Giving Gareth Gates something to sing about

After brushing aside Colchester United in the League Cup, we turn our attentions back to the League and head up North. Although all our away games see us heading North…

Date: Saturday 2nd September 2017
Opponent: Leeds United (18th)
Venue: Elland Road
Odds: Leeds United=Evens, Draw=11/5, Exeter City=11/5
Weather: Breezy, drizzle, 13C
Referee: Mr. Mike Jones

Those who impressed in the League Cup drop to the bench (if selected) for another match described as a relegation six-pointer. Chamberlain looks to put the hosts into the lead in the 4th minute, but he can’t keep his shot from 20 yards down.

Bertin Matip takes an inswinging corner in the 10th minute. The head of Lubomir Zapotoka, six yards out at the near post, flicks on and Lewis pushes the ball wide for another corner. Matip jogs across to take the corner from the other side. Both hands go up and he swings the ball out towards the near post. Federico Cenci runs onto it and meets it with a header six yards out. Lewis isn’t going to get near to Cenci’s header, but the post denies him the opener and Leeds put the rebound behind for another corner. Matip takes another outswinger to the near post, but Leeds prevent Zapotoka or Cenci meeting it with their head. They intercept and counter. Movsisyvan runs down the left and squares the ball into the area. Wilfried is on hand to sweep the ball into the net from 8 yards and open the scoring. An absolute sucker punch.

We respond well and Bradley Johnson shoots from 30 yards in the 18th minute, forcing Lewis to push the ball away. Ben Amos is called into action six minutes later, making a good diving save when Gosling shoots from 18 yards. Cenci shoots from 25 yards in the 27th minute, but Lewis makes a comfortable catch. Wilfried looks to grab his second in the 31st minute with an absolute rocket of a shot, but Amos is able to put it behind at the expense of a corner. As half time approaches, Hamill shoots from 18 yards and Amos saves. He can’t hold on and Hamill shoots again from 18 yards; Amos saves again for a good double save.

I get the troops into the dressing room at half time and look to fire them up. An early goal would certainly help. And there is an early goal. Unfortunately, it’s for Leeds; Addy curls in a beautiful cross from the left seconds into the half and Lester at the far post makes no mistake from 6 yards out with his header. It’s an outstanding cross and it was all but impossible for Lester to miss.

Nathan Ake brings down Movsisyvan in the 52nd minute and Mr. Jones produces the first card of the game. Bradley Johnson shoots from distance again in the 59th minute. He’s only 20 yards out this time, but it sails wide. Before Lewis takes the goal kick, I make my first substitution as Jonny Hayes replaces the anonymous David Bentley on the right. I make a double substitution 10 minutes later as Rainer Breu replaces Regis Olivier and Oliver Norwood comes on for Johnson. Olivier was playing as a defensive midfielder and Breu, making his 100th career league appearance, drops in behind Cenci, whilst Norwood is a straight swap for Johnson in the middle of the park.

Norwood take a free kick from 25 yards out in the 74th minute, but it goes just wide as we look to pull one back. Four minutes later, Breu feeds Cenci and Lewis needs to be sharp to push away his effort from 16 yards. In stoppage time, Gosling shoots from 20 yards and hits the post. Movsisyvan reacts quickest, he squares the ball from the left and Vokes is on hand to tap home from 6 yards.

Result: Leeds United 3-0 Exeter City
Man of the Match: Addy
Ratings: GK-Amos (6.4), DR-Zapotoka (6.9), DCR-Ake (6.0, booked), DCL-Vukovic (5.9), DL-Riccardi (6.1), DMC-Olivier (6.7, sub 69), MCR-Matip (6.7), MCL-Johnson (6.6, sub 69), AMR-Bentley (5.7, sub 59), AML-Besse (6.0), ST-Cenci (6.8). Subs-Hayes (6.8, on 59), Norwood (6.8, on 69), Breu (6.7, on 69).
Attendance: 27,604
League Position: 15th
Match Stats:

Leeds #FM12

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Another bad result at Leeds, this one a goal worse than our loss when in poor form at the start of the season. I felt as though we had the better of the game, but Leeds were ruthless in front of goal and ran out comfortable winners. It looks as though it could be a long season ahead of us. On the plus side, Federico Cenci has gone a game without picking up a yellow card!

