Exeter City manager Matt Taylor was full of praise for Ben Seymour following his performance in the 2-2 pre-season draw with Taunton Town on Thursday evening.
Ben netted City’s first of the night as City returned from a two-goal deficit to earn a draw in Somerset as he fired home from close range before Will Dean headed home late on in the match.
On the young forward’s performance, Matt explained: “I was really pleased with Ben Seymour, he was excellent all night, he never stopped. Joel Randall showed the pace that he’s got when he came on. Ben Chrisene got some more game time, who’s obviously a young boy, and we finished with a young team so that’s the most pleasing thing but there’s lots to work on.
“It was probably on the line or even over the line, but he (Ben) made sure that the ball ended up in the back of the net. It epitomised his performance all night, he was our brightest player in his body and mind, he was sharp in his movement and quick to the ball and he was trying to speed up some of the more senior ones on the pitch which I was absolutely delighted with.
“I’ve made a statement in terms of not bringing in another loan centre forward because that position is Ben’s at the moment. He’s improving on a daily basis by training with us and he scores goals. They might be the ones from one yard but they’re the most important ones, they’re the ones we’ve probably struggled with as a club to score over recent seasons so he’s close to it and he’ll certainly get an opportunity this season.
“Defenders don’t want to play against a stretch player, someone who plays on the shoulder and probably does his best work in and around the 18-yard box. It’s a real big thing for myself, how many touches our attacking players and our centre forwards have in the 18-yard box and generally Ben gets one or two each half and generally puts one away, that’s why his goal scoring record has been so good over the seasons. He’s still got work to do, he’s still got to get fitter and stronger, but we know the level that he’s got to play if it’s League Two and that is difficult. He’ll be up against some tough centre halves; their first yard is always in their head and they are physically strong and quick. Ben’s got huge potential and he’s shown it time in and time out now.”
Despite City fighting back to earn a draw on the road, the City boss was disappointed that his side weren’t able to dictate the game enough as they fell behind to a Town side whose goals could have been prevented in Matt’s view.
He explained: “I won’t lie, I was disappointed with the first 70 minutes of that game. I thought we were pretty flat and pretty poor in most areas of the pitch. Not just on the ball but physically as well, we let them dictate to us to a certain extent. It took an injection from Joel Randall and Ben Seymour’s overall performance which was a real positive aspect of that game. Those two got their rewards in the last 10 or 15 minutes of the game.
“This is always a difficult game because if the players that are out on that pitch generally think that they’re not involved this weekend (v Torquay United) then they generally get the picture that they’re not involved the next week (v Macclesfield Town) but that’s not the case. We’ve still got games in pre-season, we had the same last season, I want to see more from the group and more personality, certainly on the pitch for that first 70 minutes. Full credit to Taunton because they put us under pressure, but like I say, we let them dictate the game to us and it should really have been the other way round.”
Matt also says he is looking for the players to make the most of their opportunity in an Exeter City shirt to ensure competition for places amongst the City squad.
He continued: “Every day in training is an opportunity, every time they put an Exeter City shirt on is an opportunity. It wasn’t through a lack of trying but there’s got to be something in a player’s game which shows their identity and says to me: ‘select me on a Saturday, select me in the league’ because that’s ultimately when it counts.
“For the first 70 minutes we were a little bit disjointed, a little bit soft in areas and poor when we did win the ball. We’re disappointed with that but there’s a lot more to come from these players, and as disjointed as we were, that was probably down to the players who were out on the pitch. When you’re 2-0 down in the last 10 minutes you’ve almost got nothing to lose and suddenly, we had a bit of speed in our game.”
City’s second goal came after some sustained pressure towards the end of the match and followed Seymour’s goal, as well as his penalty which was saved by Lloyd Irish, and Matt felt that the side got most of their joy through set pieces.
“Attacking wise that was our biggest threat throughout the game, set pieces. Dan Green has done some fantastic work with our set pieces,” said Matt. “I was disappointed with their goals, they were soft goals to concede, but Will Dean went and attacked that ball for the equaliser and the first ball was a quality ball into an area where there has got to be bodies.
“We just didn’t get that enough in open play, our two best opportunities were balls into the middle of their box from a set piece. We’ve got to work our game into how we do that in open play because that’s where the likes of Alex Fisher and Ryan Bowman will do their work. I don’t think Alex touched the ball in the opposition box tonight which is something I need to work on as a manager, and he’ll need to understand as a player that I need my centre forwards touching the ball in the 18-yard box.”
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