Given our abject history against the Grecians – that was our first win in Exeter since 1981 – I would have taken a draw. It’s not over, but, despite missing a couple of sitters, we couldn’t have realistically hoped for more than we got.
The Conference talking heads rounded on us before the game – Terry Brown on the BBC website and loveable Nigel Clough on SKY both predicted an Exeter victory. We’re not part of the Conference gang and there seems to be a pathological propensity to take every opportunity to dismiss us.
It’s a particularly true cliché to say that form goes out the window at times like this. There’s ‘no better luck next time’ in cup football; attitude and raw ability come to the fore. Form has not always been with us this season, but pound for pound we’re still probably the best squad in the league. Shod of the trials of bread and butter league football, we’ve surely got to start favourites. To write us off was little short of spiteful.
We were excellent – Hargreaves, Foster and Rose battled throughout whilst the big Zebroski was a willing and working target up front. We started well, absorbed pressure early in the second half and hit them on the break late on. Though the clock ticked by at a snails pace, we rarely looked in any kind of trouble. Our fabled fitness, so often cited as key early in the season, lifted its sweaty head again. When they applied pressure, we simply absorbed it – we weren’t worn down.
Back to the Kassam, then, it seems difficult to foresee us losing it from here, especially on the evidence of our opponents tonight, but it’s also difficult to see Tuesday being a particularly comfortable night.