We’re at half time of our semi-final clash with Exeter, 0-0 and conceding home advantage in the second leg. There’s still all to play for of course, with City still in with a shout of a second Wembley appearance in as many months.
I thought I’d have a look at what the Exeter camp thought, starting by chatting to Exeter supporter Dan Muxlow, then having a look at their media’s response to the first leg. Dan was impressed with Sincil Bank as an away fan.
“Sincil Bank is a good overall experience. There’s nice food along with decent stewards. The toilets are clean as was the stand, so cannot complain.”
Similarly, the atmosphere was something that impressed him, something sadly not caught on the Sky camera who didn’t once show a panoramic shot of a packed Coop Stand.
“It’s good to have a competitive atmosphere. No where else in the league at the moment has an atmosphere in which a whole stand/block joins in like you do. It is impressive to watch.”
On the pitch, Dan picked out the big man as the one player he felt offers a serious threat to Exeter’s progress, but if he could have one player from our side it wouldn’t be Rheady.
“Matt Rhead is a worry, he’s not the quickest or most talented but for hold up play and distractions he’s quality. If I could have a player from your team it would be Alex Woodyard. He’s a class league two midfielder picking passes out all over the pitch.”
Dan was surprised when I told him the media seemed to build up Jayden Stockley a lot. In the build up his ‘talent’ was the focus of much of the coverage, but as a home fan that wasn’t as evident.
“I haven’t read much about him myself, so I assume they big him up a lot! He’s a real aerial threat and class striker however I feel he has to play with another striker and not alone for support.”
Finally, with the critical game just three days away, I wanted to know how Dan thought Exeter might approach the game. There’s much speculation that they’ll use home advantage to attack, but having been home and away with the Grecians all season, Dan doesn’t agree.
“I’m hoping we shoot a lot to try to get an early lead and secure a place in the final. However, knowing Tisdale’s usual tactics at home I can see a defensive game trying to stop you from scoring and taking counter attacks when we can. I think we’ll grab it though, 2-1 Exeter!”
What I found interesting in Dan’s responses was the apparent negative approach that they feel Paul Tisdale might take. That could work against us, we struggle to break teams down at the moment and, if they do shut up shop, it could make for another tense and nervous affair. What price on a 0-0 draw and penalties?
Next page: a retort to the Exeter media