Writer: Kithson Bain
Date:Monday February 14 2011
Exeter City produced a much improved display to claim a 2-0 victory at Notts County.
Steve Tully`s second goal for the club and a Matt Taylor header were enough to secure City their first away win since November.
After last Monday`s meek surrender in the Johnstone`s Paint Trophy Paul Tisdale made two changes, bringing back Tully and Scott Golbourne to the starting line-up as the Grecian`s reverted back to their tried and tested 3-5-2.
From the outset City looked more assured than their opponents. On a tricky pitch they passed the ball admirably in the opening stages as County struggled to get a foothold in the game.
City soon created the first chance of the match, Jamie Cureton found space on the right-hand side of the box and forced the keeper into a low save from a tight angle.
Despite a bright opening both sides found chances hard to come by in the first half. City`s usually fragile defence marshalled the threat of Lee Hughes superbly all game as County failed to trouble Ben Hamer for long periods.
An uneventful first half predictably finished goalless with City shading proceedings but with nothing to show for it.
Paul Ince`s side showed no improvement after the break, their attacks lacked pace and direction and the home fans became increasingly frustrated with their sides efforts.
City were quietly growing in stature in the game. Ryan Harley looking back to somewhere near his best, finding space all over the pitch and influencing the play with increasing regularity.
On 55 minutes a piece of Harley magic lead to the opening goal, receiving the ball from Golbourne, Harley weaved into the penalty area causing mass panic in the County ranks before cutting the ball back to John O`Flynn whose effort was palmed into the path of Tully who sliced the ball into the empty net.
Despite trailing County still couldn`t fashion a chance on goal. Hughes and Troy Archibald-Henville were in a constant battle which the latter was dominating, the pair traded bookings as the game entered it`s final quarter.
City soon sealed the win with crisp, clean goal. Harley again the provider, his delightful corner was given the finish it deserved by Taylor who claimed his first goal of the season by sweetly nodding past the stranded keeper.
Tully was given a standing ovation by the delighted 441 travelling Grecians as he was replaced at right-wing back by Liam Sercombe.
In stoppage time County finally threatened the City goal, Hughes ghosting in and hitting the near post from a tight angle.
In truth, City closed the game out with consummate ease and a disciplined professionalism that has been lacking in recent weeks.
The games in February are coming thick and fast, City don`t have any time to dwell on this crucial victory as Swindon are due to visit the Park on Tuesday.
But this was a much improved display from a side that had lost three home games in a row prior.
City: Hamer, Tully (Sercombe), Duffy, Taylor, Archibald-Henville, Golbourne, Dunne, Noble, Harley, O`Flynn, Cureton
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Date:Monday February 14 2011
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