Match 22
28th November 2009
FA Cup 2nd Round
Milton Keynes (Away)

City Bow Out Of The FA Cup 

Milton Keynes Dons 4 Exeter City 3 Report
by Pete Evans 

Exeter City suffered a heartbreaking 4-3 FA Cup defeat after throwing away a 3-1 lead at stadiumMK.

City found themselves one nil down at half-time before a double from Barry Corr and a fine finish from Adam Stansfield put Exeter 3-1 up. Then it all began to unravel, Sam Baldock added his second, Martin Devaney scored with his first touch before former Argyle man Jermaine Easter headed home the winner five minutes from timeDespite Adam Stansfield's goal on Saturday Paul Tisdale chose to stick rather than twist with Richard Duffy coming in for the suspended Steve Tully our only change. It was Don's striker Baldock who had the first chance for the home side infront of a sparse home crowd but he hit his shot straight at Andy Marriott. Then at the other end Corr had the ball in the net from close range but it was ruled out for offside. Question marks surrounded this decision and Corr seemed to be onside when he diverted Bertie Cozic's shot into Willy Gueret's net. Ince's side then upped the pressure, Chadwick and McCracken both heading wide when well placed. And they eventually made it count on 35 minutes when Aaron Wilbraham headed the ball into the path of Baldock and he poked a shot under the onrushing. Marriott from close range. Exeter failed to create any clear cut openings in the remainder of the half, Corr coming closest to an opening from Alex Russell's superb throughball but Darren Powell slid in and won the ball with a crucial challenge. But things changed at the interval. It looked like City were going to bow out of the Cup with a whimper but Tisdale's team talk paid instant dividends with two goals in the next ten minutes right in front of the travelling fans. The first attack of the second half came when Corr ran clear and strangely chose to cut inside instead of testing the keeper and his shot was deflected wide for a corner. The resulting set-piece was overhit but Ryan Harley picked up the ball at the far post, set himself and chipped an inch perfect right-footed cross into the box which was headed home by Corr. And four minutes later the game was turned on its head and not for the last time! Cozic held off Dean Lewington before Duffy's ball into the box found its way to Corr. The Irishman's shot was given a helping hand by Gueret onto the bar and it bounced down on the line before Woodards hacked it clear but the referee had given the goal. From our vantage point it was unclear whether the ball had crossed the line but it seemed like lady luck was favouring the Grecians. Stuart Fleetwood was then replaced by Stansfield while Duffy's dead leg meant he was replaced by Troy Archibald-Henville and the subs combined in style to pull City two clear. Archibald-Henville's long ball down the right flank put the on-form frontman clear and Stansfield made no mistake and on 67 minutes City looked to be in that Third Round draw. But Easter's knockdown allowed Baldock to make it 3-2 four minutes later, his low effort from inside the penalty area finding the bottom comer of Andy Marriott's goal. Ince had responded to Stansfield's goal by throwing on two subs who changed the course of the game: Easter and DevaneyAnd the latter headed home the equaliser with his first touch, a looping header after City headed a corner clear. City were on the ropes and a stunned away end couldn't believe how this dangerously open game was slipping away from their side. Corr was replaced by James Dunne as Tisdale looked to win the midfield battle and for a while it worked, but with just four minutes left that man Easter struck again.

A superb ball from the right flank was headed home superbly by Easter, who left City's captain flattened on the floor. The Welsh international scored twice at The Park in August and here he was the Grecians tormentor once more. A stung City side then threw everything forward. Matt Taylor became an emergency striker and the Grecians won a couple of corners but couldn't find that fourth goal. Exeter only really performed at their best for a 20 minute spell after the break but it was their failure to extend that productive spell that cost them. But with 12 goals in their last four away trips the Grecians are finding goals on the road easy to come by but the failure to close out the lead cost them in dramatic style. The search for Cup upsets took place across the country on the afternoon, but unfortunately the players, management and fans of Exeter City were the only ones left upset at Stadium MK this afternoon.

