After two strong away results in the last seven days, Exeter City saw a point snatched away at the death as Burton Albion left it late to grab the winner at St James Park.
The Brewers had an abundance of corners throughout the match, but left it until the last of their 14 corners to finally penetrate the City defence, as Phil Edwards powered home an 89th-minute header.
Today’s fixture marked the One Game One Community promotion of female participation in football, and there were several local Women and Girls football teams at SJP watching the match, including Moors Youth Under-12s, Newton Fire, Feniton Ladies and Exeter and Tedburn Rangers. Meanwhile, the club were also supporting the Football Association’s 150th birthday celebrations, so there was a lot going on at the Park even before the Grecians kicked off against Gary Rowett’s Brewers.
Burton arrived in Devon right on the edge of the play-off positions, knowing they could rise as high as second with victory. Exeter City, on the other hand, fresh off two good away results at Scunthorpe and Oxford, were able to top the pile with a victory and by bettering the results of Rochdale and Chesterfield, who were on their travels at Dagenham & Redbridge and Bristol Rovers respectively.
Sam Parkin returned to the starting line-up to lead the line for the Grecians, with Jimmy Keohane
dropping to the bench. But the first notable effort went to the away side, as Adam McGurk fizzed a drive just over Krysiak’s bar on seven minutes. John O’Flynn
was even closer minutes later when he brought a good save from Albion keeper Jordan Pickford having been put through by Alan Gow
There was a minor penalty shout after twenty minutes as the ball appeared to bounce up onto Shane Cansdell-Sherriff’s arm, but referee David Coote was uninterested. Billy Kee had an effort that was not dissimilar to his side’s first five minutes later, but the result was the same – the ball sailing over the untroubled Krysiak’s bar. Craig Woodman
had to be on his toes to deny the away side as he headed clear under pressure in a busy penalty area.
On the turn, Billy Kee curled a dangerous effort which Krysiak did very well to push wide for a corner, with the former Torquay United player looking dangerous on his return to Devon. The goalkeeper was also on hand to punch clear a free-kick from the right-side, while Danny Coles
also observed his defensive duties in getting his body in the way of another Kee strike.
Chris Hussey was getting plenty of corner-taking practice in during the first half, with no fewer than ten going the Brewers’ way, but none of those brought any real trouble for the City backline, as the sides went in for the break goalless.
Half-time: Exeter City 0 Burton Albion 0
Paul Tisdale withdrew Sam Parkin at half-time and threw on David Wheeler in his place as the Grecians sought to turn up the pressure, and they took no time at all in doing so, as Alan Gow
shot from the left-hand side-line to force Albion goalkeeper Pickford to tip over his bar. From the resulting corner, Tommy Doherty
had a rebound-shot blocked. Liam Sercombe
tried to take a Craig Woodman
corner on the volley on fifty-one minutes, but just miscued with his execution.
Chris Hussey received the game’s first yellow card for a high boot on opposite number Woodman, before an excellent save by Krysiak from the curling shot of Jimmy Phillips. Not to be outdone, Pickford dived low to his right to stop John O’Flynn
There was outcry amongst the home fans as Robbie Weir escaped with only a yellow card for his clash with Doherty, who picked himself up to fire just wide of the goal in the game’s next key chance. Billy Kee was replaced by Alex MacDonald for Burton manager Gary Rowett’s first substitution.
David Wheeler almost broke through the Albion defence but tripped former Plymouth man Damien McCrory to force the referee to bring the move to a halt just after the hour. There was another yellow to match the Albion strip as sub MacDonald was booked for a foul on Krysiak.
When Arron Davies
gained possession from around thirty yards out, his setup of Gow provided the best chance of the match so far, but Alan Gow
again found Pickford in his way in a one-on-one. There was a chance down the other end for MacDonald who headed over, before Exeter’s final to changes were made: Matt Gill and Matt Grimes came on for Tommy Doherty
and John O’Flynn
, Gill getting a warm welcome as he made his return to SJP after linking up with the Club again last week.
But the substitutions were powerless to stop Phil Edwards power in Chris Hussey’s corner with just one minute of normal time to play. The 27-year-old defender headed in fiercely, leaving Krysiak with no chance. Matt Grimes had a half-chance for a late leveller, but fired over as the Brewers held on for a 1-0 away victory.
Full-time: Exeter City 0 Burton Albion 1Exeter City:
Krysiak, Bennett, Baldwin, Coles, Woodman, Davies, Sercombe, Doherty, Gow, Parkin, O’Flynn.
Subs: Pym, Moore-Taylor, Nichols, Keohane, Grimes, Wheeler, Gill.
Pickford, Edwards, Hussey, Sharps, Weir, McCrory, Phillips, McGurk, Palmer, Cansdell-Sherriff, Kee.
Subs: Lyness, Diamond, Bell, MacDonald, Knowles, Dyer, Symes.
Attendance: 3,658 (99 away)
Referee: D. Coote