Exeter City boss Matt Taylor has demanded his players start taking their chances in front of goal after the Grecians slipped to their first league defeat of the season against Grimsby over the weekend.
The Grecians lost 3-1 against Grimsby at St James Park as goals from Ethan Robson (2) and Moses Ogbu prevented the early League Two leaders from breaking a club record by going 14 games unbeaten.
Exeter are still sitting top of the fourth-tier table despite the defeat with Taylor’s side having won six of their opening 11 league games after narrowly missing out on a play-off spot on the final day of last season.
However, the City boss was far from happy with his side’s performance during the weekend loss as Ryan Bowman’s late consolation goal was the only time his side could find the net despite having 22 attempts on goal.
Taylor has previously bemoaned his side’s lack of killer instinct when dominating matches and he has now criticised his attack for not taking their opportunities earlier, with Bowman’s goal coming deep into injury time at the end of the match.
“The defence will take criticism in terms of that performance, and rightly so, but the centre forwards have to contribute as well. We saw how clinical Grimsby were, we saw how clinical Leyton Orient were, so if we get opportunities, we have to take them,” he told Devon Live.
“We think we have good players at this club and they have to start taking their chances, it’s as simple as that, and they have to take them earlier.
“We don’t want to leave it late because, ultimately, you won’t always be able to do that so, collectively, we have work to do. But I am not going to be too hard on that group of players because they have been magnificent so far this season.”
Exeter have looked impressive at the start of the season but there is no escaping Taylor’s verdict that they need to start putting chances away if they are to seriously challenge for automatic promotion.
The amount of quality in the Exeter side meant they could have maybe found a route back into the game if Bowman’s goal had come earlier, but the fact they only scored in added time meant they left it too late to get a result.
The Exeter side now faces a serious test of character following their first league defeat of the season and it will be intriguing to see whether they are capable of immediately bouncing back from the defeat.
If the Grecians are able to take Taylor’s criticism on board and then bounce back in their next match against Crewe, then they will have proven their ability to compete at the top of the league throughout this campaign.