Scot reflects on derby defeat at the hands of Torquay
Following a 2-1 defeat at St James Park at the hands of local rivals Torquay United, City man Scot Bennett feels that the team need to pick themselves up quickly and prepare for the next challenge when Scunthorpe United arrive in Exeter on Saturday for what will prove to be a crucial encounter.
Bennett, who began the game upfield as a strike-partner to Tom Nichols, was set up for the first goal by the 20-year-old on the quarter-hour mark.
However early in the second half, the Gulls got back on terms when Courtney Cameron netted a fine free-kick from 22 yards, getting the ball up and over the wall and beyond Christy Pym in the City goal.
From Scot’s perspective, the cheaply-conceded free-kick was indicative of the reasons why Exeter were punished. Shortly after Ashley Yeoman was released with a direct ball upfield for what proved to be the winning goal.
“In the first half it didn’t look like we were quite comfortable, but the game plan was to allow them to have the ball because they were never really creating anything,” he explained. “We managed to get the counter-attack going and we cut through them a few times, and created chances.
“They were good at getting the ball down to hit the target man and having runners of them. Unfortunately we were napping in the first five minutes in the second half – it was a long ball over the top that the defence weren’t quite switched on for and the midfield weren’t quite close enough in the heat of the battle.
“It was a quality free-kick and you can’t do a lot about that, but the build-up didn’t have our players close enough and then it was a push in the back to concede a silly foul.
“We spoke before the game about how dangerous they were from set-pieces around the box, so we shot ourselves in the foot by giving him the chance to produce the quality that he showed.
“But we were still creating chances and we were still going forward. David Wheeler missed a good chance, and then he had another opportunity which if he had managed to catch it right could have been a goal. And there was another ball flashed across the face of goal that no-one managed to get on the end of.”
So next up for Exeter is the Iron, at 3pm on Saturday 26th April at St James Park, and Scot is keen to take the lessons from the Torquay reversal and move on quickly.
Scunthorpe are on a tremendous run of games without defeat since the arrival of manager Russ Wilcox, and will be aiming to get their promotion party underway in Devon next weekend.
City are one of four teams in Sky Bet League 2 to date that have turned over Scunthorpe – a 4-0 away win, no less – and Bennett is confident that the team can develop another gameplan to win this important fixture. He also feels that City need to pick up a few lessons on how to scrap their way past the clubs at the other end of the table.
He said: “Thankfully the results around us have gone our way today and the teams near us have lost, which gives us a chance again. It’s still in our hands, so we just need to win our games to be safe, and hopefully we can get the points we need against Scunthorpe.
“When we play against the top teams, they play football as well and that’s our game. With them trying to play, we can get the ball down and we can cut through the lines a bit more.
“Against the teams that are down and around us – like Torquay and Northampton – we need to start learning to play against these teams because we’re not picking up enough points against them.
“That’s the reason we are where we are. If we had the form we had against the top teams all year round, we would be fine.”
Despite the Iron sitting at the peak of the division – where a single point at the Park will realistically secure promotion, and all three would wrap it up for sure – it looks a daunting task on paper.
But Bennett feels that the style of play that City have produced against the strongest opposition has shown their potential this season, and he is sure that his side will come armed with a gameplan that could finally end the Iron’s lossless charge.
“We have to knuckle down now and forget about this as quickly as we can, and hit the ground running for the next couple of days and try to turn Scunthorpe over,” Bennett continued.
“It hasn’t been done in a while, but hopefully we can produce the form that we need to win the game and get the points that we need.
“The plan that we executed in Scunthorpe worked well – it’ll be a different game because we’re at home and we can’t let them have the ball as much, but hopefully Tis can set up a good gameplan and we’ll go out and execute it this time, unlike how we did today.
“It is in our hands and we need to get the points – we can’t rely on things in other games going our way because they’re not always going to do that.
“It is up to us – we’ll pick ourselves up. The boys have had a few words in the changing rooms and said what has needed to be said, and we’ll forget about that now and move on for the next few days.”