29th August 2009
Milton Keynes (Home)
Exeter City 1-2 Milton Keynes
Saturday 29 August 2009.
The Moxey Report
On yet another gloriously sunny afternoon at the Park is the summer saving the good days solely for when we're at home - City paid dearly for a disastrous opening couple of minutes to go down 2-1 to a decent looking MK Dons side in front of a stunned 5,333 supporters. As is the norms these days, once again City began with a lone striker and a packed midfield, but all of their plans to hold Dons off and then unleash the big guys in the second half flew out of the window within five minutes of the game kicking off. A mere 30 seconds were on the watch when MK took the lead, and in real ugly fashion too. A miss hit cross bobbled across the area, a scuffed shot deflected the ball into the path of Jermaine Easter and he shinned it into the net from three yards out. City looked for an immediate response with Liam Sercombe, Barry Corr and Marcus Stewart combining well to give a defender a tricky header to his keeper, which was almost their undoing as a lack of communication between the two almost saw the header looped past the advancing keeper and into an empty net. But while we thought we might soon get back into the game, such thoughts were dashed in the fifth minute when Dons went 2-0 up. The ball fell to Easter on the edge of the box where he turned sharply and rifled in a fierce low drive that Paul Jones got down well to, but he didn't get enough of an outstretched arm on the ball to prevent it trickling agonisingly over the line. In the tenth minute City thought they found a way back when Corr chased Stewart's through ball into the box and was bought to ground by a defender, but probably mindful of Eduardo's charge for deceiving a referee in the Arsenal versus Celtic match the other night, the ref decided he wasn't falling for the same and promptly issued Corr with a yellow card. A booking later described by a disgruntled Paul Tisdale as being booked for winning a penalty. In the 20th minute City had their best chance yet when Richard Duffy fed the ball out to Scott Golbourne who turned it inside to Stewart. He in turn flighted a good looking cross to the far post where Com came racing in to butt low from about eight yards out, but the keeper got down well to scramble the ball clear with the help of a defender or two. 20 minutes later Corr had an even better chance after beating the offside trap and latching onto a good ball through into acres of space. However, he rushed the chance unnecessarily and smashed the ball wastefully high over the angle of post and bar. Corr's third chance came in the dying seconds of the half, and was probably his best one of the three. Sadly though after collecting Alex Russell's excellent through ball he slipped as he went to strike and the keeper had an easy collect. After such an appalling first half when City were pretty much second best to everything, Tisdale made the positive move of immediately introducing Richard Logan and Craig McAllister at the start of the second half and switching formation to a 4-3-3. It had an instant effect. After McAllister blasted a Corr cross over in the opening minute, City pulled a goal back in the fifthRussell launched a huge outswinging cross into the box from deep where Corr was lurking at the far post to stab the ball back across goal into the opposite corner to make it 1-2 to MK. In the 10th minute a scrambled clearance found its way to Sercombe on the edge of the box, but under pressure from the defence he could only punt the ball straight at the keeper. Five minutes later Steve Tully and Sercombe combined to cross to McAllister at the far post, but his good looking header was hacked away from the base of the post. On 25 minutes Corr was withdrawn and Danny Seaborne introduced, who replaced Matt Taylor at the back while Taylor went up front for the remainder of the game. Then ten minutes later City had possibly their best and final chance to draw level when a Sercombe corner landed in the middle of a huge mass of players in the six yard box where it was cleared to Duffy stationed 20 yards out. Unfortunately with both time and space aplenty, he rather rushed at his shot and ballooned a fizzer high onto the Bank in somewhat wasteful fashion.
So a first home defeat of the season, and in the end somewhat deserved too for an appalling opening 45 minutes. We might well have been all over them in the second half, but they were happy to soak it up content in the knowledge that we'd already gifted them a two goal start. Sooner or later we're going to have to play a full 90 minutes, as only performing for one half per game just doesn't cut the mustard in a division where even the slightest mistake is punished in the most severest of fashions.
BBC Match summary and information –
Jermaine Easter struck twice in the opening seven minutes to set up MK Dons' victory over Exeter. There was a suspicion of handball in the build-up to the first goal in the opening minute, but with nothing given, Easter converted Luke Chadwick's cross. Easter then picked up a loose ball on the edge of the box and fired a shot that squirmed under keeper Paul Jones. Barry Corr missed three good chances to get Exeter back into the game, before he volleyed home on 51 minutes.
Exeter City manager Paul Tisdale told BBC Radio Devon: "It's going to be hard for us while we're going through this period of learning because we're going to make mistakes and we did today. "I was pleased with how we responded in the second-half because they're a very good side. "It's a very steep learning curve for us, but I'm philosophical about it because I know we're going to have to learn about our players at this level and what we can and can't do."
"First half we were first class, excellent. We played some fantastic football. We cut them open at times and should have scored three or four. "It's always hard to play against teams that just want to get it and launch it, launch it, launch it. "We've lost a few centre-halves height-wise, and they tried to play to our height."
Exeter City:- Jones; Duffy, Archibald-Henville, Taylor, Tully; Golbourne, Sercombe, Stewart, Russell, Saunders; Corr.
MK Dons: Gueret, Lewington, McCracken
Woodards, Howell, Gleeson, Johnson (Doumbe), Carrington, Chadwick, Easter (Ibehre), Puncheon (Partridge).
Attendance 5333 with 353 away fans.
Referee: A R Hall