Last Saturdays West Country derby game result at the home of Bristol Rovers ended Exeter’s winning ways over its local rivals, writes Gareth Thomas.

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Ahead of the game Grecian confidence would have been reasonably high with Bristol having won only three games out of their last 18, and the Grecians hoping to bag a win as they had done over Plymouth and Torquay. It was not to be though, as in what was an entertaining game, Exeter who had taken the lead succumbed to a 2-1 defeat.

After absorbing some early pressure it was the Grecians who took the lead in the 34th minute with a fortuitous own goal from Lee Brown who in fairness was under pressure from Exeter’s David Wheeler in a great position, and more than likely to have scored himself. With our fans still celebrating their teams luck, Rovers were attacking City from the kick off, and in the ensuing panic, Grecian Danny Butterfield upended an attacker in the box and John-Joe O’Toole scored from the 12-yards spot to draw the game level. Looking back at the balance of play City were not far off the pace against a quick and determined Rovers team. Manager Paul Tisdale must have thought the same and in the second half introduced two centre forwards in the shape of Sam Parkyn and John O’Flynn to capitalise and seize the initiative. In fairness though there was no noticeable impact and the game was heading to what have been a fair draw but in the final minute of extra time Rovers clinched the winner by O’Toole who struck the late and decisive blow.

There were clearly some standout performances from the City team and for me these included the efforts of Alan Gow, Matt Grimes and David Wheeler. Tom Nichols as usual put in heaps of effort but was not as influential as he has been, and Parkin and O’Flynn had little influence after their arrival on the pitch. The good news is that defender Danny Coles was a starter after absence through injury and Matt Gill was on the bench. As we know we have a super bunch of young talent in the squad and if the likes of Craig Woodman, Matt Oakley and Tommy Doherty could return from injury there could be a change in City fortunes.

Following the recent cup success over Blackburn Rovers Exeter City’s Premier League Under-21 Cup clash with Burnley has been set for Tuesday, February, 4 (7pm).

The Grecians have already seen off Torquay United (4-1), Crystal Palace (3-2), Southampton (2-0) and Blackburn Rovers (2-1) to reach the last eight.

City are the last remaining Category 3 Academy left in the competition and winning through to the semi-final could see them play a lived televised clash on Sky Sports!

This Saturday it a return to St James Park for Morecambe who have now gone four games without a win, but despite that, in a tight table, remain just two points and two places outside the League Two play-off places. The Grecians will be looking to secure a much needed morale boosting home win against their visitors who are five points and four places above them. Come on you Reds!

This coming Monday (January 20), Alan Gow is a visitor to the East Devon Grecians at the War Memorial Club. If you would like to come along please contact Di Lee- 577567 for more information.

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