So its back to the League. Don't know about you but I daydream a lot especially where the Addicks are concerned so when I saw that our next game was at St. James Park there was no holding my moment of fantasy. A return to St. James Park for our 5th game of the season where we've unbeaten on our last three visits and have only lost once in our last 8 games against them................but no, get a grip, this is League One and its not Newcastle we're off to, its the other St. James Park and home of little old Exeter City.
And believe it or not we've into our third youngster in a row with yet another 37 year old geezer in charge of the opposition, this time its Paul Tisdale. And another one with a good win ratio of 86 out of 211 for the Grecians. Five years younger than Parky they both started as trainees at Southampton but missed each other by a couple of years with Parky moving on to Bury 3 years before Tisdale arrived.
Exeter have had a checkered past over the last few years, with a spell under administration in the mid 90's while in Tier 4 being closely followed by definitely being in the wrong place at the wrong time. 2003 it was, when City finished 23rd, and second to last, in Tier Four but were unluckily relegated to the Conference with the timely introduction of a new rule that decreed that from now on the bottom 2 clubs are automatically relegated instead of only one. Exeter won its last game but to no avail as Swansea City's victory over Hull City left the Grecians one point short of safety.
But they were more successful last season when they again needed a win on the last day of the season, at home to Huddersfield, to leapfrog the Gills to safety. They did it with the winner coming from Ryan Harley with 8 minutes remaining.
After coming out of administration in 1996, the club remains owned by its fans, through the Exeter City Supporters Trust.
Three very strange games at home for Exeter have all had exactly the same format. Two home 2-2 draws in the League with Colchester and Bristol and a 2-3 loss to Ipswich in the League Cup (after 2-2 at 90 minutes) and in every game they have scored first, conceded twice and then equalised, so its looks odds on a 2-2 draw I suppose.
And that may be all we can look forward to as they don't lose very often at St. James and its now 9 League games without defeat going all the way back to February 20th when they lost 0-1 to Stockport County, which was a bit of a shock to everyone as it was Stockports first win in 17 League games. As for last season, only two teams - the spanners and the Gills - conceded less than their 20 goals at home and they only lost 4 times. And none of the top 10 teams last season won at St. James.
Their only away League game, after the postponement of their game against Dagenham after the death of 31 year old striker Adam Stansfield, was last weekend when they went down 0-3 to Orient but they did get their first win of the season in the local derby at Yeovil in the Paint thingy where they won 3-1 with two goals from Jamie Cureton.
So they are in 21st spot with just two points but with a game in hand and much like Huddersfield last weekend are in need of a League win.
They'll be no number 9 playing for Exeter on Saturday, nor for the next 9 seasons as the Grecians have retired the shirt as a mark of respect for the striker Adam Stansfield who died on Aug 12 with bowel cancer. He was 31.
Leading scorer is number 7 Ryan Harley with 3.
Captain and centre-half Matt Taylor, midfielder Marcus Stewart, and striker Daniel Nardiello are all out injured for the game at Orient and none of them played last night either.
Let's start by reminding ourselves that Exeter is the 3rd smallest ground in League One and that we have our second worst away record there in this league (after Colchester) with just .5 points average per game.
This is Exeter's 46th season in the third tier of English football. They have played more seasons in the third tier than any club who have never reached the top two tiers and as recently as 2008 was in the Conference. As for the Addicks, this is our 16th in Tier Three with fully half of those being when we started out in the Third Division South in 1921 until 1929. So this is our 90th year in the Football League, 16 in Tier Three (18%), 48 in the Second (53%) and 26 with the cream(29%).
So, anyway, our 12 seasons together with Exeter have always been in Tier Three, the first 10 as Third Division South, then Division Three and now League One and to add to your creeping depression, let me tell you that we haven't won at Exeter since 1929, a healthly 5-2 win in our Championship winning year, but now 81 years ago. And what's more its our only success there as well, with only 3 draws and 8 defeats in the 12 League games. And, if you need more, we've been there 5 times since 1929 with 4 defeats and only last season's 1-1 draw to show for it. In fact, we've had more success in our 33 League visits to the other St. James Park (where we've won 20%) than the Devon one.
Rumours are that Parky's getting a big cake as this is his 300 game as a manager and naturally he wants to celebrate it with a win.
And we've got a couple of new players in the Daggers 30 year old Paul Benson and Carlisle's Joe Anyinsah. Both are forwards with Benson being leading Daggers scorer for the past 4 years and getting 21 and 17 in the last 2 seasons and, if you believe his old boss, we're assured of 20 goals a season if we can get some decent crosses in. As for Joe Anyinsah he's 25 and has scored a total of 15 over the last two seasons for Carlisle and he scored in 3 out of the last 4 Carlisle home games last season. And his signing this week after being on trial for some time could be significant as Exeter have only lost twice this year at home - once to Stockport as mentioned and once to Carlisle in January whose dangerman on a cold night in Devon was Joe Anyinsah. He duly scored twice in a 3-2 win.
So we've bolstered our defence a tad with taking on Jon Fortune till the end of the year, and Parky's decided to get another couple of strikers. If you count wingers as attackers thats 10 forwards we have now, fighting for 4 places. Meanwhile, we've been lacking ideas in midfield recently and only have Semedo, McCormack, Racon (who's rumoured to be off to Greece) and an untried Stavrinou as backup. OK, Jackson can play in midfield but it does seem that the engineroom as everyone likes to call it is a bit short on stokers.
But at least this week team selection is not going to be the clearcut choice of recent weeks and we also have the nagging doubt about Elliot's back as well. Its all a bit of an unknown, which I suppose will at least throw a spanner in Tisdale's week as he does pride himself on playing teams that are designed to counter the oppostion.
Worner; Francis, Dailly, Doherty, Jackson; Wagstaff, Semedo, McCormack, Martin; Sodje, Benson.
VerdictA home team without a home defeat for 6 months and a ground where we haven't won for 81 years. Can our two new strikers improve our goals for column and get us the three points or will we see another team like Huddersfield determined for a win.
Over at cafcpicks, the 38 punters shaped up with 6 wins, 10 defeats and a massive 22 draws. I was in the second category and I'm not going to change my mind. The good news is that I've only got one right so far.