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Match day thread: Exeter



  • If I ever decide to watch one of these again, someone call nurse please as my meds have failed.

  • I take Rob's pronouncement's with a pinch of salt as I feel he is still not quite grasping the cultural differences between the UK & US; (I worked for JPM so fully get the way American's think & their gung-ho approach to objective setting etc.) we are however, very much an under-promise over-deliver culture.

    As for where we find ourselves 4 matches in, I have to question our prep in pre-season and why we have so many recent injuries & players who are very clearly not fully fit.

    I get GA/RD have tried to change the way we play and this has clearly impacted our pre-season match selection policy as well as the recruitment approach & the type of player we are trying to get in, but it very much looks like some of the existing squad are struggling to adjust & this is affecting how they are performing. It does all feel very disjointed at the moment and whilst the return of Vokes & Taff(or a fully fit Forino) will help shore things up, until the new style is fully bedded in, we will continue to struggle. I, for one, feel that we should stick with trying to bed this in, as when it has clicked we look really good as a passing attacking unit. Unfortunately, we just are not yet in a place where we are doing it consistently and we look bereft of ideas for now when faced with a team that is prepared to press hard & high up the pitch.

    The one thing that is unforgivable to me, much as I like Dickenson & want him to succeed & don't blame him for the majority of goals we have shipped, is the failure to get an experienced keeper in before now, this would have given a level of control & confidence to the defense & would have papered over the cracks that are there (Grimmer out of form & JJ struggling).

    I think we will sooner rather than later work it out and everything will start to click, but I do feel giving the likes of Ipswich a 7 point lead already does mean we will struggle to make the autos, but could well sneak another play-off berth; which for a club of our size & history would still be an awesome achievement.

  • edited August 2022

    Haha, thing is (Brentford howler the obvious exception) he's still a perfectly adequate shot-stopper. Game has just evolved beyond him in other ways. I feel a bit sorry for him as he seems like one of the few United players who actually give a stuff. Anyway, sorry, derailing.

  • One thing we definitely are missing from Stocko is that he would have already given the defence several bollockings before that first goal went in.

  • One note of what I think could be taken as optimism. This is the 4th league game of the season and 4th defensive line up we’ve had. 5 and 5 if you include the cup.

    we had the heart of a solid back line ripped out with Stewart and stocko going and things got worse with injuries.

    I’ve always maintained a decent defence needs a solid pre season working together or 5 to 10 games working together to get things right. I stand by that.

    looking at the quality we do have our defence will get more solid than we have seen previously - i am confident of that. But it’s going to take time and playing together.

  • That was a shocking performance tonight and we looked disorganised, unfit and lacking experience and leadership. Let’s not get too ahead of ourselves though, if we have everyone fit and bring in a first choice keeper we’ve got a good side. Add a keeper, McCarthy, Tafazolli, Obita, Thompson and Vokes into the side and we’re probably top 10 at least. For me, the areas of concern:

    Goalkeeper - a lot of people have danced around this but Tyla is just not ready to be a first choice keeper. I was happy to give him a chance and gain some experience but he’s not good enough at the moment. As much as some want to label it hyperbole, goalkeepers do set the tone for a team defensively and we have been a shambles at the back in both of our away games and for the very little defending we had to do against Shrewsbury. Have the defenders lost ability or has something else changed? We’ve let in 8 goals from 12 shots on target this season. A really good keeper makes saves you wouldn’t expect them to make. In 5 games, Tyla has not make any saves I wouldn’t expect any professional goalkeeper to make. I really like Tyla and think he has potential, I think he has a good aura about him and he is decent with his feet, but I think he needs a season as a number 1 in non-league to get his experience and confidence up before really challenges to be a professional number 1.

