05 August 2023

Wycombe boss Matt Bloomfield says Exeter defeat a ‘reality check’ for his squad

05 August 2023

Matt Bloomfield admits his Wycombe players suffered a significant “reality check” after weeks of pre-season work went up in smoke against Exeter.

Two goals in the first five minutes fired Gary Caldwell’s red-hot Grecians to a comfortable 3-0 opening day victory as Jack Aitchison, captain Will Aimson and James Scott all netted at Adams Park.

Bloomfield says that left his players “shell-shocked” and the Chairboys boss urged them to deliver a rapid response when their travel to Lincoln next weekend.

He said: “It’s a reality check – if you look at the way we conceded those goals the lads were shell-shocked.

“It’s a disappointing scenario to find yourself in – there’s a lot of planning that goes over in over the summer and during this week, and then to find yourself 2-0 down.

“I think behind the scenes we’ve seen during pre-season that we have been missing bodies – we’ve had far too many of our top performers not being able to take part.

“The football league has a habit of throwing up these scenarios so unfortunately we were on the wrong end of one of those today. We have to make sure we are up to speed as quickly as possible.”

“We gave the ball away in a dangerous area early on, and unfortunately that ends up in the back of the net.

“There’s been plenty that’s happened at this football club that isn’t in our control, and in those situations where we are we have to make sure we’re better.”

Aitchison was one of 13 debutants across both sides and made the perfect start since joining from Motherwell, scoring after just 24 seconds.

A goalmouth scramble from a corner three minutes later then saw Aimson tuck home to double the lead.

Sam Nombe could have made it three from the spot, after Demetrii Mitchell was felled by Max Stryjek, but the Wycombe keeper saved superbly.

Wycombe rung the changes and had second-half penalty appeals waved away after substitute Josh Scowen was barged over in the box, but failed to muster a single clear-cut chance and Scott’s late goal saw Exeter seal victory.

Grecians boss Caldwell loved his side’s razor-sharp attacking performance and added: “It was an amazing start – I don’t think any of us would have thought we would have scored that early.

“I thought the intent and the aggression we showed in the first 15-20 minutes was incredible.

“We spoke a lot in the last couple of weeks about wanting to have a style of play and to play in a certain way, and we have to be a team that’s aggressive with and without the ball.

“And I thought the way we played in that early period, how we landed on second balls and when we ran forward – we called them so many problems.

“We looked a really dynamic front-foot football team, which is what we want to be. Every time we passed the ball forward today I thought we looked a real threat.”

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