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MATCH REPORT

PUBLISHED
11:05 21st March 2012

Exeter City 1 Wycombe Wanderers 3

So on an unchilly spring evening at the Park, City slump into deeper trouble with a desperate 3-1 home defeat at the hands of fellow relegation battlers Wycombe in front of 4121 supporters. City lined up: Pidgeley; Frear, Baldwin, Fortune, Tully; Sercombe, Archibald Henville, Dunne, Taylor; Nardiello, Dalla Valle.

Another day, another formation and another line up with manager Tisdale opting for a 4-4-2 formation with Pidgeley in for Krysiak, Frear and Tully reverting to conventional full backs and Pat Baldwin making his debut alongside Fortune at the heart of the defence. Troy pushed up into midfield with Dunne as Sercombe played on the left and Taylor the right, with Nardiello recalled up front alongside City's other debutant Lauri Dalla Valle. All of which led to Wycombe having the first effort on goal inside sixty seconds.

A needless Dunne challenge on the edge of the box gave Grant Basey a free kick twenty yards out. He bent it round the wall, but Pidgeley showed sharp reactions to get down and beat the ball away to safety. Wycombe would continue to enjoy the majority of possession - albeit without ever troubling Pidgeley - until midway through the half when Troy eventually found Frear in acres of space down the left hand side. He scurried unchecked to bye line where he whipped in a peach of a cross to the near post. Nardiello bust a gut to get there, but the ball whistled past millimetres from his head and away to safety.

Ten minutes later a dink over the top saw Stuart Beavon suddenly in space on the edge of the box, but with plenty of time and Pidgeley rushing from his goal line, got his chip horribly wrong screwing it well wide of the angle of post and bar. Tully's long ball moments later was flicked on by Dalla Valle to Nardiello's run into the box, but a defender was wise to Nards' anticipation and tracked him back forcing Nardiello to scuff his shot to nowhere in particular.

And that was pretty much that for the first half - not a lot going on, but fairly absorbing nonetheless with City at least appearing to try and play football, even if they did surrender the majority of possession.

The second half, however, was a different story and the opening goal in the 11th minute typical of City's season so far. Tully's misplaced square pass in front of his own box 35 yards out was easily intercepted by Beavon who raced into the space Tully should have been occupying instead of giving the ball away. He let loose a stinging shot from the edge of the box that Pidgeley could only parry, and unfortunately parry straight to Paul Hayes who lashed it back past Pidge to put the visitors 1-0 up.

Fortune was then withdrawn for Logan, with Troy dropping back into the back four and Nardiello dropping back into a left midfield slot, then a couple of minutes later Taylor was replaced by Bauza on the right side of midfield. All of which resulted in Wycombe nearly scoring a second but for Pidgeley's terrific block from Danny Foster's powerful drive from inside the box.

The relief was short lived though as in the 17th minute Wycombe did indeed get their second, although in seemingly controvertial circumstances. Beavon chased a long ball over the top from what appeared to be an offside position with Tully in chase. It looked as though Tully had caught him, but instead stumbled as Beavon powered into the box with Pidgeley once again saving but once again parrying the ball straight back where Beavon had time aplenty to collect and smash home from ten yards to make it 2-0 to the visitors.

In the 20th minute hopes were raised when a foul on Nardiello gave Dunne a free kick 28 yards out. He drove in an inch high screamer that flew into the bottom righ corner of the net before either the wall or keeper had chance to move reducing arrears to 1-2, but just three minutes later Wycombe restored their two goal advantage when Hayes looped a header over a static defence and stranded Pidge from a couple of feet out back across goal into the far corner.

Dunne had an almost identical free kick on the half hour that was two yards further out that almost drew an identical result, but this time the keeper got down well to his left to save. Tully then crossed back Dunne's superb cross field ball for LDV to flick a header straight to the keeper before Nardiello worked an opening striking a fine dipping volley to the opposite top corner that the keeper acrobatically tipped over at full stretch.

Ben Strevens thought he'd added a fourth converting former City loanee Chris Hackett's low cross, but thankfully further City blushes were spared by a linesman's flag for offisde.

I say further City blushes, but there was still plenty to be embarrassed about, not least of all the five goals shipped in the last two games when all have come from self inflicted errors. Contrast that with the two well taken goals we have scored and that, in a nutshell, is why we are where we are: second from bottom, five points plus a shedload of goals away from safety having played a game more than today's opponents who sit fifth from bottom. Having said that, there's still eight games to and 24 points left to play for.

How many of those we'll end up with anyone's guess, but I'd guess it'll have to be a fair majority of them if we're to stay in League One for a fourth year running. It's till doable, but my goodness we're making a job of it. Here's to something at Tranmere before rounding the month off with the visit of Colchester in a fortnight's time.

    Data provided by Press Association