    Centre Back - we have been light at least one centre back for over a year now. We tried very hard, including bidding a fee, to sign Lavelle from Morecambe last season so we obviously felt it was an issue then. Chris Forino has come through and did offset that issue to a degree, but he is still a young lad and cannot be expected to be consistent. He had a poor game today but has generally been excellent. I think he has an absolutely massive future in the game and I genuinely could not imagine us having a better young central defender, in the air, on the ground, or physically, but he is still rightly learning the game. This Summer we have lost Anthony Stewart and have only just replaced him - well worth the wait by getting Mawson in, but it’ll take a bit of time to get him up to speed (but some of his passing today was different class). I am really surprised we haven’t got another specialist CB option in on a free this summer. Wakely is nowhere near League 1 standard and I’d love to have seen Aaron Pierre back in on a free.


  • 2/2

    Back up striker - our general game plan with Sam Vokes is to play quite direct into the final third and then play the ball around from there. A really effective game plan, but currently in the squad we have no option to without Vokes. Mellor looks a decent prospect but it more a tricky winger, wide player, number 10. Al Hamadi looked decent for a few minutes today and has some potential but today equally showed in the air was not a strength. Ditto for De Barr. Hanlan is a cracking player but is genuinely poor in the air. David Wheeler is not a striker generally, although he did score a cracker today. If we really saw him as that, he wouldn’t have started at right back for the first two games. So we need a back up for Sam Vokes. Bayo was perfect for a few minutes here and there but we could do with someone in that mould of player - obviously he won’t be Bayo, but just as an alternative option.

    JJ - I was personally happy for JJ to extend for this year but felt he was best used as an understudy for Obita. I’m really concerned how much he is playing instead of Obita, and his performances have been quite poor recently. Obita was also poor, particularly against Bolton, but I feel he needs a few games to bed in again and will be the better bet medium to long term.

    Injuries - the sheer number of injuries cannot be a coincidence surely. I would say injuries wise we have always suffered more than our fair share under Gareth, probably due to the demands we place on the players physically, but this seems to be unprecedented this season. I wonder if this is just a result of the style of play/training methods and we just need to accept the rough (injuries) with the smooth (the generally excellent, high energy, performances) but it is frustrating.

    Hopefully in the coming weeks we can address the above. Let’s keep the faith and I’m sure Gareth and the team will turn it around.

  • I remember when Taibi made a mistake like De Gea and never pulled on the shirt again. That's the problem at United now. They get away with murder (I said that in a Scottish accent like Fergie)

  • Agree with most of that, other than I expect the number of injuries is just a coincidence.

  • Concerning to hear about the lack of a discernible formation again tonight. We looked a right mess at Bolton, but seemed to sort it out against Northampton and in the first half on Saturday.

    and as others have mentioned, i was worried about the lack of intensity in our pre season schedule, it seems like that’s caught up with us too.

  • edited August 2022

    I still think it was very odd that that there was basically no reaction to the play-off final. For me, that's where the underlying sense of offness about the summer stems from. Idk about anyone else, but I've not felt this disconnected from the club in quite a long time either.

  • Quite right. I’ve actually heard a rumour from a very reliable source that Bishop had lined up a 12 month rental in Marlow, which if true shows how absolutely shafted he, Gareth and the club as a whole have been. Though, sadly I do still believe we should have 2x experienced keepers on the books if serious about promotion and loaning out our young keepers as much as possible for their development in the right leagues etc

  • Yeah actually that was odd when you think about it. I can’t remember the comparison to the Southend final defeat though if I’m honest

  • edited August 2022

    I'm sure everyone felt like crap after that, and you wouldn't have expected the club to dwell on it, but it was pretty much radio silence and I don't think there was the level of hype-building we've come to expect for the start of a new season.

  • It was a weird, flat end to a stirring season that bled into a very flat, quiet early summer on the club's part. What a sliding doors moment that final was!

