- Ninth, but a reason to look up for Exeter City Fans?
It may have been yet another season of ‘close but no cigar’ in East Devon, but there is plenty for City fans to be positive about.
The Grecians will be content with Matt Taylor’s first season in the charge of the club; his matter-of-fact approach has really been welcomed by the club. Taylor has been unafraid to voice his opinion on the team, shown by his comments on James Hamon’s departure and several free agent situations. He certainly seeks to improve the club in his own mould - that’s what you get with a hardened former Centre-back at the helm! His transparency has also gone a long way with the fans and ensured a somewhat smooth transition season from former boss Paul Tisdale. It will be interesting to see what Taylor can achieve in his second full season, given the evident resources at his disposal.
In a season that has seen the loss of the club’s top scorer, Jayden Stockley, plus Troy Brown to injury, Hiram Boateng to MK Dons and servant Christy Pym to Peterborough, there is still a lot of promise remaining in the squad. Stockley’s move to Preston NE left a gap in the City frontline, but Matt Jay and January signing Ryan Bowman showed they could certainly compete with their goals in the last part of the season. Jay’s speed and link up play paired with Bowman’s tenacity and work-rate could well form the attacking building blocks for City’s 2019/20 campaign.
City’s fullbacks, with 85 league appearances between them, have also shown their worth this season. Dean Moxey’s performances have been as solid as ever at left-back, despite earning himself a couple of ‘passionate’ early baths in the first part of the campaign. Pierce Sweeney has improved on the opposite side of defence, even bagging himself 4 goals in the process including a peach against Cheltenham in September. The 24-year-old’s third season at the club seems to have cemented him as one of the leaders in the dressing room, with his ability to provide crosses and also stay solid on the right. Sweeney has shown his prowess in the tenacious, as well as modern, side of a full-back’s game.
Captain Jake Taylor has also showcased his ability in midfield, whilst Lee Holmes remains a big part of City at age 32. These players have brought stability to a changing team – something I’m sure the Gaffer will be more than pleased about.
But the young talent coming through the club is perhaps most exciting. Archie Collins has been the brightest spark, showing very evident glimpses of his talent in his 33 appearances this season. Although Archie only scored once this campaign, that strike away at Swindon will surely be one he will never forget. I’m sure all City fans are hoping he can add a bit of consistency to his game, which could make the 19-year-old a match-winner.
Randell Williams has also gone under the radar. Having seen some of his fine performances for the youth team myself, Williams finally edged his way into the squad in the latter part of the campaign. Randell failed to net for The Grecians, but his progress should not go unspoken of. Part of the Retained List at the end of the campaign, Williams is obviously thought of highly by those at the club.
All in all, the departure of key men at the end of this campaign should not cloud the progression of certain players in the squad. City have a balance of youth and experience: a fine mix for an EFL side.
Undoubtedly, the season did not finish how City fans and management would have liked. Yet, it was perhaps what should have been expected. Injuries to Boateng and Brown undoubtedly affected the spine of the team, with City occasionally playing a back 3 in the absence of two first-team centre backs. Although Dara O’Shea’s loan signing plugged the gap somewhat, Brown was surely missed. To finish just one point of the play-off places without these two key players, and minus Jayden Stockley for half of the campaign, is still an achievement. You have to think, with a hopefully fit Brown at the back, the Grecians will surely benefit.
The season certainly had its highs. An early 5-1 mauling of Harry Kewell’s Notts County comes to mind, which certainly entertained the St. James’ Park crowd. City also welcomed Blackpool in an entertaining match at SJP, despite crashing out of the cup. I’m sure a stronger cup run will be on Matt Taylor’s mind going into next season.
A proud moment for all at City came with Jonathan Forte’s goal against Cheltenham Town, marking the 1000th goal in the ECFC Trust Era. The club was brought from the brink of financial implosion with the help of the Supporter’s Trust, which has earnt The Grecians the title of the longest established Supporter’s club in English football - It is safe to say City have come a long way since then.
