Exeter, Devon UK • Apr 18, 2024 • VOL XII

Exeter, Devon UK • [date-today] • VOL XII
Home SportLocal New Year and New Fortunes for Exeter City

New Year and New Fortunes for Exeter City

Tom Morris discusses the Grecians' post-Christmas upturn in form.
3 mins read
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Exeter City, St James Park
Exeter City are now 13th in League One, eight points clear of the relegation zone
Image: Roger Cornfoot, via Geograph

It has certainly been an up and down season so far for Exeter City Football Club.

Gary Caldwell’s team got off to a fantastic start to the season, reaching the top of the table in September, playing excellent football and creating a buzz around the city.

But as Caldwell celebrated a year at the club, having been appointed in October 2022 in place of club legend Matt Taylor, City’s form took a turn for the worse.

The Devon team went 13 games without a win, their worst run in 28 years, including 10 defeats in 12 matches. Their woes were increased by the loss of star player Demetri Mitchell to injury. Mitchell tore an anterior cruciate ligament in his knee, meaning he was ruled out for the rest of the season.

And by the time the Grecians lost 1-0 to Port Vale in December in an abject performance at St James Park, the mood had turned sour. ‘We want Caldwell out’ rung around the ground as Exeter’s relegation rivals gained a massive three points away from home. His team were conceding goals too easily and lacking a striker to finish chances in the final third.

Christmas brought a much-needed gift for Gary Caldwell.

But Christmas brought a much-needed gift for Gary Caldwell, as his side came out 1-0 winners against Wycombe Wanderers, bringing their dismal run to an end.

Since then, City have returned to the kind of form that saw them to a comfortable 14th placed finish last season in League One. They went on a run of four wins in five games and are now up to 13th in the table, eight points clear of the relegation zone. 

Trust has now, to an extent, been restored in Gary Caldwell. The manager was given an additional boost by the January loan signing of forward Mo Eisa from MK Dons until the end of the season. The City faithful will be hoping he can fill the goal scoring gap in the team, and the early signs are promising after Eisa scored in his first start for Exeter – a 2-1 away win against Wigan.

There is still work to do for Exeter City, whose minus 21 goal difference is the second worst in the league.

There is still work to do for Exeter City, whose minus 21 goal difference is the second worst in the league, and a clear sign of their struggles at both ends of the pitch. But the atmosphere around the ground is much more positive and buoyant. Attacker Jack Aitchson revealed in a post-match interview that “the mood has lifted a bit, people are more confident on the ball.”

The Grecians will be hoping to continue this run of form and stay well clear of the relegation zone. Playing exciting football and securing important results has certainly helped to restore an energy around the city on matchday. They could even push towards a top-half finish, something that looked well beyond the realms of possibility only six weeks ago.

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