  • Yeah, sorry to dredge that day up 😬

  • I do agree with that. There was barely a match report let alone any analysis, interviews etc

    It was odd

  • yeah, seems like GA has a appriach which unfortuntely the fans are not considered , he says on the right things about the fans , that we are brilliant however i suppose the proof is in the pudding, while the team are winning, he is fully justified however the season has started badly so the fans are more likely to get on his back - i want to reiterate that he has done wonders with Wycombe and hope thsi continues

  • It's strange to think we won a playoff final starting the likes of Alex Samuel and Matt Bloomfield, who are limited footballers but exceptional leaders and characters, and then played and lost a very flat second final playing a much more talented lineup. A much-maligned Allsop was a hero in the first one, while the wildly popular Stocko had an unfortunate part to play in the second. I love both teams, but this is just more a comment on how it is a bizarre old sport! I still can't quite get my head around how quiet the whole team was for the Sunderland game.

  • Hang on, I don't think you can blame Gaz for lack of output from the media dept

  • edited August 2022

    One more comment on today's match - you know it is going to be a long game when it looks like there are twenty opposition players on the pitch!

    (Thinks for a moment). Can someone go back and make sure Exeter did not play a 7-7-6 formation?

  • The first half was as bad as I've seen us play in recent years. Apart from 1 brilliant pass from Mawson and a brief reaction at the end of the half we were a mess. Set up all wrong and not at all cohesive or playing with the usual togetherness of a Ainsworth side. Was very frustrating playing hopeless balls forward and eventually this got Exeters tails up. They pressed us well and that confidence/momentum saw them looking comfortable.

    We briefly saw what we can be capable of in that second half but another sloppy set piece goal conceded and our heads were down, Exeter were loving life and we allowed them to look a class act. I'm sure they'll do just fine in this league but at 2-1 they were absolutely there for the taking. But after watching tonights game I'm starting to doubt that even with Vokes starting, whether we would have an edge over Exeter. I'm not so sure.

    Players look lost in there positions and we are not seeing anywhere near the best from our creative players. Our defensive players are making terrible passes and giving us no platform to build attacks. Tyla is doing his best but naturally other players are over compensating trying to protect his goal and not focusing on their own roles and responsibilities. It's a real shame.

    Theres plenty of time sure, but a sudden change of fortunes doesn't appear obvious to me.

  • edited August 2022

    Plus everyone probably went on a well deserved holiday, hence the silence?

  • Didn't you know Ainsworth insults the fans and Rob rinses ST holders? Quarterwandererz8082 has been saying it for years now.

  • To be fair, it's not been something GA has done in the past (not being transparent about injuries). Perhaps it's an American "thing?"

    Am I imagining it or has Pete C been pretty quiet compared to usual?

  • edited August 2022

    Irrespective of the results, I do think this past year has had a strange feel to it, and I mostly put it down to losing four L2 stalwarts in such a short space of time - Bayo, Blooms, Stewart and Kashket. They had been with us through so many ups and downs (mostly ups, let's face it) that losing them all in the space of a season just gives everything a very odd, transitional feel to me - and that is down to how much joy those four brought to us, rather than an indictment on anyone or anything else. Well over 1000 matches between them, all part of going from L2 to the Champo. Stewart scoring at Wembley to help us get to the promised land. Scotty scoring our first ever second tier goal. Bayo, well, being Bayo, and Blooms will always be 'Mr. Wycombe'. I challenge any club to lose that type and quality of group and feel as though anything is remotely the same!

  • edited August 2022

    Very quiet. Had a Twitter convo with him over the secrecy over contract lengths and since then not really a peep. Maybe that’s my fault.

    I had also thought he spent ALOT of time over here during the pandemic and really got stuck into things. Maybe he’s (correctly) spending time with his family. Couldn’t blame him for that tbh.

  • I always thought losing David Stockdale was a big blow but you can’t underestimate the loss that Anthony Stewart has been. He’s settled in very comfortably to Scottish Premiership football, which is not to be derided in any way as there’s some good stuff played in that league now.

  • edited August 2022

    Have to admit, this was raised a while back and I thought it was natural they all went quiet - straight into planes for holidays etc after and not wanting to dissect the loss in public too much.

    With hindsight, it does seem the wind was really taken out of the sails and been a bit in the doldrums since.

  • Where exactly was Grimmer off to for the second goal? My word.

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