Evans eyes response as Uni enter crucial stage of season
UNIVERSITY of Exeter manager Dave Evans believes his side are entering a vital stage of their season, ahead of Saturday's match at home to Newton Abbot Spurs.
The Students were due to host Plymstock United last time out, only for the match to fall foul of the weather.
Evans' side have only played once in the last month due to university holidays – a 4-0 drubbing away to Galmpton United.
And Evans says it is vital his side rediscover their fine form of late 2012 if they are to win their games in hand built up over the festive period.
"It is an important stage of the season for us," said Evans, who will have a full squad to choose from for Saturday's match.
"We did really well in the first half of the season and we had a lot of new players who were just settling in and we got some good results.
"We beat Budleigh and lost narrowly at home to Exmouth 1-0 when the least I thought we deserved was a draw.
"If we can start getting some good results again and pick up our form quickly where we left off then we can push up the table."
Evans continued: "The disappointing thing is that we do not have a game the weekend after so I can see us having a lot of mid-week games because we have a lot of matches to make up.
"But we have been lucky in that we haven't had too many injuries and have had a settled side, so if that continues then we should be okay."
Looking back on their thumping against Galmpton United, Evans conceded the better side won on the day.
But Evans feels it will be a different story now the Christmas festivities are at an end.
"I think the problem with Galmpton was that it was our first game back after Christmas and the players were suffering from far too much Christmas spirit," Evans explained.
"Some of the players had returned from all over Europe and, while it was good to see everyone turn out, we were not at our best.
"Galmpton wanted it more than us and were better in every department.
"Last week we couldn't train because it was exam week and we were looking forward to Saturday's match to blow out a few cobwebs and lose a few extra pounds we had gained over Christmas but we couldn't, so we're looking forward to this one."
Newton Abbot Spurs drew 4-4 at home to Totnes & Dartington with goals from Mark and Adam Dyson (2), plus Jacob Chisholm.
Elsewhere, Crediton United manager Jon Veale believes the arrival of new signings Phil Hardee and Scott Marshall will give the club some much-needed experience in their fight against relegation.
Former Torquay United trainee Hardee and Scott Marshall – who arrives from Alphington – have joined the struggling Mid Devon side, who ironically go to the Alphas this Saturday.
Veale, who became Kirton manager back in October, has struggled to guide the club out of relegation places, with a fractious relationship between the first and second teams leaving him short of players.
But Veale believes the two new faces will provide a lift at Lord's Meadow.
"It should help lift the club and bring a few more players on board because other players will look at these signings and say 'we'll if he's gone there, they must be doing something right' and then maybe they will come along as well," he said.
"He (Hardee) was forced out of the game (at Torquay) because of knee problems, but he is still able to play out our level and he is a good player.
"He'll bring experience to the side. He plays in the centre of the park and he'll get on the ball and make things happen.
"Scott Marshall is an experienced lad who will shore up the defence a little bit.
"He can play alongside me, which isn't ideal because I want to be managing not playing but for the time being it is a step in the right direction.
"We have got a lot of youngsters and it is fine to have youngsters, but it is when you go two goals down and you need to dig in that the experienced lads will help in that situation.
"I am hoping for good things against Alphington on Saturday. I would like to say we would win, but I think we will be a lot more competitive and hopefully it will be a lot tighter game than our recent results have been."
Alphington were thumped 5-1 at Exmouth Town on Saturday, with Matt Wonnacott scoring their only goal.
Ben Shephard, Adam FowlerChris Duchenski, Ace High and Matt Dawson scored for undefeated Town – who went top of the table on goal difference – ahead of their match at Teignmouth on Saturday.
Budleigh Salterton host Axminster Town, while Okehampton Argyle welcome Appledore and Exeter Civil Service go to Totnes & Dartington.