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Match report: Exeter City 2, York City 1
HAVING lost to an Exeter team that visited Go Ape for a midweek bonding session, York City must now endeavour to get a couple of monkeys off their back to kick start their own season.
For a second successive weekend, Nigel Worthington’s men were unfortunate to return from a long trip south-west without any reward.
But there were common themes that contributed to both Saturday’s 2-1 defeat in Devon and the 3-2 loss at Bristol Rovers seven days earlier which, if addressed, can get the 20th-placed Minstermen’s campaign moving in the right direction.
Six games into the new season, Ryan Jarvis’ name remains the only one among Worthington’s 25-strong squad to have made a scoresheet.
Jarvis claimed his fourth City goal against the Grecians to give the visitors an 18th-minute lead, leaving him as League Two’s joint-leading marksman with veteran Portsmouth frontman David Connolly.
That represents a fair achievement, even at this early point in the football calendar, for a 27-year-old player who has never reached double figures during his 11 previous campaigns as a professional.
The team’s reliance on the former Norwich striker must lessen a little, however, if progress is to be made in coming weeks.
Michael Coulson should have got in on the act at St James Park, failing to convert two good chances on his recall to the team.
After Ashley Chambers exploited Exeter’s evident right-back deficiencies for Jarvis’ goal, the Minstermen also failed to capitalise fully on their hosts’ Achilles heel during the remainder of the game.
Left-footer Jordan Moore-Taylor looked ill at ease in the position throughout the first half and, after he was put out of his misery at the break, centre-back Pat Baldwin appeared just as uncomfortable when asked to fill the role during the second period.
But despite Chambers and Coulson, as well as substitutes Ryan Brobbel and Jamal Fyfield, being pitted against the hapless duo down that flank, the visitors rarely went straight for the jugular.
While his attacking team-mates need to reduce some of the onus on Jarvis to find the net, City must also retain their focus at the back when he, or anybody else, does hit the target.
As at Bristol, Worthington’s team frustratingly conceded within five minutes of a Jarvis goal, giving Exeter a timely boost after they had failed to create a single chance during the first quarter of the game.
Alan Gow grabbed the equaliser with his first touch after replacing an injured John O’Flynn.
Before beating Michael Ingham, the former Rangers forward was played onside by on-loan Leicester City defender George Taft, who otherwise enjoyed a promising debut.
Gow later went on to secure the points with a spectacular 25-yard strike that Chambers failed to block.
The Minstermen had earlier forged ahead when Tom Platt nicked possession in his own half and Chambers was freed to sprint past Moore-Taylor before picking out Craig Clay in the visitors’ penalty box.
Clay’s eight-yard effort was kept out in unorthodox fashion by former City loan ’keeper Artur Krysiak.
The Pole’s outstretched left leg could only direct the ball as far as Jarvis who, from a similar range to Clay, blasted into the inviting net.
Coulson then aimed a 20-yard attempt straight down Krysiak’s throat before Paul Tisdale’s team drew level on 23 minutes when Gow raced on to an Arron Davies pass that cut through a City central-defensive partnership still very much in its infancy.
With only Ingham to beat, Gow made no mistake, finishing clinically into the former Northern Ireland international’s bottom left-hand corner from 12 yards.
On the stroke of half-time, Coulson was less ruthless, however, when Chambers and Clay combined to create a chance for him through the left channel.
The former Barnsley forward’s body alignment never looked convincing and he sidefooted weakly wide of Krysiak’s near post.
A slow start to the second period followed until Sam Parkin got the better of City left-back Ben Davies and Lanre Oyebanjo did well not to commit himself and come out on top after being left outnumbered in a two-on-one situation against home winger Davies and Liam Sercombe.
Exeter went ahead with their next attack, however, when Gow fired a powerful long-range drive inside Ingham’s left-hand upright after brushing aside Chambers.
Gow lifted two further efforts over and found the sidenetting from a narrow angle in his hunt for a hat-trick.
On 79 minutes, though, Coulson might have earned the Mintermen the point they deserved.
The ball fell to his feet four yards from goal after Oyebanjo’s long throw skimmed off the head of Scot Bennett.
But his shot was directed straight at Krysiak and the home side should have gone on to claim a flattering third goal when the influential Gow, making a mockery of his initial inclusion on the bench, sent Parkin clear through.
The former Luton and Swindon striker shot low past Ingham’s right-hand post though and the City ’keeper was even sent forward for a corner at the death as another possible alternative goal source to Jarvis.
By then, on-loan Middlesbrough winger Ryan Brobbel and youth-team striker Tom Chamberlain had been introduced, meaning, with Taft on from the start, Worthington had given three players their senior debuts in the same afternoon.
Brobbel probed and Chamberlain chased around eagerly but neither player could prevent the visitors suffering a third successive defeat on the road.
Exeter City 2 (Gow 23, 72), York City 1 (Jarvis 18)
Michael Ingham 6
Beaten well by Gow twice and did not have a shot to save otherwise.
Lanre Oyebanjo 7
Kept things tight down his side of the pitch but stopped in his tracks when he tried to raid forward.
Chris Smith 6
Given some unnerving moments by movement of Exeter’s forwards and has a big role to play alongside Taft and Davies now.
George Taft 7
Caught playing Gow onside for the first goal but, aside from that lapse, impressed with his power and ability in possession.
Ben Davies 7
Competed well and mopped up most of the danger posed by Exeter’s right-sided players.
Lewis Montrose 7
STAR MAN – sprayed the ball around to good effect on occasions and showed ability to open up a defence with one accurate pass.
Craig Clay 7
Involved in many of City’s most promising first-half attacking moments, including the goal, but less influential after the break.
Tom Platt 6
Did a good defensive job pressing play high up the pitch but provided little attacking intent from his advanced position.
Michael Coulson 6
Will be disappointed not to convert at least one of the two presentable chances he had in each half.
Ryan Jarvis 7
Demonstrated his knack of being in the right place at the right time again with another poacher’s goal.
Ashley Chambers 7
Carried the game to Exeter’s weak right side of defence but end product not always as impressive as it was for the goal.
Subs: Ryan Brobbel (for Chambers, 74), Tom Chamberlain (for Montrose, 82), Jamal Fyfield (for Coulson, 89). Not used: Kettings, Parslow, Allan, Dickinson.
Artur Krysiak, Jordan Moore-Taylor (Scot Bennett, 46), Danny Coles, Pat Baldwin, Craig Woodman, David Wheeler (Liam Sercombe, 63), Matt Oakley, Matt Grimes, Arron Davies, Sam Parkin, John O’Flynn (Alan Gow, 22). Subs not used: Christy Pym, Tommy Doherty, Jamie Reid, Jake Gosling.
Star man: Gow – proved the difference between the two teams.
Referee: Paul Tierney (Lancashire).
Rating: 5/10 – error-prone although his mistakes had little bearing on the game.
Booked: Montrose 56.
Sent off: None.
Attendance: 3,448 (147 from City).
Shots on target: Exeter 2, City 4.
Shots off target: Exeter 5, City 1.
Corners: Exeter 4, City 5.
Fouls conceded: Exeter 8, City 12.
Offsides: Exeter 4, City 1.
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