Gazzoli incurs Mr. Webb’s wrath for a foul and enters the book.

Result: Exeter City 0-2 Tottenham Hotspur
Man of the Match: Djalma
Ratings: GK-Mello (6.6), DR-Mora (6.9), DCR-Byrne (6.5), DCL-Berger (6.1, sub 78), DL-Jenkins (5.8), MCR-Hrubesch (6.9), MCL-Fournier (6.8), AMR-Bentley (6.0, sub 53), AMC-Dubois (6.6), AML-Laudicina (6.8), ST-Marconi (6.5, sub 71). Subs-Gazzoli (6.3, on 53, booked), Keane (6.6, on 71), Maguire (on 78). Unused-Bond, Leggett, Norwood, Francioni.
Attendance: 8,105
Match Stats:

Spurs #FM12

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The War of the Roses

The War of the Roses charts the history of the struggle between the houses of York and Lancaster. The book keeps events moving, but provides all the important information for the key events. The biggest battles receive their own chapters, whilst events between them look at the politics of the time. An interesting book (I’ve read relatively little about the War of the Roses), but Edgar’s writing style is different to usual conventions; for example, instead of Henry V being written like that, he would be referred to as the fifth Henry. A minor quibble for a very good overview of an important era for English history.

Rating (out of 5): ****

Poor Gary Lineker

Following an exciting draw with Wolves, would we be able to use it as a springboard to start to take the league by storm?

Date: Saturday 23rd September 2017
Opponent: Blackpool (19th)
Venue: Bloomfield Road
Odds: Blackpool=Evens, Draw=11/5, Exeter City=11/5
Weather: Dry, 14C
Referee: Mr. Mark Clattenburg

It’s a bit of a slow start at Bloomfield Road, but we win a corner in the 13th minute. Bertin Matip goes across to take it and swings it in to the near post. The ball falls to Rainer Breu and he shoots from a tight angle 2 yards out. Kearns gets down remarkably quickly and saves the ball on the line.

Torpor resumes. The next action of note comes 4 minutes before half time when Bapeta looks up 18 yards out and shoots. He beats Ben Amos, but not the post and it bounces away to safety and bring the curtain down on a half lacking, well, anything to be honest.

Both managers have the chance to inspire their troops at half time, but if there were any Churchillian speeches at half time, it can only be assumed that the players were not listening. Mr. Clattenburg books Breu in the 63rd minute for a foul on Connolly, arguably to try and bring some interest to the game. Five minutes later, I replace Breu with Bentley; Bentley plays on the right, Hayes switches across to the left and Cenci moves to centre forward.

Blackpool play a long ball in the 73rd minute and Amos collects it easily at the edge of the area. It’s actually just beyond the line and spotted by the officials. Mr. Clattenburg walks over to Amos. The home fans are chanting ‘Off’ as Mr. Clattenburg reaches into his pocket. Is there finally going to be some excitement? It’s… yellow.

The game continues to drift towards the inevitable draw. In the first minute of stoppage time, a loose ball falls to Hoesen in our area. He’s 6 yards out. He shoots. Disaster! He scores. Blackpool have surely pinched the points. I replace Regis Olivier with Michel and throw players forward, but there’s only time for Bradley Johnson to get booked for fouling Taylor.

Result: Blackpool 1-0 Exeter City
Man of the Match: Nathan Ake
Ratings: GK-Amos (6.7, booked), DR-Zapotoka (6.9), DCR-Ake (7.4), DCL-Vukovic (6.7), DL-Riccardi (7.0), DMC-Olivier (6.8, sub 90), MCR-Matip (6.6), MCL-Johnson (7.0, booked), AMR-Hayes (6.7), AML-Cenci (6.8), ST-Breu (5.8, booked, sub 68). Subs-Bentley (6.5, on 68), Michel (on 90). Unused-Mello, Mora, Jenkins, Norwood, Hrubesch.
Attendance: 19,320
League Position: 17th
Match Stats:

Blackpool #FM12

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Crawley Town offer to loan Michal Krejcik for one month. All parties agree and he makes the temporary switch.