Date:Thursday October 22 2009
Wycombe Wanderers travel to Exeter City on Saturday for their 14th league game of the season.
Both sides celebrated automatic promotion last May but have so far struggled to make their mark in League One.
The Grecians are currently 20th in the table with 13 points from their opening 13 league games.
Eleven of their points have been won against sides currently in the bottom half of the table whereas they've struggled against top half opposition, picking up only two points out of a possible twenty-one.
They had a tough start to the season, losing at Leeds United on the opening Saturday and making an early exit from the Carling Cup three days later when visitors QPR brushed them aside 5-0.
A home draw with Norwich City finally steadied the ship and the Grecians have since recorded three league victories over bottom-half sides Carlisle, Tranmere and Hartlepool.
Nine of Exeter's thirteen points have been secured on their home turf at St James Park, where only Franchise have beaten them in the league so far this season.
The Grecians are currently on a bad run and come into Saturday's game on the back of three consecutive defeats, a Johnstone's Paint Trophy exit at the hands of Swindon Town and two heavy losses in League One which have seen them concede seven goals without reply.
Exeter's last five league games
LG1: Charlton (A).........Lost 2-1
LG1: Swindon (H).......Drew 1-1
LG1: Hartlepool (H)......Won 3-1
LG1: Huddersfield (A)...Lost 4-0
LG1: Walsall (A)...........Lost 3-0
Exeter Goal Stats
League Goals Scored (Total).....13
League Goals Scored (Home).....9
League Goals Conceded (Total).....22
League Goals Conceded (Home).....7
Top Goal Scorers (All Competitions)
Striker: Richard Logan..........2
Striker: Stuart Fleetwood......2
Striker: Adam Stansfield.......2
Seven other Exeter players have each scored 1 goal.
Ryan Harley.........9 on-target.....7 off-target....0 against woodwork
Craig Noone.........8 on-target.....2 off-target....0 against woodwork
Barry Corr...........6 on-target.....8 off-target....0 against woodwork
The Chairboys' late equaliser against Colchester United on Saturday wasn't enough to prevent them dropping to the very bottom of League One for the first time this season and yet optimism among Wycombe fans is possibly at it's highest for months.
The unveiling of a new management team with a reputation for attractive football, happily coincided with the Chairboys' best overall performance of the season to give Wycombe supporters renewed hope that something good can yet be salvaged from what was shaping up to be a miserable campaign.
It could have turned into a massive anti-climax when the Chairboys conceded their umpteenth soft goal of the season to gift arch rivals Colchester the lead, but the manner of their fightback, aided by a superb debut from on-loan midfielder Scott Davies, was enough to bring the Adams Park crowd to their feet at the final whistle.
To add to the feelgood factor, long serving midfielder Matt Bloomfield made his first appearance for over two months following a horrific facial injury and showed glimpses of the form which first endeared him to the Wycombe faithful.
Another reason to be positive is the imminent return of midfield maestro Tommy Doherty whose first appearance of the season can't be far away following his second successive outing for the reserves on Tuesday afternoon.
In fact, they may be bottom of the league and the only team in the division yet to keep a clean sheet, but only Norwich City have managed to beat Wycombe by more than a one goal margin and if they can cut out the basic defensive errors, Gary Waddock's Chairboys could finally begin to climb the table.
Wycombe's last five games
LG1: Swindon (A)..........Drew 1-1
LG1: Tranmere (H)..........Lost 1-0
LG1: Orient (H)...............Lost 1-0
LG1: Gillingham (A).........Lost 3-2
LG1: Colchester (H) ......Drew 1-1
Wycombe Goals Stats
League Goals Scored (Total).....12
League Goals Scored (Away)......8
League Goals Conceded (Total)....21
League Goals Conceded (Away)...14
Goal Scorers (All Competitions)
Striker: Jon-Paul Pittman.....5
Midfielder: Chris Zebroski....2
Striker: Matt Harrold...........2
Midfielder: Matt Phillips........1
Striker: Stuart Beavon........1
Striker: Ashley Chambers...1
Defender: Craig Woodman..1
Defender: Leon Johnson......1
Jon-Paul Pittman.....12 on-target.....8 off-target....0 against woodwork
Stuart Green..........10 on-target....10 off-target....0 against woodwork
Chris Zebroski........12 on-target.....5 off-target....0 against woodwork
League Form Guide
Exeter.........Pld: 13...W: 3...D: 4...L: 6...Pts: 13....Pts per game: 1.0
Wycombe....Pld: 13...W: 1...D: 4...L: 8....Pts: .7....Pts per game: 0.54
Last Five Games
Exeter:..........LDWLL - 4 points
Wycombe:......DLLLD - 2 points
Last Five Home Games
Exeter:....DLWDW - 8 points
Last Five Away Games
Wycombe:..LLDDL - 2 points
Against Top Half Opposition
Exeter.........Pld: 7.....Pts: 2......Pts per game: 0.28
Wycombe....Pld: 8.....Pts: 6......Pts per game: 0.75
Against Bottom Half Opposition
Exeter...........Pld: 6......Pts: 11.....Pts per game: 1.83
Wycombe......Pld: 5......Pts: ..1.....Pts per game: 0.20
Last season the two sides drew 1-1 at Adams Park on Boxing Day when Emmanuel Panther's second half goal cancelled out Matt Harrold's 6th minute penalty for Wycombe. The return match at St James Park in April saw Exeter claim victory with the only goal of the game scored by Matthew Gill in front of a full house as both sides pushed for promotion.
2000/01 FLT: Wycombe 1 Exeter 0
2008/09 LG2: Wycombe 1 Exeter 1
2008/09 LG2: Exeter 1 Wycombe 0
The Man In The Middle
Saturday's referee is Stephen Rushton from Staffordshire who's in his first season as a Football League referee and has never taken charge of a Wycombe game before.
A home game against Wycombe would seem to be tailor made for an Exeter side with a good record at St James Park and a tendency to win most of their points against teams from the bottom half of the table.
But that doesn't take into account the Waddock factor and the Wycombe players' determination to prove that they're a better team than their lowly position would suggest.
Date:Thursday October 22 2009
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