Set pieces prove City's downfall once again
EXETER City striker Jamie Cureton says the Grecians will have to work hard to put right their defensive frailties after they conceded two goals from set pieces against Cheltenham Town on Saturday.
It was a case of Northampton all over again for City as they attacked well and created enough chances to win the match, but failed to do the basics right at the back, giving Cheltenham a comfortable 3-0 win.
"I thought we did well first half, up to then it was a good away performance," said Cureton. "Then we conceded the first goal and it seemed to make us lose our way a bit. So we are disappointed. We have got done by two set pieces again, which is our Achilles' heel. We are very disappointed with that and we have got to look together as a group and start putting that right. We feel we are a better team than what we are showing at the moment. Our results aren't great and we are not performing well enough so we have got to put the work in now to turn things around."
Exeter City started the match well with Jimmy Keohane forcing Cheltenham keeper Scott Brown to tip his dipping shot from the edge of the box over the crossbar after nine minutes.
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Despite losing Arron Davies through injury on 26 minutes, City continued to create chances and were unfortunate not to score five minutes before the break as a flurry of chances came their way in the space of a minute. From a corner on the left Cureton saw a close-range header blocked.
Coles followed up, but saw his effort cleared off the line. The ball then fell to Liam Sercombe, but his shot was expertly saved by Brown down to his right, before Tully flashed a shot inches past the post from the edge of the area.
City were made to pay for those misses after the break as a neat one-two between Lawson D'Ath and Darryl Duffy opened up the visitors' defence nine minutes into the second half. D'Ath, signed on loan from Reading two days before the game, raced through on goal to curl a right-foot shot past Artur Krysiak. Seven minutes later it was 2-0 as former Exeter City full-back Billy Jones crossed for Keith Lowe to send an unmarked header past Krysiak from a corner.
City brought on Gow to try and change things, but despite creating a number of chances with his forward runs the visitors still could not find the back of the net.
A dismal afternoon was then completed three minutes from time when Jones played in another corner, which Lowe diverted from the edge of the six-yard box.
Cheltenham's keeper Brown was awarded man-of-the-match after the game, which shows how much City created, especially late on in the game. However, that was little consolation for Cureton.
"He (Brown) saved one from me, I think he saved two from Jimmy ( Keohane) and one from Alan (Gow) so I suppose when you look at it yes (he was man of the match).
But coming away 3-0 it is the last person you would be expecting to get it – the goalkeeper of the opposition. He did his job, maybe we didn't put him under as much pressure as we would have liked throughout.
It was one of those funny games. I don't think anybody was outstanding and when you are scoring set pieces it does help and they have managed to do that and that is why they have come away with a 3-0 win.
"We have always said as long as we stay in the game, we will create chances," Cureton said. "It is our problem that we seem to give teams head starts. Yet again we have gone it at half-time and we were quite comfortable. We felt if we did the same sort of things, we would get chances second half.
"Unfortunately we go and concede again. We go behind and then we are chasing the game and it makes it difficult.
"And then we concede from two set pieces, which is very poor from us. We have got to work hard to put that right. I felt, for an away performance, we were doing the right things and that chances were going to come at the end of the second half and we would have taken them, but we went one behind and we were chasing it. W
"e have come away with a 3-0 and it's not good enough."