Saturday, October 13th 2012
It’s a welcome back to Exeter City this weekend as the Cobblers meet the Grecians for the first time since the year 2000 when the Cobblers would go on to win automatic promotion from what was then still know as Division Three (ah, the good old days!). City have been, up down and back again since then with a stint in non-league followed by a couple of seasons in League One before relegation last season.
We’ve managed to miss them through all that so it’s a re acquaintance for both as the Cobblers look to build on Tuesday’s Johnstone’s Paint Trophy win over Colchester and Exeter come in search of a result that will help call last weekend’s defeat at home to Port Vale a blip as they go for promotion back at the first attempt.
The roller coaster life of a Grecian…
After escaping the confines of the Conference in 2008, following five years captivity, Exeter won promotion at the first attempt before avoids relegation from League One In their first season, a year later and the Grecians finished just a place off the playoffs in an agonising end of season battle. But poor away form – just two wins on the road all season – contributed to a poor season last time out and City were relegated after finishing 23rd and eight points from safety.
Former Cobbler in charge…
The man still leading City in this new era is Paul Tisdale, who’s spent some time on loan at Sixfields during his playing days. Tisdale made five appearances for Town in 1992 but injury forced him into an early retirement. Taking charge of Team Bath in 2000, Tisdale took the university side into the FA Cup First Round as the first uni side to compete in the competition since 1881. He also oversaw four promotions before joining Exeter in 2006.
City flying high despite recent defeat…
Last weekend’s 2-0 reverse at home to Port Vale was City’s fourth of the season but they still sit up in fourth place having reacted well to relegation. Away form has greatly improved and they’ve won four out of five on the road ahead of the trip to Sixfields.
Visitors looking for end to barren run in Northampton…
Exeter haven’t won at Sixfields since 1973 with the Cobblers winning seven of the ten games between the clubs in Northampton since then.
As well as Exeter boss Tisdale having a small link to the Cobblers, midfielder Aaron Davies also makes his first return to the club after being released in the summer. Davies was only at Sixfields for one season but fell out of favour with new boss Aidy Boothroyd in the second half of the campaign.
Guillem Bauza is another City player to have recently been with Town with the striker scoring four times in ten appearances for the Cobblers in 2011, helping us to League Two survival.
Cobblers midfielder Chris Hackett was on loan with Exeter last season, making five appearances for the club.
The Cobblers are expected to name new signing Emyr Huws in the starting line-up after the midfielder joined from Manchester City on Wednesday. Shane Higgs was injured in the JPT game against Colchester so he will be out for a couple of weeks but Danny East could return after missing that tie. John Johnson, Luke Guttridge and Ben Hardin are all definitely out, though.
Exeter could welcome back midfielder Scot Bennett after he returned to training this week. Liam Sercombe is also back after recovering from an ankle injury whilst Alan Gow is another that is back in the frame meaning that Paul Tisdale has a close to full strength squad to choose from.
Previous Six Meetings…
18/03/00: Cobblers 2-1 Exeter (Division Three)
A big win for Town en route to promotion in 2000. Richard Green put us in front before Carlo Corazzin made it two before the break. Nerves were jangling as Darren Rowbotham halved the deficit mid-way through the second but Town held on for a precious three points.
23/11/99: Exeter 1-2 Cobblers (Division Three)
Jason Rees had Exeter in front after just seven minutes from the spot but goals from Carlo Corazzin and Ian Hendon turned the game around as the Cobblers came home from Devon with all the points.
25/11/97: Cobblers 2-1 Exeter (FA Cup First Round Replay)
The Cobblers progressed to a Second Round tie against Basingstoke and eventually a Third Round exit at Leicester City thanks to this replay win at Sixfields. Roy Hunter opened the scoring early on but it looked like Billy Clarke’s equaliser would send the tie to extra time until Carl Heggs netted the winner with four minutes to go.
15/11/97: Exeter 1-1 Cobblers (FA Cup First Round)
A few days earlier, Darren Rowbotham had gave City the lead at St. James’ Park but Roy Hunter earned the replay in which the Cobblers would eventually progress.
19/04/97: Cobblers 4-1 Exeter (Division Three)
Comfortable Sixfields win for Town as goals from Sean Parrish, Mark Cooper (2) and John Gayle put us on course for the playoffs and that famous day at Wembley. Darren Rowbotham scored from the spot as City scored a late consolation.
12/10/96: Exeter 0-1 Cobblers (Division Three)
A tight contest that was settled by Christian Lee’s first half goal at St. James’ Park.
The Man in the Middle…
The name’s Bond…Darren Bond. He’s charged with his first ever visit to Sixfields having spent last season working the Conference. Bond took charge of his first ever League One fixture a couple of weeks ago in Leyton Orient’s 2-1 win at Walsall.
Hopefully the confidence gained from Tuesday’s win over Colchester will help the Cobblers for this one but Exeter have been terrific on the road this season so I’m having to sit on the fence this week. 1-1