A 0-0 draw at lowly Grimsby may have been considered two points dropped, especially after having a penalty saved, but that draw extends City’s unbeaten league run to eight games ahead of another tricky away match against a side whose home form is very strong. One notable returnee to the bench on Saturday was Craig Woodman, while Chiedozie Ogbene had clearly not recovered from the injury picked up against Swindon. Matt Taylor decided to stick with two up front at Grimsby, having tended to favour playing a lone striker away from home generally, however with Crawley’s home form Taylor will likely switch back to one up top with Jonathan Forte presumably making way for Lee Martin while Jordan Tillson may return for Lee Holmes.
Crawley sprung a surprise when they lost Harry Kewell to Notts County in appointing a foreign manager with zero managerial experience in Gabriele Cioffi, but this gamble appears to be working quite well, at home at least, as the Red Devils have won every home league match under his management (while losing every away match), culminating in a 4-1 thrashing of high-flying Newport on Saturday. Kewell had made a number of decent looking signings during the summer (compensating for the loss of Enzio Boldewijn) including George Francomb, Dominic Poleon and Romain Vincelot, but the standout player so far has been Oli Palmer, who has scored eight goals this season. Another summer signing, Ashley Nathaniel-George from Hendon, has scored three times from six starts.
Crawley were one of the few sides last season to have a positive record against City, taking four points. The corresponding fixture saw Crawley overcome an insipid City 3-1 despite going a goal down to Dean Moxey as a penalty from Payne and a Roberts double sealed the points and Crawley’s first ever win at home against City. The return at the Park saw Stockley’s double sandwiched between strikes from Boldewijn and Yorwerth. It is City who have the league head to head advantage with eight wins to Crawley’s two, four matches finishing level. Details of all those encounters can be found at http://www.grecians.co.uk/wordpress/?p=9487
Referee: John Busby
Assistant Referees: Paul Kelly and Conor Farrell
Fourth Official: Jack Packman
John Bust has refereed two Exeter games, including the FA Cup tie with Luton two seasons ago. More information at http://www.grecians.co.uk/wordpress/?s=busby