Down in the fourth tier of English football dreams look a little different compared to that of the bright lights of the Premier League.
For Exeter City though, there is a real sense of optimism that they might be heading back to League One after a decade long absence. Will they get over the line and win promotion?
If you visit site with sports odds that includes the English League Two, Exeter is still in a favourable position to be promoted. So, this is our take on their season so far and just how far the club can go.
How has 2021/22 played out so far?
A slow start
Before we can talk about this season, we have to touch on last year’s campaign. In 2020/21 the club suffered a playoff final defeat hangover as Exeter finished ninth in League Two. The real kicker though was that the season could have ended in a much more positive fashion had the Grecians taken more than three wins from their final 10 matches. It was a flat end to the season.
Flat is exactly how the new campaign started as well. Pre-season ended with a draw followed by three straight defeats and then the competitive action followed suit; the first win of the campaign didn’t come until matchday five and it was mid-September before a second victory came around. A second win quickly followed before another five game winless run brought us to October 19th. By that point, the Grecians were already nine points off the top of the league and sat in that old friend, ninth spot.
Firing up, stalling and getting going again
Quite quickly though, those negatives were turned on their head. The winless runs were loaded with draws rather than defeats and by December the club had lost just once in 22 games across all competitions. A fair few of the draws had started to turn to wins too; Matt Jay was vital to that. Exeter had climbed the League Two table to fourth and were just one point off second. The positivity was killed by a woeful December and sluggish start to 2022; every game in December ended in defeat and the first win of 2022 didn’t come until the 15th January.
Since then though, things have transformed again. We’re now sat 13 games later with Exeter having lost just once. Had the season started at that point, they’d be sat top. What’s more noteworthy, however, is that Forest Green’s form has dropped off a cliff. They remain top but Exeter, who are second, are now just eight points behind them with a game in hand. The two teams are in drastically different form as well.
Will Exeter win promotion?
Their playoff chances
As things stand, Exeter are in second place in League Two. In terms of points though, they are only six points clear of eight place Port Vale; the two face off today, which could change that. Regardless, Exeter will, in all likelihood, drop a fair few points between now and then end of the campaign. That doesn’t mean it needs to have the panic alarm going off though; none of the teams below them are likely to rack up maximum points over the last 10 or so games either. With that considered, you then start to look at whether or not Exeter will give up more points than those also in the hunt for the top six; the truth is Exeter would be real bottle jobs if they manage to miss out on a playoff spot from where they are now especially considering their positive momentum.
If we assume that is an accurate view – and the betting odds suggest it is – you then start to look at who else will make the playoffs and, more importantly, who the Grecians might face. Of the sides currently in the playoff places, Exeter have already beaten Swindon and Bristol Rovers this season whilst they drew with Newport. Tranmere, who they’ve played only once, is the only side they’ve lost to and that was a narrow defeat. They won’t fear anyone they may meet in the playoffs.
Is a title race a possibility?
Of course, if all goes to plan for Exeter between now and the end of the season, the playoffs won’t be something they need to concern themselves. It’s extremely tight in the fight for automatic promotion with Exeter just the solitary point ahead of a trio of teams – Northampton, Bristol Rovers and Tranmere. One key thing that can’t go unnoticed is the fact Exeter have two games in hand over all those sides.
The saying goes that you’d rather have points in the bank but if the Grecians can win both of those games then they’ll hold a seven point advantage of their rivals for an automatic promotion spot.
That sounds like a fairly hefty lead with the others only have eight games left. There will be a few barn storming games for Exeter fans to look forward though; they have to travel to Tranmere and Northampton whilst an away trip to face Newport is a tricky fixture too. If Exeter can emerge from those games without losing then you’d fancy them to get enough in the others to go up.
The final thought Exeter fans will be dreaming of is a League Two title. If they can continue in their current form then that could become a very realistic thing to think about. A pessimistic view though would ask whether or not the phenomenal form Exeter have shown since January can continue for another 10 games.
The peaks and troughs of this and last season would suggest they don’t have it in them. Our view is that they’ll go up automatically but not with a title in their hands.