The Devon Derby between Exeter and Torquay at Plainmoor ended 1-1, thanks to penalties by Rene Howe and Alan Gow
Bennett was penalised early in the match allowing Howe to convert, but Gow drew a foul minutes from the end to offer the Grecians a lifeline. He stepped up himself to slot in and earn City a point.
Exeter boss Paul Tisdale rang the changes ahead of the Devon Derby at Plainmoor. With the pitch looking fairly torn up after a tough winter of flooding in Devon, the City manager withdrew Alan Gow
, Matt Oakley
and Jimmy Keohane
from the starting line-up.
Amongst the substitutes for the Gulls was former Exeter man Martin Rice, while Steve Tully
was the Grecians’ sole survivor from the play-off victory back in 2008.
On the stodgy surface, the Exeter fans were making plenty of noise and the side were making plenty of the early play. Bauza, providing an outlet, opted to shoot from the right-hand channel but it flew wide.
But the hosts responded in kind and had efforts in quick succession. Firstly Ryan Jarvis just misdirected his header, before captain Lee Mansell saw his powerful drive deflected over the crossbar.
City took an early blow after seeing John O’Flynn
collapse in a heap after seemingly over-extending for a ball. It became evident quickly that he wouldn’t be able to continue, so Keohane was called into action in his place.
And the Grecians’ evening went from bad to worse when a ball looped in towards Rene Howe in the box, and it was adjudged to have struck the hand of Scot Bennett
on the way down – for which the referee awarded a penalty.
It was Howe that stood over the spot-kick and took his time before neatly dispatching into the top corner to give the Gulls a lead with just a quarter of an hour on the clock.
With Bauza proving an effective target-man, City were able to ease themselves into opposition territory and mount a few attacks. In quick succession Steve Tully
found himself involved in good positions – firstly shooting wide on his left foot after being laid in by Keohane, and then he returned the favour but the Irishman’s effort was inches wide of the far post.
City could have brought parity through Bauza when he was released by a combination of a big Exeter clearance and a lazily constructed offside trap allowed the Spaniard to break clear. However the Torquay defence caught up with the action and just managed to scramble the ball into touch before Bauza could fire.
Nathan Craig then wasted an opportunity to extend the Gulls’ lead before the interval. Kevin Nicholson’s strafing cross has Artur Krysiak
scrambling and it found the striker on the far post. He cut inside onto his left foot but pinged his shot well over the frame of the goal.
Half-time: Torquay United 1 Exeter City 0
Tisdale opted for a change in tack for the second period, with Gow being deployed at half-time in place of Bauza as the most advanced player for City.
The Gulls were straight back onto the attack early in the second period though and Howe’s volley from Nicholson’s low centre needed a smart tip-over from Krysiak to keep the Grecians from conceding a second.
City’s third and final substitution was made early, with Arron Davies
being withdrawn for Oakley in the 55th minute.
The two subs nearly combined to great effect soon after, when Steve Tully
’s throw down the line was backheeled into Gow’s path by Oakley, but the Scotsman’s effort curled just the wrong side of the upright.
The Grecians were seeing plenty of the possession suddenly as the hosts were being profligate in their possession. They strung together plenty of passes around the box before Gow took a sight of goal, but he couldn’t generate enough curl to find the net.
Gow again was involved when a direct run into the box allowed him to cut back for Keohane, and the midfielder’s flick was destined for the bottom corner, until Michael Poke scrambled the ball clear off the line.
On a rare second-half foray for the Gulls, the ball found its way to substitute Niall Thompson on the left flank. He cut inside to tee up Nathan Craig, whose shot ballooned over the bar.
But City finally made their breakthrough with the clock ticking down, in much the same way that they conceded – with a penalty. Alan Gow
was the architect, bundling between centre-half and full-back, and being hauled down eventually by Thompson.
Gow steadied himself and planted the ball high into the net to restore parity and to send the masses of City fans into raptures.
The Scotsman might have won the game late on, but dragged a snap-shot wide of the post.
Full-time: Torquay United 1 Exeter City 1
Torquay United: Poke; Oastler, Downes, Saah, Nicholson; Mansell, Lathrope, Jarvis (Thompson 63), Downes; Bodin (Stevens 76), Craig, Howe.
Subs (not used): Rice, MacDonald, Easton, Cruise, Yeoman.
Goals: Howe (15 pen).
Exeter City: Krysiak; Tully, Coles, Baldwin, Woodman; Amankwaah, Doherty, Bennett, Davies (Oakley 56); Bauza (Gow h-t), O’Flynn (Keohane 10).
Subs (not used): Evans, Oakley, Gow, Anderson, Reid, Moore-Taylor.
Goal: Gow (85 pen).
Attendance: 4,476 (1,443 away)
Referee: C. Pawson