Last Saturday’s draw at Stevenage provided yet more frustration for Matt Taylor as he saw his side maintain their unbeaten run dating back to week two of the season but once again fail to put their opposition to bed, meaning it’s now seven draws in the league (plus all three cup fixtures finishing level after 90 minutes), threatening to seriously undermine City’s promotion chances. Taylor has hinted recently that he is looking at changing formation from the 3-5-2 and those hints became ever stronger this week especially now the likes of Owura Edwards and Josh Coley have had significant game time. A move to a back four could lead to personnel changes elsewhere too if, for example, Taylor decides that Jake Caprice may not be an ideal fit as a full back where his being right-footed is fine for a wing back – this would open the door for Colin Daniel to slot in, or for Alex Hartridge to move across allowing Pierce Sweeney to keep his place.
Following their playoff defeat last season all didn’t appear to be well with Mike Flynn at Newport, the popular manager repeatedly hinting that he may leave the South Wales club. Sure enough, Flynn has now departed, and Wayne Hatswell is in temporary charge currently. The summer was busy with a number of players departing such as keeper Tom King, former City loanee Tristan Abrahams and fiery midfielder Joss Labadie. Robbie Willmott returned to the club following his loan spell at City, while perhaps one of the more surprising moves was for Alex Fisher, who was a marginal figure at City. Fisher was on the scoresheet on Tuesday night in Newport’s 3-4 defeat to Arsenal’s youngsters in the EFL Trophy, a rare high scoring game for Newport who have two players leading the league scoring charts, Dom Telford and Willmott, but with just two goals apiece.
Last season both fixtures took place in the latter part of the season due to an earlier postponement, and both finished level. As happened frequently at the end of the season the corresponding fixture finished 0-0, City failing to register a shot on target. A couple of months previously there was a more controversial fixture, City were down to 10 men after just eight minutes as Alex Hartridge was harshly adjudged to have denied a goalscoring opportunity. However, Ryan Bowman gave City the lead with a stunning strike before he also saw red just before half time for violent conduct. It was attack vs defence in the second half before Newport finally got an equaliser in the 88th minute through Telford. As a result, draws extended their league lead with eight, both sides winning this fixture on four occasions. Previous encounters between the two teams can be found at https://www.grecians.co.uk/wordpress/?p=9735
The match officials for this game are:-
Referee: Trevor Kettle
Assistant Referees: Mark Derrien and Steven Plane
Fourth Official : Michael Begley
Trevor Kettle has taken charge of 13 Exeter games, https://www.grecians.co.uk/wordpress/?s=kettle