League Two Rovers v Grecians

What will the result be ?

  • Tranmere victory

    Votes: 3 42.9%
  • Exeter victory

    Votes: 2 28.6%
  • Draw

    Votes: 2 28.6%

  • Total voters
    7
Rovers v Grecians
Posted by Ian
Prenton Park
Saturday, March 20, 2021 - 03:00 PM
Until: Saturday, March 20, 2021 - 05:00 PM
(Adjusted for timezone: Europe/London)
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Jason Koumas / John Morrissey
It is another huge game on Saturday as we host an Exeter side also chasing promotion and currently in eighth position.

The visitors are a decent footballing side as they showed in the reverse fixture, where a well below par Rovers were overrun in midfield and thrashed. They have some good individuals such as Matt Jay, Rendell Williams and Ryan Bowman and are the highest goalscorers in the league. I would expect this game will be far more open than last night's affair, with Rovers given more time and space to play but equally put under far greater pressure defensively.

It is a statement of the obvious, but goalscoring is a concern, particularly as we may have to score two or three to win this game given Exeter's attacking threat. We have tightened up at the back recently, with only two goals conceded in the last five games, but equally we have only scored three in those matches in the absence of Vaughan. I expect Nugent will drop to the bench, with either Lewis or Woolery in the number nine position, and both Lloyd and Morris restored to the side.

Our recent home form is very patchy and we really need to produce a convincing performance at Prenton Park. However, the result is everything and it is vital we win this game to stay in touch with the top three.

It probably was not wise to include a poll after Wednesday night, but I did anyway.
 
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Sparky

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Sorry but I’ve gone for an Exeter win. I just can’t see us scoring enough without Vaughan. We managed to at Southend but they were shockingly bad. Exeter are free scoring at times and I also worry about the gruelling schedule some of our older players are having to go through.

also our home record is the worst in the top 16 teams in the division. Could there also be a psychological factor after the reverse fixture?
Hopefully we’ll have a proper RB playing but I suspect CBT may be dropped and can we afford to give Nugent another chance? Hope I’m wrong but I can’t see a rovers victory, maybe a draw but i think the Grecians could take all 3 points
 

Ian

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Very tough game. I think they will get at least a goal which means we will have to get at least two to win. I just don't know where the goals are going to come from. We now have a huge void up front, bigger than I thought it was going to be when we lost Vaughan and we simply don't carry the threat up front. I couldn't even suggest how to play this one as I think Lewis is hugely uncomfortable in the false nine role. Possibly Woolery but he needs to recapture some of his form. I'm saying a draw at best.
 

Boz

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My concerns about the Grimsby performance were not limited to the toothless nature of our attack, despite some good work around their box in the first half. Defensively, especially after half-time, it was one of the most jittery performances from Rovers in a while, with Ray and Clarke in particular not being at their recent assured best. While Ridehalgh struggles with the attacking side of stand-in right-back, being so left-footed, he did ok defensively, but I would expect whoever plays at right-back to be asked more questions in this game. Keith was non-committal when asked about Khan/O'Connor's availability in the post-match interview, but if both are unavailable, there is a case for playing a back 3 and using Macdonald and Feeney as wing-backs. Up-front, we need to shuffle the pack and I'd agree that Nugent back on the bench and Woolery/Lewis up-front feels like the best option, where choices are very limited.

Like Sparky, I've gone for an away win and if Rovers can get anything out of this game it would be a decent result in my eyes. I'd agree with Ian that if we do win, it will need more than one goal to manage it.
 

Sparky

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We beat Newport by this scoreline and without Vaughan a couple of weeks ago, so it is certainly possible.

It is possible albeit I think on their day Exeter are a step up from Newport.

It really is a massive game this. Exeter are I think 5 points behind us but with a game in hand and a much better goal difference. Plus if it’s another game where we don’t score without Vaughan there will be more inevitable meltdowns
 
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I would say Exeter are a more fluent attacking side, but with similar quality players to Newport.

I thought the back four did fine on Wednesday and when we got stretched in the second half it was largely because of a lack of protection from the midfield, who looked very tired.

We have looked very solid since Clarke and Ray formed a partnership. Only two goals conceded in five, and three clean sheets in those games.
 

Boz

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A back 3 is an option but would I guess mean Manny coming back into the side who is still jogging back after that 5th goal at Exeter!
Could use Rides as the third player in a back 3.

It’s interesting how perceptions differ. While Lewis looked a bit jaded, felt that Spearing was looking close to his usual energy levels and probably our best outfield player on the night.
 
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I agree about Spearing, who I thought was man of the match, but as a collective I thought we looked jaded and got stretched in the second half.
 
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If I was asked which of this week’s matches was the most important to win, I’d say Saturday’s without a doubt. Although dropping points at Grimsby was regrettable, losing to Exeter would raise doubts about whether we can sustain a promotion challenge. I would love to be proved wrong (as I was on Wednesday) but I just can’t see us winning or even scoring at the moment. I am sure we’ll get back into gear eventually but not this time. If Keith can motivate the squad to beat this Exeter side after such a gruelling and disappointing week, I will be really impressed.
 

Sparky

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Could use Rides as the third player in a back 3.

It’s interesting how perceptions differ. While Lewis looked a bit jaded, felt that Spearing was looking close to his usual energy levels and probably our best outfield player on the night.
Yes rides a good option on the left of a back 3. Aaron Cresswell flourishing in that role these days at Upton Park
 
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I think some of the forecasts above are too negative. Exeter are in fairly patchy form at the moment and lost to Cheltenham last week.

If we play as we did against Southend and Sunderland we certainly won't lose the game.
 
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If we play as we did against Southend and Sunderland we certainly won't lose the game.
Agreed. But if we play as we did against Grimsby, we will.

I think it will all depend on motivation and energy levels. If Keith can get them both back up, then goals will follow, even without James Vaughan.
 
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Agreed. But if we play as we did against Grimsby, we will.

I think it will all depend on motivation and energy levels. If Keith can get them both back up, then goals will follow, even without James Vaughan.
But we can't simply respond to performances on a game by game basis. We have rarely, if ever, had two poor performances in succession under Hill and we are still second in the form table for the last six games. Key players were also rested or absent on Wednesday and it will be a different line up tomorrow.

I agree about freshness, mental and physical, being key.
 
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Sparky

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I agree that we are capable of getting a result and creating chances/ but so are Exeter and the question might be who is the most clinical in front of goal and that is where we aren’t looking great at the moment
 

Ian

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I would tend to agree RLC but our situation is a lot different know we have lost our main source of goals which has been evident in the last few games. We certainly have the players but we need them bang on form such as Feeney, Woolery, etc to fill the void..
 

Sparky

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Feeney, Woolery, Lewis and even Clarke will always chip in. Same for Lloyd and even CBT if he played. Those alongside Vaughan meant we scored enough altogether

but it’s the number 9 centre forward through the middle goal poacher type I.e. Vaughan we are badly missing and will continue to do so I fear. May very well be the difference between top 3 and top 7
 
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I agree, but we have tightened up defensively and now have to grind out results by different means if necessary.

A lot rests on whether Vaughan actually plays a further meaningful part in the season.

However, if we get eight one nil victories from the last twelve games, we will go up automatically.
 
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