The game against Leeds takes us into the international break. I arrange a friendly to keep players match sharp and we host Manchester United. It’s televised and we run out 3-0 winners. It’s an expensive friendly as Melvin Dubois is forced off injured with a dead leg that will keep him out for 3-4 days and Alain Besse sprains his ankle and will be out for 5-6 weeks. More positive news on the injury front sees Loic Fournier resume full training.

Rochdale offer to loan Jon Rune Svendson for a month, I agree and he moves. I also accept month-long loan offers for Adolfo Mannino and Dariusz Lenartowski from Chestefield and Brentford respectively as two more players leave the club temporarily.

Although the transfer window has closed, free agents can still be signed. And the biggest free agent? Zlatan Ibrahimovic. We’re one of many interested clubs. I know I normally sign young player, but how can I turn down the chance to sign Zlatan. Whilst we’re interested in signing him, he’s not interested in moving to Exeter. He also rejects Everton in favour of signing for newly-promoted Birmingham City.

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A new year, but old problems

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.
Attendance: 14,816
League Position: 3rd
Match Stats:

Leeds #FM12

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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.

Nothing to see here

A midweek fixture follows on from our exciting finish against Portsmouth. Will this fixture bring as much excitement?

Date: Wednesday 14th September 2016
Opponents: Leeds United (15th)
Venue: St James Park
Odds: Exeter City=13/8, Draw=2/1, Leeds United=6/4
Weather: Gusty, 9C
Referee: Mr. Paul Hutton

I make one change from our last outing and it’s an enforced one, with Gennaro Riccardi out with a bruised rib; Scott Malone replaces him. Leeds start well, with Snodgrass hitting the post in the first minute and Jonathan Bond claims the rebound. Two minutes later, Movsisyvan crosses from the right. There’s no immediate danger, but the cross hits a defender and is diverted goalwards. Bond gets across to save, but cannot prevent Lester pouncing on the rebound and scoring from 2 yards. An incredibly exciting finish to our last match and now we have an early goal in this one, but not the way we would want. Five minutes later, O’Toole finds our net, but thankfully it’s the side-netting. It seems as though we haven’t recovered from our great escape last time out. Little else happens in the first half, but Jagos Vukovic does pick up a booking on the stroke of half time.

I’ve been less than impressed with the team and make that very clear with an aggressive half time team talk. Hopefully they’ll buck their ideas up. A minute after half time, Michel creates our first notable chance of the game with a pass to Federico Cenci. He’s only gone and done better than creating a chance – he’s created a goal! Cenci hits a powerful shot from 18 yards to level the score. It’s his fourth of the season. All down to the manager and the half time team talk of course!!!! Four minutes later, Cenci shoots from a similar position, but this time his effort is just wide. Movsisyvan runs clear of our defence in the 68th minute and has a great chance to put Leeds back in the lead, but loses all composure and blasts over from 18 yards with only Bond to beat. I introduce Will Keane into the action in the 71st minute and he picks up a knock six minutes later after being fouled by Jemal, who picks up a booking from Mr. Hutton. Gosling joins his team mate in the book four minutes later after a foul on Dacian Varga. Five minutes before time, Bradley Johnson shoots from 30 yards, beating the keeper. The net ripples! He’s sco… nope, side netting and the game fizzles out.

Result: Exeter City 1-1 Leeds United
Man of the Match: Lester
Ratings: GK-Bond (6.9); DR-Rentea (6.9); DCR-Karlsen (6.6); DCL-Vukovic (6.9, booked); DL-Malone (6.6); MCR-Matip (6.9); MCL-Johnson (6.6); AMR-Hayes (6.8); AMC-Michel (7.2, A, off 71); AML-Varga (6.8); ST-Cenci (7.1, G). Subs-Keane (6.5, on 71). Unused: Spasov, King, Spearing, Koch.
Attendance: 7,808
League Position: 10th
Match Stats:

Leeds stats #FM12

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As the stats show, the standard of finishing throughout was pretty poor, which resulted in a match that can best be described as, well, dull. Hopefully, our next showing will be an improvement performance and results wise and won’t require such a strong half time team talk. We will be without Will Keane for it though as he’s damaged his elbow and will be out for 12-14 days.