The Centenary Remembrance campaign was also a success on the archival side of things, with the Walter Tull Project showcasing the plight of the first Black British Army officer who lost his life in March 1918. This comes in the same campaign as the launch of the ECFC Museum; a point of pride for all of those involved
|04/08/18||Carlisle United||H||3–1||4226||5||Law, Forte, Abrahams|
|21/08/18||Cambridge United||A||2-0||3662||1||Forte, Stockley|
|25 /08 /18||Milton Keynes Dons||A||0-1||7672||3|
|08/09/18||Notts County||H||5–1||3916||3||Sweeney 2, Stockley 2, A.Martin|
|15/09/18||Mansfield Town||A||2-1||4443||2||Moxey, Law|
|22/09/18||Cheltenham Town||H||3–1||3723||2||Sweeney, Stockley, Forte|
|06/10/18||Yeovil Town||A||2–2||4223||2||Stockley 2|
|13/10/18||Swindon Town||H||2–0||4506||2||Forte, Stockley|
|27/10 2018||Forest Green Rovers||H||1–2||4983||3||A.Martin|
|3/11/ 2018||Tranmere Rovers||A||0-2||6209||5|
|17 /11/ 18||Northampton Town||H||2–2||4332||6||J.Taylor, Stockley|
|22/12/18||Oldham Athletic||A||3-2||4079||6||Stockley 3|
|26/11/18||Yeovil Town||H||2–1||5974||5||Holmes, Stockley|
|29 /11/ 18||Grimsby Town||H||1–2||4956||7||Stockley|
|01/01/19||Swindon Town||A||2-0||6755||6||Forte, Collins|
|02/02/19||Milton Keynes Dons||H||3–1||5766||7||Law 2, J.Taylor|
|23/02/19||Crewe Alexandra||A||2-1||3841||7||J.Taylor, Jay|
|26 /02/19||Lincoln City||A||1–1||8529||5||Jay|
|16/03/19||Colchester United||H||3–0||3951||7||Jay, Holmes, Law|
|09/04/19||Macclesfield Town||A||1–3||1588||7||Bowman 2|
|13/04/19||Port Vale||H||2–0||4013||7||Law, Boateng|
|04/05/19||Forest Green Rovers||A||0–0||4537||8|
|Did not qualify for play off's|
Final Table 1.Lincoln City 46 23 16 7 73-43 85 2.Bury 46 22 13 11 82-56 79 3.Milton Keynes Dons 46 23 10 13 71-49 79 -------------------------------------------------- 4.Mansfield Town 46 20 16 10 69-41 76 5.Forest Green Rovers 46 20 14 12 68-47 74 6.Tranmere Rovers 46 20 13 13 63-50 73 7.Newport County 46 20 11 15 59-59 71 - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - 8.Colchester United 46 20 10 16 65-53 70 9.Exeter City 46 19 13 14 60-49 70 10.Stevenage 46 20 10 16 59-55 70 11.Carlisle United 46 20 8 18 67-62 68 12.Crewe Alexandra 46 19 8 19 60-59 65 13.Swindon Town 46 16 16 14 59-56 64 14.Oldham Athletic 46 16 14 16 67-60 62 15.Northampton Town 46 14 19 13 64-63 61 16.Cheltenham Town 46 15 12 19 57-68 57 17.Grimsby Town 46 16 8 22 45-56 56 18.Morecambe 46 14 12 20 54-70 54 19.Crawley Town 46 15 8 23 51-68 53 20.Port Vale 46 12 13 21 39-55 49 21.Cambridge United 46 12 11 23 40-66 47 22.Macclesfield Town 46 10 14 22 48-74 44 -------------------------------------------------- 23.Notts County 46 9 14 23 48-84 41 24.Yeovil Town 46 9 13 24 41-66 40
In 2018/19 the youth team played in the Football League Youth Alliance, they qulaified for Merit 1 by finishing in fourth place.
