Exeter v Colchester | Monday 22nd June 2020, 17:15 | Sky Sports
It had been 103 days since both Exeter and Colchester had last played a league game when their play-off semi-final first leg had come about, and in truth that looked the case. In what could be best described as a drab affair, Colchester have taken a vital 1-0 lead into this second meeting in four days. A spot at Wembley, albeit an empty one, remains up for grabs.
Whilst Exeter did ultimately lose the first leg, I don’t necessarily think boss Matt Taylor will be massively upset and disappointed. At the end of the day, they remain in the tie and it was a match where there was literally nothing between the two teams; apart from Cohen Bramall’s free kick of course!
Whichever way you look at it, that is now six without a win for Exeter in all competitions, including four defeats. Each of those four losses came away from home, which is a slight surprise given they’ve one of the strongest away records in League Two. They do boast one of the best home records in the division as well, and the last team to defeat them was Grimsby back in September. It is therefore 18 without defeat at St James’ Park, that was of course with fans in the stadium.
The big question is how Colchester will approach this second leg. The fact of the matter is that a clean sheet would ensure progression to the showpiece event at Wembley, and whilst John McGreal was a centre back in his playing days, I just can’t see them parking the bus from the very start.
Another goal would be massive for ColU, and they certainly possess pacey individuals in attack who can cause some damage. Kwame Poku and Courtney Senior are two talented youngsters who may benefit should spaces appear if Exeter take a risk or two.
That being said, don’t expect Exeter to panic and go hell for leather right from the off. Whilst they need to win, they shall also pay respect to a Colchester side who is now unbeaten in all three head-to-head encounters this season so far. There is clearly very little to separate these two outfits, and just like the first leg, this second leg could very easily be decided upon a set piece or moment of magic.
Quite a weight of pressure will be on Ryan Bowman to deliver the goods in the final third for Exeter. He is the only member of the squad to reach double digits in terms of goals, but he barely got a kick in the first leg and he’ll be eager to make an impression in what is ultimately the biggest game of the season for both Exeter and Colchester.
Whilst Exeter are in great home form, the whole lack of crow element does of course have to be taken into consideration. It is clearly very difficult to make too many true judgements of these sorts of matches in these kinds of circumstances looking on things such as past form across the reason.
The reality is that this is a new season within a season, but both Exeter and Colchester have at least got 90 competitive minutes under their belts to blow off the cobwebs, so I am expecting a bit of entertaining in the form of goalscoring opportunities this time around.
Ranging games at this moment in time is proving an immense challenge, even more so for these League Two play-off games. Everything is on the line here and both would be gutted to miss out on Wembley at this point. It is advantage Colchester, but we can’t quite rule Exeter out of the equation just yet.
There was only two shots on target in the first leg, and I’d back another low-scoring affair here, even if it could potentially become stretched later on.
Exeter should put in more of a showing, and Taylor himself says he thinks they’ll be better for playing the first leg. Exeter Double Chance and Under 3 Goals at 11/10 (Bet365) on the bet-builder isn’t a bad way to potentially look at this one.
Exeter v Colchester – Exeter Double Chance and Under 3 Goals (11/10 Bet365)