(Not So) Great Exe-pectations


By Pete H

Go back just three weeks and we were cock-a-hoop after Cambridge. Then came Exeter – and four straight defeats! Fine, that trip to Sid James’ Park was only a Leasing.com Trophy tie. But it was the start of a run of results that took us back bottom of League Two, cast us four points adrift and ship 11 goals at the same time. We can’t help but think this next trip will be the last thing we need. Not that we have a choice. But is it the bookend we need?

The Grecians started our rubbish run of late. Now for them to end it. And hope that we’re also able to beg, steal or borrow a point or three too.


Exeter City v Stevenage: The Preview…

Exeter City – who are they?

It’ll be quite the hattrick if the Grecians pull this one off – as most casual observers will no doubt expect. The Devon side have got the measure of us twice already this season; first in our first match indoors this season after we conceded a late winner. Not like that became a habit or anything. Second, of course, is that Leasing.com Trophy tie just a fortnight ago. For us, it now takes us to four without a win against ’em. While there was a time we were good for a point at Sid James’ Park, you still need to go back nearly 14 years since we won there.

Our Record vs Exeter City: P 26 — W 6 — D 9 — L 11 — F 22 — A 35 — Pts 24
Last time out: Exeter City 3-0 Stevenage, 21 January 2020

How are Exeter City doing so far this season?

For the Grecians, things have changed a bit since we met two-and-a-half weeks ago. As we made our first trip of the season to Exeter, we were going up against a side who hadn’t seen defeat in the league since November; winning seven and drawing three. But here’s a team now who haven’t won in three League Two matches, losing their last two on the bounce – albeit both on the road. Of course, coming back home to face the team that’s bottom of the table is probably the number one fixture they want right now.

The Grecians remain undefeated at home in the last eight matches; Grimsby Town (oddly) being the one and only side to take all three points home with them from Exeter’s place. A fair few draws means their record indoors doesn’t quite reflect their league position. While still fourth in the overall table, home form alone wouldn’t even get them in the playoffs. But they’ve played fewer games at home than most others. Goals galore could be in store too; 36% of matches at Sid James’ Park have seen four or more goals. Shall we share some?

Tell us something we don’t know about Exeter City

This is the third time we’ve played Exeter City this season and we reckon you should know everything there is to know about them now. If you don’t, well, what can we say?

What are the bookies’ odds for this game?

Oh, tickle us pink and call us a blobfish – the home side are odds on with the bookies. We can’t think how on earth they reached that verdict. Your best price on getting your stake back if it goes to form is 8/11 (BetVictor). Imagine, though, if we pull this one off and you backed it at 19/4 (Unibet). The Milky Bars would very much be on you. With our thing of letting in three goals per game, Exeter are 3/1 (SkyBet) to repeat the trick. You might feel less dirty settling for Over 2.5 in total at 23/20 (Marathon), however. Up to you, innit.

Don’t forget – be responsible. And when the fun stops, stop.

Which Exeter City player should we watch out for?

Seven goals from midfield – including the winner in the return fixture earlier this season – makes Nicky Law our man to watch. To be fair, most of his goals came in a little spurt at the start of term. But, while he might not be scoring freely at the moment, he’s not scared of letting others have a go. In addition to his own tally, he’s laid on seven goals for others this season. Not as many as Randell Williams, but we can’t keep tabs on everyone. Can we?

Who is our ref for this match?

Ollie Yates. For the third time this season, the referee-go-round pulled out Mr Yates for us. Not that it fills us with much confidence, to be honest. While we picked up a point last time out at home to Colchester, this ref was also on watch as we went out of the FA Cup – albeit to a pretty decent Posh side. Our record with him overall is poor. Goals for are hard to come by; just two to our name when Mr Yates is on duty. Mind you, the last one of those was last term in a 1-1 draw against Exeter. So, you never know…

Our Record: P 5 — W 1 — D 2 — L 2 — F 2 — A 5
Last time out: Stevenage 0-0 Colchester United, 01 January 2020

And, finally, what do you reckon?

Exeter City v Stevenage scorecast: 3-0