Exciting Entertainers Exeter City FC Can Have an Excellent 2021
Despite all the upheaval delivered to the football world throughout 2020, Exeter City fans will reflect on a single date, 29th June and the League Two Playoff Final. Northampton Town ran out 4-0 winners on the day, securing their place in League One and ensuring that Exeter would start a ninth consecutive season in League Two. It was the Grecian’s third Playoff Final loss in just four seasons, with the other two defeats coming against Coventry City (2018) and Blackpool (2017).
But despite the setback, there is every reason to believe that Exeter can have a stellar year ahead. Matt Taylor’s men ended the year in 7th position in League Two (just inside the Playoff positions). But there is more to the table – and Exeter’s performances – than meets the eye with Exeter’s position. For a start, Exeter are League Two’s entertainers, scoring 40 goals in the league after 19 games. The Grecians are, in fact, the highest scorers across the football league.
Much of Exeter’s goal threat has come from the ever-dependable Ryan Bowman, but much credit should go to Matt Jay who has really settled into the side this season. Jay has equalled Bowman’s haul of nine league goals, with the 24-year-old also throwing in four assists (stats correct as of 1st January 2021). Nevertheless, goals have been shared around the team, with the likes of Joel Randall and Jake Taylor chipping in with half a dozen each.
Exeter have played fewer games than most rivals
We mentioned that Exeter’s seventh-place position in the table is better than it looks, and that’s because the Grecians have a couple of games in hand over the majority of the teams ahead of them. For instance, win those two games in hand, and Exeter would be in second place – and the automatic promotion spots. As for the outlook with bookmakers, it does point to a tough task for Exeter. Leading online sports betting firm, 888sport, makes Exeter 9/1 to win the title (6th favourite overall), 2/1 to finish in the top three (getting automatic promotion) and odds-on to have another crack at the now-dreaded Playoffs. If you were wondering why Exeter aren’t favourites given their tremendous attacking ability, it is due to the fact goals are flying in at the wrong end too. Only Morecambe (30) have conceded more than Exeter’s 26. Still, the Grecians’s have the best goal difference in the division, so, on balance, it’s possible the bookmakers have gotten their sums wrong.
Sheffield Wednesday will visit next weekend
Aside from the league, there is always some excitement when Exeter cobbles together a winning run. Back in January 2005, the Grecians, then in the Conference Premier, hosted Manchester United in the third round. On the pitch that day were all-time greats like Ryan Giggs, Cristiano Ronaldo, Wayne Rooney and Paul Scholes. Exeter played admirably keeping the scoreline to 0-2, with the goals coming from Ronaldo and a late one from Rooney.
Exeter’s opponents in the third round this year aren’t just as glamorous, but Sheffield Wednesday will not relish the trip to St James Park on 9th January. The Owls had a good Christmas period, winning two and drawing one, but they still find themselves in relegation trouble in the Championship after getting a six-point deduction at the start of the season. Matt Taylor will likely believe that an upset is on the cards.
So, there you have it – some big reasons to be positive for Exeter City fans in the coming months. The team is certainly good enough to get out of League Two, and to continue to build on the work put in by Julian Tagg and the Exeter City Supporters Trust. Whatever happens, it looks like the Grecians will entertain us along the way.