Home league match played on 23 February 2020.
Kicked off at 1:45 PM

*Match Report: Exonians 1 - 5 Jeff’s Chippy*

Once again a disappointing performance and result for us, losing our unbeaten record at Millwall Park.

After a slightly disjointed squad due to late changes, we started off playing against the wind but did not weather an aggressive Chippy, conceding three goals early in the first half due to defensive mistakes and a quality finish by their right winger to make it 3-0 after 30 minutes.

We shifted to a back 5 which gave us more solidity, we created a many chances either side of half time which were either saved well by their keeper or poorly dispatched by ourselves, both in open play and from set pieces with their wind behind us.

We got a lifeline 25 minutes into the second half with a decent strike by David Yates, but we were to then concede a fourth from defensive disorganisation and a fifth late on when chasing the game with 4-3-3.

Man of the Match today goes to David Yates for a well taken goal and for a solid shift in an unfamiliar central midfield role.

The three main things I’d like to highlight today that we need to work on.

*Pre-match*

We discussed how we were going to try and neutralise the opposition through keeping the ball on the floor, competing for the ball and being composed in possession. We got out there and did not carry out this plan and played into the opposition’s hands in all three factors - something which against a good team like Chippy will be punished. Going forward we need to be on it, start brightly and put into practice what we’ve discussed.

*Defensive mistakes*

We are still giving away far too many soft goals - we all make mistakes but at the moment we are still far more culpable than our opposition to not clear our lines quick and effectively enough - it’s hard against the wind but if the ball is not in our area then the chance of the opposition scoring at this level is much smaller, let’s play the percentages and be smarter in our play. A lot of this is simple stuff such as putting a head on it rather than sticking a foot out, not letting it bounce and communicating with each other.

*Offensive - not taking our chances*

We are finally creating a number of chances in our matches but today especially we were no where near clinical enough. This goes for both the strikers who missed chances in open play and had an off day today but also the set piece chances from corners and throw-ins that went begging time and time again. At this level (look at the results in the league table for evidence) clean sheets are rare and to win a game you need at least 2-3 goals - we need to start achieving this.

*Heart and Desire*

The final and in my opinion the most important point from today, and for the season to be honest.

1. Four of the opposition were at the changing rooms before our first member (Tom who didn’t play) and only 7 out of the 15 today were on time.

2. Our warm up was half hearted, especially in the sprints and we had the impression that we weren’t that up for it for the start of the game.

3. The lack of communication on the pitch was still very poor, the opposition were constantly talking and even in the ear of the referee most of the game, we were so quiet.

4. Silence in the dressing room after the game - I don’t want a Tyson Fury vs Wilder punch up but not a single person seemed angry or seriously disappointed with our result or performance today.

5. Yet again no volunteers to take the kit until pestered by committee members.

We are struggling right now not because we don’t have good enough players - but because we aren’t playing and acting like a proper team on and off the pitch. We will all get out what we put in to this team, and we all need to take a look at ourselves, both for the remaining 3 games and looking ahead for next season whether we want this enough. Maybe I sound like I’m being a bit over the top or drastic - but we will never succeed as a football team without improving our team spirit which is severely lacking right now.

*Next week*

The league organisers have decided to change the fixtures around so we are currently waiting to hear our opposition for Sunday 1st March - as soon as we know this Tom Frank will post up the usual details.

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