Mansfield 1-2 Exeter City: 3 things we learned

1. Crazy Corners

There are only three things certain in life; death, taxes and Exeter City failing to defend high balls into the area. The defensive vulnerabilities displayed throughout preseason and at the start of this campaign were on display once again at Mansfield as the Stags took the lead through a well worked corner. It’s said that only 1 in every 18 corners leads to a goal in football. This could not have been further from the truth yesterday as all three strikes in the game came from corners.

However, it wasn’t all bad news… as shaky as the Grecians’ defence looked in the opening half an hour, it turns out that Mansfield were just as bad at defending crosses, with Exeter managing to score two soft goals past the Stags to take all three points.

2. Josh is the Key

A new right sided defender was at the top of the list of priorities heading into the new season for Exeter City. Matt went with proven experience with the signing of Jake Caprice but few could have predicted that Caprice would be kept out of the side by academy graduate Josh Key.

Traditionally thought of as more of an attacking player, Key has slotted in well at right back in a back four and has looked undroppable in early season form. He has offered defensive stability as well as posing an attacking threat, culminating in a well taken headed goal to clinch all three points against Mansfield. In such as short space of time, Key has made himself a fan favourite at SJP and looks to have a very bright future ahead of him.

3. A Randell and Randall partnership

With Randell Williams as good as sold last week, Grecians fans were looking at Joel Randall to step up as Exeter’s main attacking threat out wide… and step up he did. A goal against Salford on the opening day sent out a statement that Randall was ready for first team action this season.

Then everything changed. The announcement last week that Williams had turned down a move away from SJP was welcome news for Exeter fans. The game against Mansfield was the first opportunity to really see Randall and Randell on the same pitch and there was plenty to be excited about. Barring the opening half an hour of the game, City dominated possession and always looked threatening going forward. The introduction for Joel Randall to the side this season has brought some much needed balance to the side in attack and if Williams can reproduce the sort of output we saw from him last campaign, Matt Taylor could well have a great pair of wingers on his hands.

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