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MATCH REPORT

PUBLISHED
00:05 20th March 2011

Exeter City 2 Yeovil Town 3

So on a gloriously sunny spring afternoon at the Park, the dark clouds of yet another home defeat loomed large as City slumped to a 3-2 reverse at the hands of near neighbours Yeovil Town in front of 5841 supporters, 800 of which had made the short journey down the A303. City lined up: Hamer; Golbourne, Duffy, Taylor, Archibald-Henville, Tully; Dunne, Harley, Sercombe; Logan, Cureton.
It took a little while for the game to get going, with the best the opening exchanges had to offer was Cureton's drive at the keeper from an offside position after Hamer's long punt down the right saw Sercombe beat the Yeovil offside trap with a neat through ball for Cureton to chase. On the quarter hour City fashioned a further chance when Taylor played a raking cross field ball to Logan who nodded down for Harley to rasp a low drive from distance that drifted just wide.
Midway through the half Sercombe once again split the Yeovil defence for Cureton to chase, but while he waited for Logan to arrive at the far post neither shot nor crossed instead chipping a meek effort straight to the keeper. Eventually though City did find a breakthrough, and inevitably it was the livewire Cureton with his 200th career league goal. Harley played the perfectly weighted ball through the Yeovil defence to leave Cureton onside and in acres of space with time aplenty to march forward and pick his spot. The keeper managed to get a hand to it, but couldn't prevent his block landing straight at the feet of Cureton who eased the ball home into an empty net from a couple of yards out to make it 1-0 to City.
So here we go, a chance for a third straight victory over our opponents, and also a chance to equal last year's points tally and virtually make ourselves safe. But it didn't work out like that with Yeovil not content to let us scuff and scrape the ball about before eventually getting it down the wings. They were in our faces and forcing us into mistakes and giving the ball away, although to be fair they didn't really need that much help anyway.
And so, in keeping with this topsy turvey season of ours, Yeovil equalised with three minutes of the half remaining. A free kick from way out was struck firmly into the box where lanky striker Sam Williams outjumped everyone to glance a header into the net with Hamer nowhere to make the game all square. Unfortunately he injured himself in the process - possibly something to do with his shoulder - and after some time receiving treatment on the pitch was replaced by City old boy Alex Russell.
But the half wasn't over just yet, although Yeovil thought it was as a ball in from the left bounced harmlessly over Logan's head. The keeper and defender, with no sense of urgency, looked to see out the half but they hadn't reckoned on Cureton's appetite for goals as he nipped in between the two to chip the ball over the keeper from the edge of the box for him 200th career league goal and one that helped restore City's lead and send the teams in at half time with City 2-1 up.
Within five minutes of the restart an injury meant a reshuffle as Noble was introduced at the expense of Tully with City reverting to a 4-4-2 formation with Duffy moving across to right back and Golbourne dropping back into a more conventional left back role. Two minutes later Logan and Dunne exchanged passes with Dunne setting off on an explosive run into the box before firing a low shot just wide of the near post.
It wasn't all City by any means though as in the tenth minute Jonathan Obika cut inside in the box before driving a fearsome shot towards the top corner that Hamer did well to parry. As the ball looped up and over Hamer, Golbourne saw the danger and was perfectly stationed on the line to boot the ball clear. A minute later Troy sent a hanging ball over for Harley to chase, once again beating a poor Yeovil offside trap. Shocked at the amount of time and space he had, Harley fluffed his chance chipping the ball wide of the post. Yeovil didn't fluff their lines however, taking the ball down the left before crossing in for Dean Bowditch to easily nip in front of a pedestrian Hamer to nod the ball into the gaping net from 15 yards out to once again make the game all square at 2-2.
Duffy was then withdrawn for Stewart as Stewart slotted into midfield with Sercombe dropping to right back, but less than five minutes later Yeovil had the lead for the first time in the match, and once again through what manager Tisdale described in his post match interview on the radio as sloppy defending. And he was right too - instead of clearing the ball, as has been seen more than once at the Park this season, the players tried to play their way out of trouble but only succeeded in booting it at each other instead of to each other. As the ball pinged around without ever being properly under control Obika decided he'd seen enough, collected a loose ball and raced forward, shooting hard at Hamer from the edge of the box. Hamer saved well, but as with Cureton's opener the keeper could only parry the shot and it landed at the feet of Bowditch who helped himself to his second of the game with an easy tap in at the far post to put Yeovil 3-2 up.
Noble tried to reduce arrears with a shot from distance from a corner where it fell eventually to Troy who turned and fired inexplicably wide from six yards out midway through the half. Logan then made way for Nardiello, then after further huff and puff from both sides Nardiello fashioned a chance with a few minutes remaining. Racing into the box he played a clever back heel to Harley who drilled low into the middle where the ball was eventually cleared after a comical looking scramble inside the six yard area. Nardiello then flashed a 20 yard drive over the bar following a City free kick, then Noble did the same from ten yards further out after Taylor headed him the ball.
Deep into stoppage time Dunne's long throw into the box found the head of Taylor who stooped to nod it to Stewart, but at full stretch he couldn't muster the power to trouble the keeper with City's final attack of the game.
And so City crash to their sixth home league defeat of the season, and one of the most disappointing, especially in the manner in which the two second half goals were conceded. But as Tisdale said, whilst we might not have deserved to lose on chances - genuine chances - created, we certainly didn't deserve much on the way we defended and didn't do the things right that we're supposed to do. Which is a shame, because today was the perfect opportunity to edge just that little bit closer to safety and, with nine games remaining, to equal our points tally from last season.
But it wasn't to be and so we go to Colchester next weekend before returning to the Park for the visits of relegation threatened Dagenham and then Swindon. We could go an awful long way to securing League One football by the time those games are done, but if we continue to capitulate as we did today, and on too many occasions at home this season, then safety will take a lot longer to guarantee.
So lets stop messing about and get the job done. That starts next weekend and continues for the coming games after, so see you back at the Park in a fortnight to cheer the boys on to ensuring we're playing in this division again next season as soon as possible.
    Data provided by Press Association