Exeter, Devon UK • Feb 26, 2024 • VOL XII

Exeter, Devon UK • [date-today] • VOL XII
Home Sport “I’m gutted”: Watkins and Wheeler react

“I’m gutted”: Watkins and Wheeler react

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E xeter City saw their promotion dreams dashed by a stoic and effective Blackpool side. A goal inside three minutes from Brad Potts sent Tangerine fans into delirium, but a David Wheeler goal just before half-time levelled things up. Yet, it was Blackpool who would score the decisive goal, Mark Cullen slotting into an open net.

Exeter’s goalscorer lamented how “we didn’t create quite enough with the possession we had”. The Grecian outfit had 71% possession during the first half and dominated the latter stages of the second-half, but their efforts proved fruitless.

‘their efforts proved fruitless’

Whilst City was threatening in the first half in breaking Blackpool’s defensive ranks, Wheeler remarked how City failed “to replicate that in the second-half”.

It was Wheeler who was most potent in getting in behind the Blackpool defence, being City’s most dangerous outlet. It was his smartly taken goal that drew Exeter level – a driven ball over the top by Craig Woodman finding the deft feet of Wheeler who took it down and lifted the ball over the onrushing Slocombe. It was a finish that would not look out of place in the Premier League.

‘very good unit’

Yet, amidst the gloom of failure, Wheeler was upbeat in his comments on his team-mates, describing how it is a “very good unit”; the moral fostered throughout the season was pivotal in Exeter’s surge from the depths of relegation to promotion contenders.

Such team spirit bodes well for next year, and Wheeler is targeting a “successful season”.

City’s starlet Ollie Watkin’s was also optimistic about Exeter’s chances next time out, stating that their intention is the “win the league”.

Watkins had a chance minutes after Blackpool scored the opening, swivelling nicely to work an opening but he couldn’t find a way past the Blackpool keeper.

Having scored 14 goals this season, many expected Watkins to be City’s biggest threat, but in his own words he “drifted in and out the game”.

‘i’ve never cried at a football match before’

“I’m gutted. I’m kicking myself a little bit” – Watkins was visibly upset by the defeat.

Indeed, he even mentioned that he “cried” for the first time after a football match.

There has been persistent speculation linking Watkins with a move away from St. James Park, but Watkins was adamant that he was not affected by such gossip and would not be drawn on his future at City, reiterating the desire to achieve automatic promotion next season.

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