Ryan Etches – @ryanetches
Our final pre season friendly was our hardest test, an EFL team that was looking upwards rather than one licking its wounds after suffering relegation. Exeter seemed to show everything Plymouth didn’t, but for me, our Yellows matched them for the most part. Something we can take confidence from for the coming season.
The starting 11 was probably the strongest team we had available. I personally would have Shaun MacDonald in over Lucas Covalan. Sorry Lucas I’ve always wanted a Brazilian (mind out of the gutter please) but Shaun is our no.1 in my opinion.
The rest of the line up was:
Ben Wynter – Rightback.
Kyle Cameron & Jean Yves Koue Niate – Centrebacks.
Frank Vincent – Leftback.
Jake Andrews – Left midfield.
Asa Hall & Armani Little – Central midfield.
Ruairi Keating – Right midfield.
Jamie Reid & Manny Duku – Strikers.
The first 10 minutes was like 2 boxers sizing each other up, pressing but not committing too much forward. That was until Torquay landed the first punch. Keating sent an inch perfect diagonal ball from the right over to Jamie Reid who took it down and slid it to Manny Duku on the edge of the box. The Dutchman tussled with the Exeter centre half as he entered the box, got the better of his man sending him to the ground as he powered through and planted the ball into the bottom right corner. 1-0 to the Yellows.
That goal gave the whole place a lift and the players seemed to be 2 yards quicker off the back of it. It wasn’t long before the Exeter goal was threatened again. Good play from the midfield got the ball to Little about 20 yards out and as he played it through to Reid he was brought down. The referee gave advantage, Reid went close with his effort but anyone who was at the Plymouth game or has seen the video of *THAT* free kick wanted the ref to blow for the foul.
2 minutes later and some parts of Plainmoor were celebrating again. Manny Duku sent a low driven shot towards the bottom left corner, it was heading for the corner flag rather than the goal but Jake Andrews popped up at the back post to smash it into the side netting. Sending some of Plainmoor, myself included, to their feet to congratulate the “goal”. Ah well, getting closer.
The first 35 minutes had mostly been Torquay’s game, playing at our pace and controlling possession. Clearly this had rattled Exeter City captain Jake Taylor as when he was tackled and lost the ball, again, he stamped on Armani Little in clear view of the referee. Just like the rest of his afternoon the referee did absolutely nothing. I know it was a friendly but we can’t start ignoring the basic rules of the game e.g. violent conduct.
Just as half time approached our visitors got an undeserved equaliser. An Exeter corner wasn’t dealt with properly and after a bit of a goalmouth scramble, the ball found itself over the line. Parkes was credited with the goal.
The second half didn’t start well for Torquay, 7 minutes in and Exeter had the lead. Good wing play from Randell Williams opened up some space for himself and he smashed the ball past Covalan.
58 minutes and the only substitution was made, Andrews coming off for Kalala.
There wasn’t too much to report on in the second half, it was all going Exeter’s way. They had most of the ball without doing anything really with it.
Armani Little had 2 free kick opportunities in the last 5 minutes, the second went the closest. On the left hand side about 20 yards out, Little tried to find the far corner and came very close. The Exeter goalie was backpedalling and just about tipped it over.
After those opportunities the match came to a quiet end.
Lucas Covalan – 6/10: The Brazilian didn’t have too much to do today, good to see him get 90 minutes.
Ben Wynter – 6/10: Not Bens best game but not his worst, looking forward to seeing him improve even more over the season.
Kyle Cameron- 7/10: The Geordie handled Ryan Bowman well who we all know he can be a handful for defenders.
Jean Yves Koue Niate – 5/10: Big Jean was off the pace today, too many times the Exeter front line got in behind him.
Frank Vincent – 6/10: Another solid performance from our makeshift left back.
Ruairi Keating – 6/10: A quiet game for Ruairi today.
Asa Hall – 6/10: Solid performance from the skipper, showed a mature head in the middle.
Armani Little – 7/10: Good game from him today, glides past players so easily.
Jake Andrews – 6/10: A quieter game from Jake today good distribution to the other wing.
Jamie Reid – 5/10: Wasn’t really involved in anything today.
Manny Duku – 7/10: Took his goal well and worked hard chasing down the away defenders.
Kalvin Kalala – 6/10: Wasn’t the usual Kalala we have come to expect, didn’t get past his man as many times as he should.
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