Exeter 1 Naaaaarch 1: learning absolutely nothing yet everything at the same time

Monday, 17 August 2009

Obligatory Delia photo. She'll have needed a glass or two after seeing two ex-Tractor boys snatch a point away from her side.

If there's a theme emerging on this blog it's the phrase "It's too early to tell yet". After the Norwich draw, really, it's a bit too early to tell yet how the season will pan out.

Norwich arrive with no manager, as he's been sacked around 24 hours previously. Strange timing. And given that you can rarely fathom what managerless teams are going to do, three points against an assumed-to-be hapless side with the floundering Bryan Gunn in charge turned into something more interesting and less certain.

Similarly, the roars from Exeter fans that greeted the final whistle were part-relief part-pride in the team. One all was probably a fair result, but we could have won it. Or lost it. It was that type of game, although bar a couple of moments Norwich didn't look much like scoring. But then neither did we.

Their goal came from an inability to clear our lines. Our goal came from introducing a bit of height and power up front. Marcus Stewart, who had a excellent game, produced a peach of a cross for Richard Logan to head home with his first touch of the game.

From then on we had slightly the best of it and there were a few times where an outstretched Norwich boot just prevented that killer pass.

City, again, when they played well looked like they could compete at this level and it's nice to be off the points mark for this season. But it'll be nice to get that first win under the belt, otherwise we could be congratulating ourselves for playing well but not winning for a while. And that's not a good place to get into.

Encouragingly, not one member of the squad had a bad game. Alex Russell, who previously had been filed under "Oh dear" played some fantastic balls and kept the midfield ticking over nicely. I reckon he'll get at least eight goals this season.

Ryan Harley lookes like he's added a bit of muscle to his game and kept finding space where there was none while our back four were very solid.

Matt Taylor won every single header and made a case for his name being included in the dictionary definition of 'no-nonsense'. Troy kept a very unimpressive Grant Holt in his pocket. Duffy looks like a good addition and Steve Tully was absolutely awesome.

Given Tully was up against the impressive Wes Hoolahan, who was easily Naaarch's best player, he did well to keep the attacks to the minimum. Plus he linked up well with Liam Sercombe on the right and made some storming runs.

The only question mark has to be up front. Stewart was excellent but Norwood is still a little green. A fantastic talent-in-waiting, yes, but he'll have learned plenty of lessons coming up against Gary Doherty.

Remember, Jimmy was playing schools football a few months ago so it's a big step up for him. You can see the talent and potential in his game and the more coaching he gets and the more he plays, the more he'll develop (obviously statement of the day winner). The attributes are there, he just needs to fine-tune them.

But at the moment he's more a player you'd bring on against tired defenders with 15 minutes to go than to start against a former international centre-half. But the striker situation means Jimmy will have plenty more chances (and I suspect a first goal will come sooner rather than later).

Logie has admitted he isn't quite match-fit, Big Mac is more of an impact sub, Corr's suspended and Stanno and Ben Watson are crocked. We missed the penetrating runs the latter two can make.

I'd be tempted to start with Logie and Big Mac against Yeovil and bring on Stewart and Norwood later on in the game as the former two will be itching for a start and Marcus looked knackered after giving every ounce of sweat on Saturday.

That's our first three tough opening fixtures out of the way. Now we have a winnable home game against our local non-rivals. Can we win? It's too early to say.


Happy As Larry

This is an Exeter City fan blog by Gary Andrews, covering news, views and action from the real St. James' Park.

Come on you Grecians!

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