Julian Tagg, in his monthly column for the Express & Echo, talks about the end of the season, Ollie Watkins and Exeter City Women's season so far.
There are a handful of games left, we’re second in the league, what could possibly go wrong….?
Optimism and pessimism are constantly pulling me in both directions: one minute I think we can do it, and the next I see the gates of Wembley looming and that all too familiar ‘play-off feeling’.
We’ve had a few great results and some hard-won games, with 14 points from seven matches this month alone. The squad has been absolutely tireless, resolute and determined until the last minute of every game. And the fans have been amazing and SO involved from the beginning to the end of every match; from those dedicated Grecians who travel the length of the country on Tuesday nights to everyone roaring the team on at St James Park. The Big Bank was rocking on Saturday for our win against Stevenage, which attracted a crowd just short of 6,000 – including 226 scouts, who were also very vocal!
There’s the small matter of Newport away this Saturday. Our allocation of 1,030 tickets has sold out, so you’ll have to follow from afar – you can get the iFollow audio only feed from the club’s website.
The accolades have been coming thick and fast this month as well. Sam Stubbs, who scored his first two goals for City against Stevenage, was named League Two Player of the Week by The Lower Tiers, and his goals surely contributed to us sitting at the top of Playmaker Stats league for the most headed goals this season. That boy Stubbs and his goal-scoring partner in crime, Jevani Brown, were also named in the Sky Bet League Two Team of the Week. And fantastic to see Callum Rowe playing so well after being called back from his loan, being named Man of the Match on Saturday.
If you were at the game on Saturday, you might have seen Hughie and Freddie running around the pitch. These amazing boys are raising money for hospitals across the country by running around every ground across the country after Hughie was diagnosed with leukaemia in 2020. City fans dug deep and contributed £900 to the boys’ appeal, which has already raised more than £180,000 and they’re only six grounds in!
At either end of the football stratosphere, we’ve got our homegrown talent doing the business. Ollie Watkins collected his sixth cap for England when he came on in the game against Switzerland on Saturday, and, at the other end, our two players out on loan are also doing incredibly well: Sonny Cox scored a hattrick and Eli Collins (you may be familiar with his brother) was named man of the match for their respective teams on Saturday.
And the Exeter City Women got back to winning ways with a 3-1 victory over Chesham away on Sunday. But it’s not just about the football, Captain Manfy Sharpe and Jack Sparkes took the time out to support Exmouth United Girls who were dribbling a ball 10 miles to raise money to support children in Ukraine.
Our partner charity, Exeter City Community Trust, continue to do their amazing work across Greater Exeter: from after school clubs and education courses to running events and health and wellbeing activities, they are out and about delivering their work every day of every week of the year! A couple of youngsters were even recommended for Academy trials after being spotted at the half term holiday clubs!
We’re into single figures for the games now, with just four home matches remaining, the next one being the Good Friday game against Colchester Utd. Come and join us at the Park – and don’t forget, the future’s bright, the future’s red and white!