Preview: Exeter City vs Portsmouth (EFL Trophy)
City only got a point to show for it, but the 0-0 draw at Forest Green was right up there amongst the best performances of the season, especially considering the patched up nature of the side. The return of Colin Daniel at least meant City could field a full bench, while a couple more could be in line to return for Friday night’s rearranged EFL Trophy fixture. Matt Taylor has suggested changes will be made within the constraints of the squad, with those who completed 90 minutes at both Sutton and Forest Green unlikely to feature from the start, so expect the likes of Dyer, Daniel, Seymour and Kyle Taylor to make the starting eleven, while there may be a place for some of the youngsters like Sonny Cox if they’re available.
While City were being stitched up by the referee preventing a possible trip to Newcastle this weekend, Portsmouth were ensuring a blank weekend on FA Cup 3rd round weekend for City by losing to City’s scheduled opposition, Harrogate, in round two. That brought to an end a six match winning run for Danny Cowley’s side, while recent form has seen Pompey keep three successive clean sheets although also fail to score in two of the three games each side of a 2-0 win over Morecambe. Marcus Harness has caught the eye this season with ten goals in all competitions, although he’s likely to be rested as Cowley will no doubt shuffle his squad considerably.
Revenge will no doubt be on the cards after the last meeting between the sides, which was in the semi-final of this competition at Fratton Park in 2020. As the board went up for stoppage time at the end of 90 minutes, City had just taken a 2-1 lead – Jake Taylor had given an otherwise youthful City side the lead after 78 minutes, Harness had equalised on 86 but a Christian Burgess own goal appeared to have booked City’s place at Wembley. That was until John Marquis and Cameron McGeehan struck to clinch the win for the hosts – although of course Wembley had to wait due to the intervention of Covid.
The match officials for this tie are:-
Referee: Paul Howard
Assistant Referees: Declan O’Shea and Kevin Morris
Fourth Official : Brett Huxtable
Just the two games in charge of Exeter for Paul Howard, details at https://www.grecians.co.uk/wordpress/?s=paul+howard
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