Notts County (a)
Notts County 0 Exeter City 2.
Saturday 12 February 2011.
Referee Craig Pawson
Attendance 6176 with 414 City fans.
On the road with Kirstie bowden
Well And Truly Delivered
Unsurprisingly, the first topic of conversation on route to Notts County was "the JPT shambles". Discussions were not as cathartic as I had hoped instead serving to chip away at an already perilously low morale. Thankfully, the usual mix of bus based hysterics and biscuit binging soon put paid to that. With an early arrival looming, nearing Nottingham someone suggested a sightseeing tour to fill the time. On the basis that the only sight we could come up with was Sherwood Forest the idea was vetoed! Soon enough we arrived at the ground and parked up on the wonderfully named "Incinerator Road" where a fair few Grecians set off on their own sightseeing tour, to Hooters.
Inside the ground I committed the cardinal sin of bringing Nottingham Forest into a conversation with a steward. It wasn't a particularly positive move for inter-club relations. They may be their nearest - you can see Forest's ground from County's - but they are certainly not their dearest!
As kick-off approached the away area was goaded into 'singing up' by a group of gobby children sat in the family stand. (Unbelievably a steward was later despatched to them to deal with their repeated obscene gesturing!)
The game didn't really get going until the second half. With just 54 minutes on the clock City took the lead. Goalscorer Steve Tully, celebrating right in front of the 414 away fans, looked almost as surprised as we did! Optimism for a victory was tempered by our own acknowledgement that for City 1-0 leads often end up meaning very little. In a welcome break from tradition it was the opposition fans who were most annoyed with the referee They'd serenaded him with "You don't know what you're doing" in the first half, and continued to regularly jump to their feet enraged by his decisions. A superb 73rd minute header from Matt Taylor took us to dream landWe celebrated by punching the airMatt celebrated by punching the corner flag! As the game restarted "2-0 to the Exeter" boomed out loud and proud. I normally abstain from such chants on the basis that they are normally the kiss of death but given the rarity of the occasionI joined in regardless.
Entering the dreaded last 10 minutes, with City playing with a real sense of togetherness optimistically turned to my Mum and said "surely they can't mess this up now?" The home fans were leaving in their droves. "Is there a fire drill?" sang the away fans.
Encouraging chants of "Come on City" rang out as we entered the 91st minuteHaving been transfixed by the seconds ticking down on the scoreboard, I'd missed the board go up and had no idea how many minutes had been added on! With victory in our sights the away fans jubilantly sang "Tisdale give us a wave" and he did. Unfortunately our "Incey give us a wave" chant was less successful!
The referee kept teasing us by looking at his watch and playing on, before finally, after a long 4 and a half minutes, blowing his whistle. The team came over and celebrated more than we did! Never in recent years have City gone into a match owing the fans a performance so much. They well and truly delivered.
Back on the bus spirits were high. We sped back to Bristol in a successful attempt to beat the scheduled 8pm closure of the Avonmouth Bridge. Not even a 45 minute stop (due to the drivers hours running out) and being diverted off the M5 at Cullompton (due to the new bridge being moved into place) could dampen our mood. For once, football hadn't ruined the day!
BBC match report –
Goals from Steve Tully and Matthew Taylor helped Exeter pick up their first away win since November at the expense of a lacklustre Notts County.
Jamie Cureton was denied twice before Tully broke the deadlock when he fired in after John O'Flynn's shot was saved.
The lead was extended when Taylor powerfully headed home Ryan Harley's corner as the visitors continued to dominate proceedings.
County's best chance came in the last minute when Lee Hughes struck the post.
Notts County assistant manager Alex Rae told BBC Radio Nottingham:
"We wanted to start all guns blazing and to get out the traps early doors but it never actually happened like that.
"I think part of the problem is that we've lost a couple of wide guys.
"We lost Thomas Ince and we also lost Ben Davies, which gave us natural width which could get down and get to the byline."
Exeter City manager Paul Tisdale told BBC Radio Devon:
"It was an important game, it's not an underestimation to say it was a very big game because we had a very disappointing week last week.
"Whichever way you look at it we needed a bit of a pick-up today and we certainly got that - the players were totally committed.
"I'm really pleased with the togetherness of the team today, not that we've not had it before, but it could have been called into question if we had come here and had a weak performance."