Not all doom and gloom for EUAFC

EUAFC look to a promising cup run as a distraction from their poor league form.

EUAFC football

After a long Christmas break without any BUCS football, the EUAFC 1st team returned to action with a disappointing 3-1 loss away at table toppers Swansea last Wednesday. With 16 points from 6 games, the Welsh outfit top division 1A and Exeter certainly went into the game as slight underdogs. At the other end of the table Exeter sit rock bottom with just 2 points from 6 games and there are just 4 games left for the 1s to save their BUCS campaign. After a pleasing performance in Wales, Exeter dominated much of the proceedings but fell short to some clinical finishing from the Swans. It was a bitter pill to swallow for the side but a couple of crunch matches at home to Cardiff and Hartpury leave their fate in their own hands. However, it is the same old story in the BUCS league as some impressive performances must be converted into points soon as the team flirts dangerously with relegation. Something of a sense of deja vu then, as last season as Exeter won on the final day of the season and Captain Des Peare will be hoping his team have the character to survive once more.

After losing the vast majority of the first team to graduation last year it certainly took a while for the team to adjust to the rigours of a BUCS league just one below the top tier. With only a handful of third and fourth years comprising the starting XI, there is an onerous task ahead of some talented first and second years to drive the team forward. The last game of 2011 saw the side travel to fellow strugglers Cardiff and pick up a well earned point; as long as Exeter can hang on in there a crunch match against Cardiff at Topsham may well decide their fate. With a large pitch suited to the 1s expansive style of play they have every chance to comprehensively beat Cardiff and stay up. It is notoriously difficult to get a result away from home as long trips across the South West take its toll even before a ball has been kicked. Despite this, Exeter must improve their home form if they are to stay up. With 3 straight loses at home, it seems the away games may have become a saviour for the squad.
It has been a sharp learning curve for an inexperienced side. After working through the lower teams in the club, a couple of promising freshers are kicking around the first team and manager Dave Evans may look to them to salvage their BUCS campaign. But it would be very early to panic for the 1s and with 4 games remaining and only 2 points from safety a couple of home wins will surely propel the squad to mid table.

A very commendable and promising run in the BUCS trophy has left EUAFC dreaming of a final place as they entertain UWE 1s at Topsham on the 1st February. Two very difficult away ties at Hartpury and Brunel resulted in two convincing away victories and the team can draw huge confidence from this very respectable run. Dave Evans will surely be hoping that a cup run will inspire the squad to some strong performances in the league, where a 4-1 victory away at a strong Hartpury side has shown that the team are more than capable of winning all four of their last fixtures. The rest of the EUAFC members are preparing to show their support on Wednesday as they flood down to Topsham to witness what will be a very intriguing tie. Whilst the cup run cannot cover the cracks in Exeter’s league performance it should provide the confidence to show they are more than able to compete at this level.