MATCH REACTION: KEVIN HILL ON SLIMBRIDGE DRAW

Exmouth Town manager Kevin Hill reflected on a disappointing afternoon at the Circle of Care Community Stadium, as they drew 2-2 with Slimbridge in the Southern League Division One South.

The game started the same way as Exmouth’s previous two, as Jordan Harris scored an early goal to put them in front, but goals either side of half time from Dale Evans and Ethan Dunbar put the visitors in front. 

With five minutes to go, a James Richards free-kick was headed home by Ace High to ensure that Exmouth had something to show from the afternoon.

Speaking shortly after the game, Hill said: “Coming into the game after the last two, at home you are hoping to get three points.

We started off well, we went one-up, kept doing what we are good at, but we dropped off.

Standards dropped after about 20 minutes into the first half, complacency, and to be fair they get one sniff at goal and they take their chance, and that happens.

Then we go 2-1 down, mistakes were creeping in, which we tend to find when we play teams in the bottom part of the table.

I’m delighted with the result to get to 2-2 because I didn’t see the boys coming back, we looked flat, don’t get me wrong there were a few that dug in, I thought James Richards was excellent, (Aarron) Denny in the second half, as well as Cal (Shipton), (Dave) Rowey being the only recognised central defender, I know Jordan Casey hasn’t played for a while, if you look at the back line it was makeshift all over.

At the end of the day, I’ll take the point.

I wanted to come and win today but fair play to Slimbridge, they’ve come here and done a job, they feel aggrieved at some things.

I find it hard because we get into this habit where we just do enough, we’ve done it for the last three/four years, and we’ve had the same set of players so I know I will get the same sort of results, but they have been good to me over the years.

These are the sorts of games where we should be getting three points.”

In a stop-start game, full of cheap fouls and opportunities from dead balls, Exmouth struggled to find any joy from their set-pieces until the last moments, which Hill puts down to a lack of risk taking in the 18-yard-box.

“I had this argument with them at half time, and after the game, we’ve got some big lads and we put the ball in, and it’s not so much the quality, we just don’t have gamblers.

If one goes up for the ball, watch back and see if anyone runs towards the goal, they just stop because the ball isn’t near them, just keep your run going.

I said to them, we have one at the near post, one in the centre, one at the far post and someone on the outside just holding off, then the first corner of the second half they are all bunched together.

These little things sometimes feel like they go in one ear and out the other, and finally Ace (High) hung out at the back-post, where did he get his header from, the back post.

It’s not rocket science but hopefully they take it on board.”

Once again, Exmouth have dispelled the slow starter narrative, that had plagued Town during a poor run heading into the new year, and Hill puts the change in form down to mentality, as well as singling out a returning player.

“A little bit of mentality, James Richards coming back into the middle of the park because he’s at them and at them, the way he plays is all 100% and it sets the tone for others.

He’s not a proper midfielder, he’s usually a right-back but he can play in there and it’s just all energy, and everyone feeds off it, he isn’t afraid to pull players around.

He brings a lot of energy and I think you can see that Cal thrives off it, and when we get on the ball we just look a better side again, just by increasing the tempo and the pace.”

Exmouth will look to continue their unbeaten run as they welcome AFC Totton to the Circle of Care Community Stadium this Wednesday (7:45pm KO).

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