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Exeter match report
21 November 2015 18:02 Post ID: #71494
Argyle suffered a 2-1 defeat against Devon rivals Exeter City at Home Park.

Injuries to key players played a part in this defeat, any team would struggle with half a team missing. Reuben Reid, Luke McCormick, Peter Hartley, Carl McHugh and Harim Boateng are all regular starters and were hugely missed today.

We were not helped by a poor referee in Graham Scott, the result hinged on two decisions within seconds of each other during the first half.
Firstly, Jake Jervis raced away after Exeter defender Ribeiro had slipped and faced a one-on-one with the keeper, he was just about to pull the trigger when the ref bizarrely pulled Jervis back for a foul on Ribeiro. No-one else in the stadium saw the foul.

A few moments later Kelvin Mellor dithered in the penalty area and fouled Wheeler and the ref correctly awarded a penalty, it was a howler from Mellor when the simple task would have been to just clear the ball.
Debutant Christian Walton got his finger tips to Harley's penalty but instead of being one nil up just a minute earlier we were now one nil down.
Up until that point we looked comfortable, so thanks a bunch Mr Scott!

Exeter started the stronger and clearly had instructions to unsettle a new look Argyle team in the early stages.
A few Exeter corner caused panic in the Argyle area and Walton didn't look the most confident of keepers.

We slowly felt our way into the game, helped by a storming run from Nelson, he ran 60 yards as the Exeter defence opened up, courtesy of Jervis making a great dummy run, Curtis Nelson was clear through but his shot was saved by Olejnik in the Exeter goal.

After weathering the early storm from Exeter we settled down and looked in control of the game until that crazy decision from Scott.
After that Exeter's confidence went up while ours went down.

Just nine minutes after conceding we let Exeter score a second, the impressive Harley jinked his way through a couple of half-hearted tackles on the edge of the area and slotted his shot wide of the diving Walton. 2-0 and a very sloppy goal to concede.

Jervis raced clear following an Exeter corner but his final ball couldn't find Gregg Wylde, the story of the first half was our final ball was lacking.

For the second half Adams switched to a 4-1-2-1-2 formation with Ryan Brunt replacing the unfortunate Wylde, Craig Tanner now played behind the two strikers, Graham Carey and Josh Simpson formed the midfield and Oscar Threlkeld sat just in front of the back four.
The result was more attacking momentum but also we now missed the width of Wylde and Tanner with a lot of pressure on Mellor and Sawyer to get forward.

The change did make a difference and the crowd were now behind the team.

We got the goal we deserved when Threlkeld miss-hit a shot on the edge of the area and it bounced past Olejnik into the net. Game on!

Except we didn't really throw the kitchen sink at Exeter, after scoring we retreated and didn't put Exeter under pressure until the late closing stages, even then we didn't create clear cut chances and the game was gone, Exeter with the help of Mr Scott grabbed the win.

Even this excellent team struggles when a big crowd turns up, a trait from past Argyle teams.

The midfield had a poor game during the first half, Carey, Simpson and Threlkeld struggled against Exeter's neat and tidy passing game, this is where the game was won.
Threlkeld was superb in the second half when he played the defensive midfielder role, although we needed more from Simpson and Carey, however Carey nearly scored the goal of the season (again) when he volleyed just over from a tight angle.

Both new players played well, Walton looked nervous during the first 20 minutes of the first half but settled into the game and cleanly caught several crosses. Luke Croll looks a steady Eddy no nonsense type of defender, kicking the ball into row Z rather than take a risk, he's not the tallest but does give some pace and composure to the defence.

Mellor had a good game going forward but had a poor game when defending, Nelson looked unsettled without his usual partner.
Jervis had a better game as the lone striker and didn't flourish when Brunt partnered him.
Brunt did enough to again warrant a starting place, he held the ball up well and caused some problems for the Exeter centre-backs.

On a day when so many big players were put we needed more from the likes of Jervis, Carey and Simpson and they struggled.

Nevermind, we are still top of the league and should win the next three games.

Man of the match: Threlkeld.

Walton 6, Mellor 4, Nelson 5, Croll 6, Sawyer 6, Simpson 4, Threlkeld 7, Carey 5, Wylde 6, Tanner 5, Jervis 6, Brunt 6, T Harvey 5.
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