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15:31 20th August 2009

Report: Exeter City 1 Yeovil Town 1

So for the third time in a week the Park is bathed in warm summer sunshine as a healthy 6650 expectant supporters - including over 1100 from Yeovil - see City chuck two points away with a turgid second half display to draw 1-1 for the second game in a row. City lined up Jones; Duffy, Archibald-Henville, Taylor, Tully; Harley, Cozic, Stewart, Russell, Sercombe; Norwood.
Same line up as Norwich then, but today a slight change in formation with Stewart dropping back into midfield to leave Norwood up front on his own. And it looked as though it would work too, when as early as the second minute a Russell free kick from near the tunnel saw Matt Taylor rise highest in the box to glance wide.
In the tenth minute City deservedly took the lead - the first time they'd been in front this season - when Troy fed the ball out to Stewart who cut it back into the overlapping Sercombe steaming into the box. Sercs whipped a vicious drive across the box where the unfortunate Stefan Stam sliced the ball wickedly past his own keeper and into the far corner to make it 1-0 to City.
Stam's miserable night ended two minutes later when, in fouling Norwood for a free kick he managed to injure himself and immediately was replaced. A couple of minutes later Stewart took down a high ball in masterly fashion before driving across the edge of the box to Bertie who, with his back to goal, swivelled to pull a good looking shot wide.
In the 20th minute sustained pressure from Sercs, Bertie and Russell saw the ball fed back to Harley but he blasted his 25 yarder wastefully over. And that was it as far as goal mouth action was concerned for the next 20 minutes as Yeovil struggled to get out of their half, and City struggled to make their dominance tell, particularly in and around the box.
However with five minutes to go there was at last a meaningful ball into area when Harley flighted a corner that Taylor butted narrowly over.
With time running out Yeovil mounted their first attack of note when a free kick from the left was nudged narrowly wide, then almost immediately order was restored at the other end when Norwood and Sercombe combined for Stewart to flash wide from fifteen yards.
Plenty to look forward to in the second half then, with City in complete control up to the break. Or so you'd think, but once back on the field it was a completely different story with Yeovil forcing a seemingly endless series of (ineffective) corners and City rarely managing to get the ball beyond the half way line.
In the 26th minute City paid the ultimate price for sitting too deep and not clearing the ball properly. After one pass too many across the back four - and getting deeper into trouble with each one - Duffy played the ball back to Jones from about 25 yards out. Onto Jones' left foot too, with which he hacked it up the Park as best he could. Unfortunately straight to the delighted Ryan Mason who from fully 30 yards smashed the ball gleefully straight back past Jones and into the corner of the net for a somewhat bizarre yet all too predictable equaliser.
Four minutes later we finally saw the introduction of McAllister and Logan for Bertie and Norwood, and so the fightback began, with fifteen minutes left. Harley played the ball into Mac from deep where he flicked on to strike partner Logan who couldn't quite beat the gaggle of defenders rushing back and the ball was collected comfortably by the keeper..
With five minutes remaining a limping Tully was replaced by Golbourne, then on the stroke of full time City's last chance of a winner came and went when McAllister failed to latch onto Logan's knock down and the ball was cleared to safety.
So a point gained or a point lost? The latter, definitely. If the first half was as good a half as we've seen so far this season, then the second half was equally as bad as we've seen so far this season. Whereas in the first half the passing was crisp and defence assured, in the second half we were constantly muscled off the ball, second best in the challenges and sloppy across the back.
The midfield seemed to have less and less an idea of what to do the longer the game went on, and up front poor Norwood was left hopelessly exposed running up blind alleys that invariably led nowhere. So where do we go from here? Well hopefully up - we can't really go any further down after that second half - and a long way up too, 300+ miles to Carlisle for starters next Saturday before we're back here for the final game this month when we entertain MK Dons.
Hopefully by then we'll have ironed out the unnecessary defensive errors, and hard work on the training ground will have us looking sharper in front of goal too. Tonight's game was there to be won, as are the next couple, and there's no reason to believe we can't return to the Park in a fortnight three points better off and on our way to another three points as well. When we play well, as we did in the first half, we are more than a match for the majority of this division, but we'll have to ensure we have games like the first half tonight than the second otherwise we'll find ourselves in a lot of trouble very quickly.
But we don't become a bad side overnight, and the first half tonight was a definite positive on which to end, and couple that with the good support the team received throughout the game tonight then there's plenty to look forward to in the coming weeks. Didn't someone once say about football being a funny old game?
    Data provided by Press Association