Matt Taylor admitted his players will have to learn quickly if they are to avoid a repeat of a Saturday’s 2-1 loss to Northampton Town.
The Grecians, who were without a number of first-team players, fielded a relatively young and inexperienced side for their match at the PTS Academy Stadium but fell 2-0 down to goals from Aaron Pierre and Andy Williams.
City did pull a goal back through Aaron Martin, but Matt Taylor was not happy with the way his side played.
“You are disappointed when you lose any game of football,” he said. “We didn’t quite play those difficult conditions well enough in that first period and we were sloppy in terms of that first goal. We needed to go in with some sort of a chance or an opportunity in that second period.
“We changed it at half-time, but we were changing it at 1-0 down. Then the second goal goes in and it is another kick in the teeth. We got ourselves back into the game, but we didn’t spend enough time close to their goal. They put us under pressure and we couldn’t match their physicality and their effective football. We couldn’t match it. A lot of our players might be young and slightly inexperienced but they have got to learn quickly what it takes to win games of football at this level.”
What bright spark was the form of Matt Jay, who continued his good spell in a City shirt by going closest to breaking the deadlock in the first half.
“Matt Jay was outstanding,” said Matt. “He did exactly what I asked of him to do and he probably had our best chances in that first period and they have put their bodies on the line in terms of blocking it and their keeper has made a save. That was a big moment and then we going and concede. So, it is bitterly disappointing because we are in control of that ball before it goes out of play. So, it is not a goal out of nothing and it is certainly something we can stop. It was the same story for the second goal. It is a little bit of inexperience but that is no excuse for our inability to understand what that game needed today.”
Matt tried to change things at half-time by making a double substitution, bringing on Lee Holmes and Hiram Boateng, but the fact that his side couldn’t get enough possession high up the pitch was a frustration.
“I had to have bodies on that pitch who could create something and Hiram and Holmsey gave us a little bit of structure in possession,” said Matt. “However, those moments were too few and far between. We couldn’t handle their balls down at our backline and we didn’t get any control from our top end of the pitch either.
“The middle of the pitch is normally where the game is won and lost, but if you have got no control at either end then it makes the game really difficult. We couldn’t quite get Hiram and Holmsey on the ball often enough. There were brief periods in the last 10 or five minutes when Northampton started to drop deep, but if anything they have had the better chances in the second half.”