Pat Baldwin calls on fans to get behind Exeter City
Exeter City defender Pat Baldwin has expressed his disappointment at the supporters that booed him and his team-mates off after the 3-0 League Two defeat to Hartlepool United last Saturday.
Just seven days after the Grecians were cheered off following a 3-1 Devon derby win against Plymouth Argyle, the emotions and reactions of Exeter fans could not have been more different against a Pools side that were good value for their win.
The Grecians were well below par, admittedly, but Baldwin and several of his team-mates were saddened to hear the boos that rung around St James’ Park at the full-time whistle.
“It was a very flat atmosphere and it was disappointing that we got booed off the pitch,” Baldwin said. “I know we weren’t great on Saturday, but it’s not as if we perform like that every week.
“I was really disappointed because I think our fans are better than that.
“It is still very early in the season and we are going to need them with us if we are going to be successful this year. We can’t expect to go out every week and create something that gives the fans something to shout about.
“We know that we have to do better than that, there was a whole dressing room of disappointed people. But everyone needs to stick together and move in the right direction.”
Baldwin added: “We have to be careful we don’t go back to similar things to what happened last season where the atmosphere is not great and we aren’t creating good enough play for them to get excited about.
“Sometimes, we do need the crowd to get behind us to get us going.”
Indeed, last season was one to forget for the home faithful, who witnessed just seven wins on home turf from 25 league and cup encounters. However, the Grecians have already won four times at home this campaign.
Saturday’s performance was by far Exeter’s worst of the season so far and Baldwin offered no excuses.
“It was not good enough on Saturday. It’s as simple as that,” he said. “Everything we tried went wrong, but I don’t want to take anything away from them because they set up really well and you could see why they had some really good results away from home.
“But we should be good enough to be able to deal with that and we weren’t on Saturday.
“Possibly there was a hangover to the Plymouth game, but there shouldn’t be. We could look for excuses all day, but if we want to be successful, we have to play better than we did on Saturday.
“We will talk about it and try and improve as a team, collectively and individually, but ultimately, we have another game on Saturday (at Scunthorpe) and next Tuesday (Oxford) that we need to concentrate on and focus on.
“They are two huge games for us, especially after we lost on Saturday. But it is down to us to show a positive reaction and get a good result.”
Baldwin added: “It was a disappointing first goal to concede and then losing Danny Butterfield was a loss because we lost the balance we have had since he came to the club, but we need to be good enough to deal with that and we weren’t.”
Butterfield’s enforced substitution, due to a calf problem, merely added to Exeter’s woes. They went into the game without striker Sam Parkin, whose hamstring problem again kept him sidelines, while key midfielder Matt Oakley is due to visit a specialist this week over his ankle problem.
On the plus side, Parkin is close to a return, while John O’Flynn appeared as a second half substitute against Hartlepool after he too spent time on the sidelines with a hamstring issue.
“We have a few injuries, which is never ideal, but you have to hope that they are not too serious. If no, then whoever comes in has to put in a good performance,” Baldwin added.
“We have some good and important players coming back as well, so we have to learn from Saturday, write it off and come again next week.”
Meanwhile. City’s Premier League Under-21 Cup game at Crystal Palace has been scheduled for Tuesday, October 29 at Selhurst Park with a 7pm kick-off.