16 December 2006.
THE VIEWS OF ANTONY MOXEY
Saturday 16th December 2006
F.A. Carlsberg Trophy Round One
Exeter City 3 Heybridge Swifts 0
So City ease through to the second round of the FA Trophy with a comfortable 3-0 victory over Heybridge Swifts on a gloriously bright and sunny afternoon at the Park in front of 1576 loyal supporters. As is only to be expected given the two division gap between the teams, it was City who started brightest and with the most purpose. In the third minute a Carlisle corner from the left was wastefully headed wide by Mackie when completely unchallenged, and minute later a Mackie knockdown into the path of Stansfield was blazed equally as wastefully over. It took until the tenth minute for Swifts to have any meaningful possession, and they nearly took a shock lead because of it: a striker found some space in a crowded City penalty area and struck a firm shot towards goal but fortunately Paul Jones was alert to the danger and claimed well at his near post. City dominated possession from then on, and had a virtual monopoly on the action, but strangely without really testing Swifts' keeper. Travelling supporters breathed a huge sigh of relief in the twentieth minute however, Cozic feeding Jones out wide on the left from a central position who in turn fired in a low driven cross that Mackie flashed achingly wide of the far post. Mackie was again involved moments later after Ada's strong run from deep, shrugging off challenges as he progressed, was laid off to him whereby Mackie ran round the outside of his covering defender before fizzing a spectacular drive over the angle of post and bar.
Eventually though City got their just rewards with five minutes of the half remaining. After a sustained and controlled spell of pressure, the ball fell to Gill about thirty yards out just to the left of centre. He let fly with a ferocious strike, but as the keeper dived to his left Mackie sublimely deflected his drive into the roof of the net to give the poor keeper no chance from about fifteen yards and put City 1-0 ahead at the interval.
Manager Tisdale's half time message must surely have been more of the same, stay focussed and try and nick an early goal, and in the third minute that's
exactly what happened. City forced a corner on the right which Billy Jones rolled to Carlisle stationed on the corner of the box. Carlisle held the ball superbly and waited and waited and waited for Jones to run round the back before guiding the ball to his left. Without breaking stride and in one single fluid movement, Billy smashed an unstoppable piledriver into the far top corner from twenty yards to score a quite fabulous goal and give City an unassailable 2-0 lead. With ten minutes gone, and an important run of fixtures looming large after Christmas, Tisdale decided it was time to
give Edwards and Stansfield a well earned rest and to give Todd and Phillips some much needed match time in their stead. hour to go after cruelly Happily the missing majority of Heybridge fans eventually made it to the ground with just half an being held up in traffic and a big well done to the club for apparently letting them in for free and their noisy but much welcomed arrival buoyed Swifts into their most productive spell of the match, forcing a series of corners.
In the twenty first minute good work from Ada and Mackie down the right saw the ball with Carlisle ten yards in from the touchline and ten yards out from the goal line. Now I'm not sure whether it was deliberate or a mishit cross, but he drove in a wonderfully swerving, dipping ball to the far post that the keeper somehow clawed away from the top corner for a corner.
In the next minute Moxey robbed a suicidally dawdling defender in the box and crashed a drive on goal that the keeper parried well, but unfortunately snatched at the rebound somewhat and succeeded in guiding the ball not only past the keeper but the far post as well.
On twenty eight minutes a most welcome introduction with Billy Jones making way for exciting youth product Matt Bye for his first senior appearance of the season. As a result of City's final substitution Moxey went to cover Jones' left back spot as Bye took Moxey's left midfield position.
It looked as though the final quarter of an hour would end up being something of a non event: City didn't want to risk anything with the game won and the hard-working Swifts were simply running out of steam, but with the board about to be raised showing three minutes of stoppage time Cozic, Phillips and Mackie broke forwards through a beleaguered Heybridge midfield. Cozic swept the ball left to Phillips who barged his way into the area before crashing a powerful drive goalwards. His shot was well saved, but with the keeper lying prone Phillips unselfishly rolled a low cross into the path of Cozic who'd continued his run and had the easiest task of sidefooting home into an empty net from a yard out to make it 3-0.
It wasn't all over though, as deep into stoppage time Gill exchanged passes with Carlisle before delivering a sumptuous cross to the far post where Matt Bye - comfortably the smallest player on the pitch magnificently rose highest to nod agonisingly over. So that was that and onto the second round. In truth this was an easy victory, and other than a scare early on, one that was never really in doubt. I suspect the plan was to control the game in the first half without giving anything away and then hit them in the second as they would inevitably begin to tire. If it was, it worked almost perfectly and the manager can be well pleased with not only the result but the manner in which it was achieved.
Exeter City 3 Heybridge Swifts 0.
Saturday 16 December 2006.
Referee Matt Philpott
FA Trophy first round.
Exeter: Paul Jones, Billy Jones, Gill, Mackie, Stansfield, Cozic, Edwards, Ada, Richardson, Moxey, Carlisle.
Subs Not Used: Rice, Woodards, Todd, Phillips, Bye.
Goals: Gill 38, Paul Jones 49, Cozic 88.
Heybridge: Gay, Barber, Ian Cousins, Shinn, Wiles, Nethercott, Neil Cousins, Keeval, Marks, Jolly, Burrell.
Subs Not Used: Richards, Bowyer, Chandler, Francis, Hilaire.