City hunt for points at Bristol Rovers

15:46 18 January 2013

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Last Tuesday evening the rearranged game between Exeter City and Torquay United was played. The last time the two teams met at Torquay United was just over four years ago, in May 2008, and, as we know, the Grecians were 4-1 winners in the Conference Play-Off match which led to their successive promotions to League One, writes Gareth Hughes.

Ahead of the game, the Grecians had hosted promotion rivals Southend United and, with a fine 3-0 much-needed home victory, moved themselves into the third automatic playoff spot. This was only City’s first home win since the start of November and brought the total of home wins this season to just four out of the 14 played and securing their third straight league win in front of a crowd of 3,971.

The first goal, scored by a resurgent John O’Flynn, came in the 43rd minute of a half which Southend had probably edged. The striker picked up Alan Gow’s pass in from the right and hit an excellent shot across Southend keeper Paul Smith and in off the post. Throughout the second half City controlled the game and midfielder Scott Bennett doubled the lead in the 80th minute from a Matt Oakley corner aimed for the far post. The final goal was made by the ever improving Jimmy Keohane who unselfishly slipped the ball to O’Flynn who scored his second of the game with a simple tap-in. Manager Paul Tisdale was delighted with the win: “The win was built on a very determined group of players, which we have been for the last few home games, and I am really pleased with the way we stuck to the basics. We did the right things and got some really good goals to boot just to cap the result.”

So with the third best away form in their division the Grecians and their travelling army of 1,500 fans made the short trip to Torquay who were keen to end a five-game winless run. Some Tisdale tinkering, presumably to rest players, saw Alan Gow, Matt Oakley and Jimmy Keohane on the bench and a place found for Guillem Bauza who has not featured in the team in recent times.

The first half started badly as John O’Flynn, the only recognised striker playing, was injured early on and replaced with Keohane. The 1-1 result was a reflection of the game and told the story of two halves and two penalty goals. The first half produced poor football from both teams and Torquay were awarded a penalty which they converted. For the second period Tisdale bought on Gow and Oakley, replacing Bauza and Davies. From then on City dominated the field but without a recognised striker could not capitalise on the play. However, their efforts were rewarded in the 84th minute when Gow was upended in the Torquay box and converted the awarded penalty.

A point shared and one that both sets of fans won’t complain about. A date for your diary is Monday , January 28 when the return fixture will be played at St James’s Park.

●This coming Saturday there is another local derby as Exeter make the short journey up the M5 to play Bristol Rovers who unfortunately prop up the League Two table with just six wins and 25 points to their name.

The good news is that Jamie Cureton should be back from suspension. Come on you Reds!

Bristol Rovers would like to assure fans that all possible precautions are being taken to try and make sure Saturday’s game against Exeter can go ahead.

Pitch covers have been laid at the Memorial Stadium to protect the playing surface from the predicted cold snap.

The pitch below the covers is currently playable. The covers will be removed for a spell tomorrow to allow the pitch to breathe and then be relaid until the weekend.

The club also have a large supply of grit and salt to treat the terraces and car park areas.

However, with “significant” snow fall predicted on Friday they are keeping a close eye on the situation.

We will keep you updated over the coming few days as things become clearer.

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