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Taylor: "We scored too early"

City coach reflects on poor first half spell as Under-23s are held to a draw at home to Hull City

22 January 2018

Exeter City coach Matt Taylor bemoaned a poor first-half spell as his Under-23 side were held to a 1-1 draw at home to Hull City in the Premier League Cup.

The Grecians took the lead in the third minutes when Matt Jay crossed low for Kyle Edwards to fire home.

However, Hull City were level midway through the half when Liam Edwards fired home at the back post.

And while City did recover to put pressure on their visitors in the second half, Taylor felt it was that spell after they took the lead that cost his side all three points.

“It is a football cliché but I think we probably scored too soon,” he said. “We changed our style of play and didn’t quite play the way that the first team have been playing at home this season.

“The pitch is what it is and you have got to play a certain way on a pitch like that and it is not going to be pretty. You have just got to get bodies around the ball and we stopped doing that for half an hour in the first half and they got back in the game.

“Second half we were excellent without hurting their goal enough. Their goalkeeper made one save from what I can remember in the second half. We played the right way second half and started the game well but it is just that frustrating period in the first half.”

City looked the most likely side to win the match in the second half as Liam McAlinden went close and Kyle Edwards and Matt Jay both rattled the woodwork.

However, as City don’t have a game on Saturday they named a strong line-up and Taylor felt it was no surprises that they finished as the stronger of the two teams.

“We have got some older pros out there and physically they should be fitter than those younger lads,” he said. “We also played a certain way in the second half that probably saves your energy a little bit because everybody knows where the ball is going.

“So you are not running around chasing the opposition, you are going where the ball is. We broke on them several times in the second half and we just couldn’t quite finish them off with a bit of end product, but that is going to be difficult on that type of pitch.”

City are now a point clear at the top of the group, with Sunderland at home and Brighton Hove Albion away to face in their final two games of this stage of the competition.

They need to win at least one of those matches to be sure of qualifying for the knockout stages of the competition. However, Taylor says that should not be the players’ focus at the moment.

“We are a point clear with two games left,” said Taylor. “So they are two massive games. However, this group of players’ focus is the first team now. We have got no fixture this weekend but we have got Forest Green next up – a week on Wednesday – and then we have got a massive game at Luton.

“That is coming off the back of two wins against Coventry and Notts County. So the first team is the focus. These games are extra games, obviously you want to win every game you play in and qualify for the knockout stages but this group has got a lot of first-team players so their focus has to be on the next first team game.”

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