Writer: Kithson Bain
Date:Wednesday February 2 2011
St James' Park
Exeter City once again surrendered a lead at home as they crashed to a 2-1 defeat against high-flyers Southampton.
Daniel Nardiello`s opportunist finish had given the Grecians a first half lead.
But Rickie Lambert struck twice in the final twenty minutes in a dramatic turn around.
Paul Tisdale once again rotated his team, opting for a flat back four of Richard Duffy, Matt Taylor, Troy Archibald-Henville and Billy Jones. James Dunne, Liam Sercombe and David Noble were in front of them with Ryan Harley playing in behind John O`Flynn and Nardiello.
After an opening of few chances Nardiello had the first clear sight of goal, latching onto Jones` through ball he sprung the Saints` sloppy off-side trap but his close range effort was thwarted by the goalkeeper.
Southampton came within inches of taking the lead themselves, a neat exchange of passes between Lee Barnard and Danny N`Guessan left N`Guessan bearing down on goal, his shot came crashing back off the bar with Ben Hamer beaten and the ball rebounded back to Barnard somehow hit the crossbar himself from only 8 yards out.
Slightly against the run of play City took the lead on 40 minutes, Dunne`s defence splitting ball seemed to be heading the way of the off-side O`Flynn but Nardiello raced through holding off Jose Fonte before clipping the ball neatly over the keeper for the opening goal.
City searched for a second goal in the second half but found themselves coming under increasing pressure from Southampton`s wealth of attacking talent.
Pressure that told twenty minutes from time when a swift counter attacking move resulted in Rickie Lambert powering a header home form a deep cross to level the scores.
Saints now had their tales up and Lambert went close again moments later, but this time Hamer was on hand this time to deny the big number 7.
The game seemed to be heading for a draw until from a needlessly conceded corner Southampton snatched a winner. The deep corner was hooked back across goal where Lambert was waiting to scramble the ball home from 2 yards.
Surrendering leads and conceding late on is becoming a worrying feature of City`s game since the turn of the year. After a promising first half of the season the Grecians now sit thirteenth in League One with any hopes of making the play-offs looking less likely with every passing game.
The games keep coming thick and fast though, Huddersfield are the visitors to the Park on Saturday with Brentford to come two days after that in the JPT.
City: Hamer, Duffy, Taylor, Archibald-Henville, B Jones, Sercombe, Dunne, Noble, Harley (Logan), Nardiello (Stewart), O`Flynn
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Date:Wednesday February 2 2011
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