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It Gets Worse!
By: Rob Sedgwick
TOWN plummeted to a new low after being unceremoniously dumped out of the FA Cup by non-league Exeter City, in a game they can have few complaints about losing. A goal early in the game by Santos Gaia was enough to see the Grecians go through, and Town once again had a player sent off.
Town played their customary 3-4-3 formation, with Rob Jones continuing in defence and Russell Slade reverting to his tried, trusted but barren threesome of Sestanovich, Parkinson and Reddy up front. Pinault was recalled alongside Terry Fleming in central midfield, in what was a near return to the starting XI of the first few games of the season - with the exception of Dean Gordon.
Early in the game Town were put under the cosh through a succession of back-to-back Exeter corners, none of which they looked very confident with, and the second of which was very nearly a Fleming own goal. From the fourth of these corners a low ball into the box ended up with the unmarked Santos Gaia, who scored from about six yards out.
Danny Clay should have doubled the Conference side's lead when his shot went wide of the goal, although he was in a clear scoring position. Shortly prior to that a clever run and shot by Andy Parkinson led to a good save by City's Martin Rice.
Shortly before half time there was a "handbags" type scuffle near the touch line following a foul. Reddy was singled out by the referee, but was just given a long talking to.
In the last few minutes of the second half several defensive mistakes, predominantly by Rob Jones - who had an appalling first 45 minutes - almost led to several Exeter goals. But Town survived to go into the break only one goal down.
Early in the second half Parkinson missed Town's best chance of the game when a superb cross from Reddy just needed side-footing goalwards, but the ball went just over the bar.
Reddy was booked ten minutes into the second half for dissent, and Fleming following the temperamental Irishmen into the book within seconds.
As Town pushed forward hoping to get an equaliser Colin Cramb came on in place of John McDermott, with Andy Parkinson dropping back into the wide right position.
Within twenty minutes Town were down to ten men after Reddy was booked for kicking the ball away following a foul by the former Sunderland striker. A stupid sending off which gave the Mariners a very tough task to draw level.
In the last few minutes of the game Town put Exeter under a lot of pressure, but in the end it was the Conference side who ended up deserved winners. Town would probably have lost this game even with eleven men. Earlier in the season Town were unfortunate to lose in many of their defeats, but in the last two games they have deserved and got nothing.
Town now simply have to beat basement side Kidderminster at home next week. They will also be hoping Terrell Forbes is found Not Guilty in his Old Bailey court case, which starts next week!
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