Exeter City v QPRBy: Jim | August 12th, 2009
Went with a few Rangers -supporting mates to check out Saturday’s opposition. I could be mean about the corrugated iron roofed stand, the open terrace, the dysentery-threatening loos and the tea shack, but in all honesty it was a thoroughly enjoyable “old-school” experience, spoiled only by the grief I as getting from my mates as the Argyle score came through at half-time.
Anyway – believe it or not – City were unlucky. They easily had the better of the first half and caused the Rs’ defence plenty of problems: they got close to them in midfield, didn’t allow Buzsaky time on the ball, and worried the life out of Gorkss and Stewart by running at them. Stand-out player for the Grecians was their attacking midfielder Bertie Cozic, who was at the heart of CIty’s good stuff and with a little more composure could have had a couple of goals. Apart from a speculative Hogan Ephraim shot that bounced off the top of the bar, and a couple of headers from ECFC defenders that almost rolled in for an o.g., Rangers didn’t really threaten – lots of side-to-side passing, but no real penetration. Routledge, for all his pace and trickery couldn’t deliver a final ball to save his life and for some reason Magilton had Rowan Vine playing on the left wing, where he looked thorougly out of sorts.
Second half carried on much in the same vein – City threatening, Rangers looking dodgy – until a bit of a hoof it and hope ball over the top allowed Routledge to use his pace to get beyond the defence and lob the keeper. For the next ten minutes or so it became a really good game – City upped their attacking endeavours and Rangers began to play with a bit more confidence. A tidy lay-off from Agyemang, who was playing as the target man, gave Routledge a pretty simple finish for number two, which was when the wheels came off for City. A powerful Gorkss header looked to have crossed the line – the ref looked at the lino, who gave a penalty for handball and poor Golbourne was off. Routledge put the penalty away and from thereafter it descended into a training ground exercise. A tap in for Rangers’ new Italian striker (whose name I don’t have – big, lanky-haired, rubbish, wearing 12) and a super finish from Ephraim gave the scoreline a gloss that Rangers hardly deserved.
If there’s a message to take from this for Argyle, it’s to play the ball *on the floor*. Gorkss and Stewart mopped up all the aerial stuff without breaking into a sweat, but couldn’t cope when City played through them. If Fletch can dominate Leigertwood, Buzsaky gets isolated. Agyemang is probably their biggest threat going forward; and it might be a job for a canny Paterson at LB to take care of Routledge.
Shame I’ll be away for this one, really