The Under 18's also won the Southern area cup final by beating Southend away on the 1st of February 2019.
|Football League Youth Alliance|
|08/07/2018||Friendly||Everton||Away||0-0||:||At Flinch Farm|
|15/07/2018||Friendly||Southampton||Away||1-1||Will Dean (pen)|
|18/07/2018||Friendly||Swansea||Away||3-0||Harry Gardner||James Dodd (pen)||Jay Stansfield|
|25/07/2018||Friendly||Barnstaple||Away||2-0||Lewis Wilson||James Dodd|
|04/08/2018||League||Plymouth Argyle||Away||1-0||Lewis Wilson|
|18/08/2018||League||Bournemouth||Away||3-2||Lewis Wilson 2||James Dodd|
|22/09/2018||League||Forest Green Rovers||Home||2-1||Tom Preece||Will Dean|
|26/09/2018||Cup||Swindon||Home||2-0||Frank Lovett||James Dodd|
|13/10/2018||League||Newport County||Away||4-1||Will Dean 2 (2 pen)||Louis Morrison||James Dodd|
|20/10/2018||League||Cheltenham||Away||3-2||Jay Stansfield||Will Dean (pen)||James Dodd|
|26/10/2018||Cup||Bristol Rovers||Away||4-1||Jay Stansfield 3||James Dodd (pen)|
|03/11/2018||League||Portsmouth||Home||3-0||Jay Stansfield||Nelson Iseguan||Cheick Diabate|
|01/12/2018||League||Forest Green Rovers||Away||2-4||James Dodd 2|
|08/12/2018||League||Yeovil||Away||4-0||James Dodd 2||A Trialist||Cheick Diabate|
|15/12/2018||League||Newport County||Home||2-1||Jay Stansfield||James Dodd|
|18/12/2018||League||Plymouth Argyle||Home||3-0||Will Dean (pen)||Og||Charlie Lawrence|
|05/01/2019||League||Bristol Rovers||Away||5-1||Jordan Dyer||Cheick Diabate||Jason Dodd||Theo Simpson||Og|
|11/01/2019||Cup||Northampton||Home||2-1||Theo Simpson||A Trialist|
|19/09/2019||League||Bournemouth||Home||2-0||Cheick Diabate||Theo Simpson|
|01/02/2019||Cup||Southend||Away||2-1||Theo Simpson||James Dodd (pen)|
|1||Oxford United U18||20||14||5||1||55||23||32||47|
|3||Exeter City U18||20||11||1||8||39||31||8||34|
|4||Yeovil Town U18||20||9||3||8||35||28||7||30|
|5||Swindon Town U18||20||9||3||8||42||45||-3||30|
|8||Bristol Rovers U18||20||7||4||9||40||42||-2||25|
|9||Forest Green Rovers||20||6||5||9||35||44||-9||23|
|11||Newport County U18||20||2||3||15||29||62||-33||9|
Merit 1 Results
|Qualified For Merit 1 by Finishing in 3rd place|
|16/02/2019||Merit 1||Stevenage||Home||2-2||Theo Simpson||Charlie Lawrence|
|23/02/2019||Merit 1||Swindon||Home||2-2||Lewis Wilson||Theo Simpson|
|02/03/2019||Merit 1||Southend||Away||1-1||Theo Simpson|
|09/03/2019||Merit 1||Bournemouth||Home||3-0||Theo Simpson||Lewis Wilson||Louis Morison|
|23/03/2019||Merit 1||Oxford United||Home||1-2||Louis Morison|
|30/03/2019||Merit 1||Peterborough||Away||1-2||Jack Veale|
|06/04/2019||Merit 1||AFC Wimbledon||Home||2-4||Lewis Wilson||Jack Veale|
|13/04/2019||Merit 1||Luton Town||Away||2-2||Cheick Diabate||Theo Simpson|
|27/04/2019||Merit 1||Northampton||Home||3-4||Will Dean||Theo Simpson||Og|
|29/04/2019||Cup||Wigan U-18||Home||0-2||:||Att. 390|
|04/05/2019||Merit 1||Yeovil||Away||1-0||Jay Stansfield|
Central League South
|18/09/2018||Forest Green Rovers||Home||7-0|
|05/02/2019||Forest Green Rovers||Away||0-3|
|Central League South 2018-19|
|Forest Green Rovers||13||4||0||9||23||39||12|
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