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💬 Matt Taylor: "If they have got a shirt, I suggest they try their hardest to keep it."

City manager disappointed with players' performance against Hartlepool United

1 December 2019

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Exeter City manager Matt Taylor said that there weren’t enough good performances all over the pitch as the Grecians let a two-goal lead slip against Hartlepool United at St James Park.

The Grecians lead through Ryan Bowman’s 21st-minute header before Nigel Atangana added a second just before the half-hour mark, before the game changed as Hartlepool goalkeeper Ben Killip produced a miraculous triple save before the visitors countered and Nicky Featherstone found the top corner from distance.

The tie was levelled in the 78th-minute when Nicke Kabamba converted from close range, and while City pushed for a winner – going close through Randell Williams and Jake Taylor - it ultimately wasn’t to be.

“I wasn’t comfortable at half-time," said Matt. "I didn’t think we were playing particularly well despite being 2-0 up and there was certainly a threat about the opposition today. The goals aren’t calamity goals but poor goals from our point of view, compounded in terms of the first one where we had three opportunities to put the ball in the back of the net and make the tie 3-0, they go up the other end and score.

“The second goal is a really poor mistake, but there was a softness across our aspects of play today – in possession, we didn’t make enough forward passes, played too safe in terms of backwards passes too often from our midfield and generally didn’t compete enough when the ball was bouncing around.”

City will now have to go to Hartelpool United for the replay and right the wrongs, but Matt will be asking his players for a much better performance than they showed today. 

"The game against Hartlepool is a chance to right some wrongs," he said. "However, that is three games away – we’ve got Oxford and then Northampton to come so they’ve got to concentrate on the next game, if they’ve got a shirt I suggest they try their hardest to keep it because there wasn’t enough good performances today. They’ve all got to take a collective responsibility along with myself as manager, so we’ve got to improve certain aspects and we’ll start doing that on Wednesday.”

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