Match Day by Kirstie Bowden 

Franchise FC 28/11/09

F.A. Cup Second Round

Lost 4-3 

I still don't know how we threw it away.

Attendance: 4867

After our victory against Nuneaton in the first round of the F.A. Cup we had all been hoping for a good second round tie. Unfortunately we got MK Dons. So, on the last Saturday of November we made the relatively long trek up to Milton Keynes. We arrived at Stadium MK - a huge black ostentatious monstrosity of a stadium plonked in the middle of a retail park - at just gone 1pm which gave us plenty of time to explore the desolate, soulless surroundings. The cleverer amongst us headed away from the ground towards the bright lights of Ikea and Asda. The sillier, i.e. me, Mum, Dad and Marge, stayed and took a walk around the stadium. An MK Dons fan asked me if I was impressed. I responded "no". He didn't like that. I think he thought that having marble exterior walls, some extravagant foliage and the Milton Keynes Hilton hotel attached to the stadium would detract away from the deeply disturbing 'history' of MK Dons as a 'football club'.

It was pleasing, and somewhat cathartic for those like me, troubled morally by their very presence at Stadium MK, to have partaken in rousing renditions of "We own our football club", "You stole your football club" and "AFC Wimbledon" before the match had even started. As the teams came out on the pitch you'd be forgiven for thinking that MK Dons were playing themselves with the tannoy announcement stating "Welcome onto the pitch MK Dons". There was no mention of us. It was left up to the Exeter fans to provide the vocal accompaniment to the game. We carried on with the same sort of chants that preceded the game, with the likes of "where were you 10 years ago?" attracting nothing in response. Unfortunately they all piped up in the 35th minute when they scored.

Half-time was spent at the back of the stand on the concourse, trying to escape the cold. Stadium MK was the football stadium equivalent of one of JK Rowlings Dementors (wraith like soul-sucking creatures who feed off human happiness for those of you not into Harry Potter!) sucking hope and optimism from you. We were pretty much resigned to defeat.

Optimism started to reacquaint itself with the away end early on in the second half in the form of a Barry Corr (or Bertie Cozic as the tannoy would have you believe) header. With his second 4 minutes later came a sense of great hope. Outright delirium accompanied Adam Stansfields goal some 13 minutes later. City had turned it round. We were 3-1 up with just over 20 minutes to go. Surely we were full steam for the hallowed 3rd Round? A man behind me attempted to placate his excitable friends as the game restarted by saying "there's many twists and turns left in this game yet". Unfortunately he proved somewhat prophetic. No sooner had I decided which team I wanted in the third round (for the record it was Liverpool at home), MK Dons had pulled one back. I knew in that moment that against the might of the opposition we were doomed. Sure enough, their third followed some 5 minutes later. From being 2 goals clear, we were now 3-3. The game settled slightly and City fought back. A draw looked tantalising possible.

Then with less than 5 minutes left to play, up popped Jermaine Easter. As the ball approached his head I despondently said "that's going to go in", and sure enough it did. City kept fighting but MK Dons were resilient. The final whistle saw our F.A. Cup exploits come to a disappointing end for another season. To add insult to injury the tannoy announcer felt it best not to wish everyone a safe journey home, instead repeatedly announcing that they were number 54 and that we should look out for them in the draw the next day. I think you can probably imagine the sort of replies that were fired off from the depressed away end in response.

The bus was understandably quiet for some time on the way home. Through a mix of chocolate, cake (with one person needing 3 pieces to pull himself out of the post match tunnel of despair!), and in my case a burger (my morale was that low!) the bus livened up. Normal service resumed with decidedly humorous discussions of how to pronounce Ikea products and one mans espousal of great love for Barry Corr notable highlights. It had been a day of elation and disappointment where City gave the 2nd round a real good go, but it wasn't to be. There's always next year!



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