City’s laborious recent performances continued with a second successive home 0-0 draw against relegation-threatened Southend, another tepid display that again suggests the thrashing of Cambridge was an aberration. Matt Taylor was able to welcome Robbie Willmott back off the bench which at least has added to his attacking options, while Alex Hartridge returned to the starting XI on Saturday. Taylor knows that performances and results need to improve quickly and it’s only the bad form of some of the others around City in the table that is keeping his side in the playoff hunt, with a chance to make serious inroads against two playoff rivals in the coming days.
One of those in poor form but in the promotion hunt, Forest Green parted company with former City player Mark Cooper last week after four straight defeats sent them out of the immediate automatic promotion picture. Jimmy Ball oversaw a victory on Saturday over Scunthorpe, ending a run of just one point from the previous six matches. The main goal threat during the season has been Jamille Matt, but the behemoth striker has been out for the last three weeks or so and has therefore been unable to add to his tally of 16 this season. City will come up against a number of familiar faces – former captain Jordan Moore-Taylor has scored in the last two games, while ex-loanees Kane Wilson and Jayden Richardson are also expected to feature, the latter probably from the bench.
The reverse fixture on Boxing Day was the A. Collins show, as Aaron Collins’ opener was cancelled out by a stunner from City’s Archie in a 1-1 draw – this was the second fixture at the Park between the sides as City ran out 3-2 winners in the EFL Trophy. City’s last visit to the New Lawn was on New Year’s Day 2020 where Nigel Atangana scored then was sent off in a 1-0 win. City have a strong lead in league head to heads with eight wins to Forest Green’s two, seven matches finishing level. Details of the contests between the two sides can be found at: https://www.grecians.co.uk/wordpress/?p=9840
The officials for this match will be:-
Referee: Robert Madley
Assistant Referees: Conor Farrell and Samuel Ogles
Fourth Official: Ollie Yates
There are four Exeter games with Robert Madley in charge, the most recent being the 5-3 defeat at Cheltenham. Details of those matches are at: https://www.grecians.co.uk/wordpress/?s=robert+madley