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MATCH REPORT

PUBLISHED
15:04 2th December 2009

Bristol Rovers 1 Exeter City 0

It's slightly bewildering that City came away from the Memorial Stadium with nothing to show for their endeavours. But, unlike Stockport, where City took their chances, this time the home side managed to put away one of their few forays into City's penalty area as Bristol Rovers snapped the Grecians unbeaten league run on a cold, windy and wet night. Tisdale made several changes to the previously settled starting line up as Stansfield, Logan and Tully replaced Stewart, Corr and Fleetwood in a versatile formation. As City played into the strong wind they started brightly. Golbourne swung a low, dangerous cross in after 5 minutes. It evaded the defence but Logan could only steer his effort back against the upright from a tight angle. Moments later Stansfield broke the offside trap on the wide right but could only pull his shot tamely across goal. The home side's first effort came from the lively Kuffour after quarter of an hour but did not trouble Marriott. City continued to press and after a corner wasn't cleared by the home side Russell shot from 20 yards but his radar was off and it fell harmlessly wide. Marriott's first action came at the mid point of the half as he got down low to a shot and Duffy was on hand to hack clear. As City played the neat passing football we've become accustomed to it seemed at times as if Rovers weren't going to get much of the ball. But, as the adage goes, when you're on top you have to make it count. City couldn't and in the blink of an eye were one nil down. The ball fell for Kuffour 30 yards out with only Seaborne to beat. He pushed the ball to the right and past the City centre back before shooting from 18 yards for the far corner. Marriott again got down smartly but could only parry the ball into the path of Duffy who finished clinically from 10 yards. The remainder of the half petered out with neither side able or willing to stretch each other's back line and the home side went in the more satisfied. It was as you were after the interval and largely the same pattern of play. City having large dollops of possession in the midfield third without creating too much clear cut and Rovers looking to use width and the pace of Kuffour to hit on the break. Logan had a couple of half chances, one which struck Stansfield as it bobbled wide, Russell had a long range effort over and a series of City corners around the hour mark kept up the pressure on a resolute home defence. It felt as if City could score they could go on and win the game such was their territorial advantage but without the breakthrough Tisdale decide to make a change. Stewart, on his return to his first club, replaced Tully just after the hour and City continued to press. On 68 minutes a 25 yard skimmer from Russell had Andersen in the Rovers goal beaten but the ball struck the post again and ricocheted away to safety. Harley was finding more space now and he had a couple of long range efforts which Andersen dealt with comfortably. With 15 minutes to go Fleetwood and Corr replaced Cozic and Stansfield and the former was soon in on the action, shooting wide after a quick break. As the game became more stretched with City pushing it was inevitable that gaps would be left at the back. In the final quarter hour Rovers looked likely to take advantage of this on a few occasions but great defending from Seaborne and Golbourne in particular meant Marriott was rarely called into any significant action. As time ran down City had a hopeful shout for a penalty as Duffy's cross struck a defender in the area. In fact this was their second shout of the game, the first being a more blatant shirt pull on Stansfield in the first half which the officials didn't see. As 4 minutes of added time was shown a fierce Stewart effort was deflected wide and Duffy should have done better when he directed a low cross straight to Andersen. The best chance of the final moments though came to Logan who from 8 yards couldn't get enough purchase on his header and looped the ball harmlessly into the keepers arms.   And, soon after, the whistle blew to signal City's defeat. The result leaves City in 15th in a tight grouping just above the relegation zone. The next opponents are Brighton and Hove Albion at the park on Saturday under the new stewardship of Gus Poyet. The performance didn't justify the result but that's football. Just make sure you're there at the weekend to make sure City don't suffer the same fate again. City lined up: Marriott, Duffy, Taylor, Seaborne, Tully (Stewart 64), Harley, Russell, Cozic (Corr 74), Golbourne, Stansfield (Fleetwood 74), Logan Unused Subs: Jansson, Edwards, Dunne, Sercombe The majority of our match reports are the views of our volunteer writers and do not necessarily reflect the views of Exeter City Football Club.
    Data provided by Press Association