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14:18 21st February 2010

Exeter City 0 Stockport County 1

The Ant Moxey Report   So on a beautifully sunny and surprisingly warm day at the Park, City slip into the relegation zone for the first time since 2003 after losing 1-0 in horrible fashion to an almost certainly relegated Stockport County side in front of 4990 disappointed, bar the 180-odd travelling fans, supporters. City lined up: Marriott; Golbourne, Edwards, Taylor, Tully; Harley, Burnell, Duffy, Sercombe; Logan, Fleetwood.   It took a while for either team to get going, league positions obviously making both sides nervous, but it seemed as though it was City who began to get on top, but as usual without really threatening the opposition keeper. In the 12th minute though, City found themselves with a great chance to take the lead. A hanging Harley free kick was nodded down by Taylor to Logan on or around the penalty spot. He turned and shot towards the top corner, but the keeper managed to get a hand to the ball and deflect it to safety via the post.   The only other bright spot in a turgid half came when Fleetwood outmuscled a defender to steal the ball and race goalwards at breakneck speed, skipping past a couple of defenders in the process. However, in keeping with the general mood of the half, the move ended rather disappointingly with a weak cross the was cut out easily by the first defender.   Things would brighten up in the second half though, surely? Well yes, actually, they did as in the very first minute of the half Logan broke through a couple of tackles down the left before playing the ball central to Fleetwood. He in turn spotted the lung bursting run of Sercombe on the overlap and played him in with the most exquisite ball leaving Sercs in acres of space bearing down on goal. Unfortunately for Sercs though he didn't hit his shot cleanly so despite beating the keeper he also beat the far post as his shot screwed harmlessly wide.   In the fifth minute confusion reigned in the Stockport defence as Fleetwood chased a deep Sercombe ball down the right. Defender Mathew Sadler beat Fleets to the ball by the smallest of margins and laid it back to his keeper who instead of launching it upfield inexplicably picked the ball up.   The ref had little option but to award City an indirect free kick for handling the backpass on the corner of the six yard box that Harley floated towards the back post. The hurried clearance came straight back to him so he hit it back in again where Fleetwood dinked a neat looking header marginally over.   In the 10th minute Harley raced down the left before cutting in 25 yards out and letting fly with a powerful drive that the keeper couldn't hold. Fortunately for him, with Logan looking to pounce, he had the wherewithal to punch clear and avert the danger. City had their tails up and looked a genuine threat for the first time in the game, but in the 15th minute came a crucial change when the momentum was broken up with the substitutions of Sercombe and the excellent Fleetwood for debutant Marcus Haber, here on a month's loan from West Brom, and Alex Russell.   The game died from then on, with little play worthy of note from either side, with both sides content to hoof the ball up to big blokes up front that invariably came to nothing as there were bigger blokes behind them ready to clear. But then a moment of skill worthy of winning any game, certainly one as soporific as this one. On the half hour Jemal Johnson collected the ball about 25 yards out by the corner of the box with his back to goal. In a single movement he controlled the ball, turned effortlessly and smashed the ball past a lumbering Marriott and into the far corner of the goal to consign City to the bottom four of the division and earn Stockport all three points.   A couple of minutes later the panic substitution of Watson for Burnell took place in a desperate search for an equaliser, but despite a quite superb volley from Logan at the far post producing another cracking save from the keeper, the game petered out into the inevitable.   So where next then? Well, unless the team start to find a bit of form and go back to playing the sort of football that so handsomely beat Leeds a month ago, it'll be League Two. We simply can't afford to turn in these sorts of performances at home any more - if we do, we'll be relegated, it's that simple.   But by the same token if we string a few wins together, which we are capable of doing, then we could rocket up the table. Such is the closeness of the division that Southampton, currently in 12th spot, are only six points ahead of us. That's two wins away. Just two. So look up, not down and write this off as a bad day at the office. We've had a few of those this season, but then again, it was always going to be difficult going up two divisions in two seasons.   We can survive though, and we are capable of doing it by ourselves too. We have big games coming up in the next few weeks, including many against teams around us, but first we have to get past Bristol Rovers on Tuesday. Can we beat them, who knows, just make sure you're there to play your part and cheer the lads on. We're all in this together, let's make sure we all play our parts.   See you on Tuesday night, we can do this.   Share
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