Cisak, Clohessy (capt), Essam, Palmer, McAnuff, Payne, M’Voto (Shaw 46’), Turgott (Jahraldo 46’), Pritchard (Kashket 82’), Kpekawa, Simpson.
Grainger, Dunne, Moore, Moncur.
Olejnik, Butterfield, Woodman (McAllister 88’), Noble (Oakley 69’), Ribeiro (Davies 86’), Holmes, Nicholls, Moore-Taylor (capt), Nichols, Stockley, Brown.
Hoskins, Morrison, Tillson, Hamon.
Stockley 14’, 31’, Nichols 23’
THREE FIRST-HALF goals from Exeter City secured a victory at the Matchroom Stadium as the Grecians returned to winning ways in Sky Bet League 2.
In a pulsating match, the hosts had taken the lead in the opening minute through an Ollie Palmer goal. But City responded magnificently, drawing level through Jayden Stockley in the fourteenth minute before Nichols put the away side ahead with his tenth league goal of the campaign. Stockley doubled his tally for the afternoon just after the half-hour mark to put City in the driving seat, and the Grecians held onto their lead until the full-time whistle during a second-half in which Jay Simpson missed two penalties.
Exeter boss Paul Tisdale made five changes to the side that took a point away from the Globe Arena in mid-week, including a rare inclusion for Danny Butterfield
in the City back four. Jayden Stockley kept his place in the starting eleven to face his old side after scoring on his debut last Tuesday, partnering Tom Nichols
at the spearhead of the Grecians’ attack.
Exeter got off to the worst possible start as the home side took the lead within the opening thirty seconds. After the ball fell to ex-Reading favourite Jobi McAnuff on the right-hand side, the winger played a dinked ball into the path of Ollie Palmer who proceeded to tuck the ball past Bobby Olejnik
The away side responded magnificently, equalising just under fifteen minutes later. David Noble
delivered a cross from the right-hand side to find City’s latest recruit Stockley, who stooped low to head past Orient keeper Alex Cisak for his second goal in two games.
City grew in confidence following the equaliser, and could have taken the lead five minutes after drawing level. Some patient build-up in the middle of the park ended with David Noble
threading the ball through the Orient defence to send Nichols clean through on goal, but the striker’s low drive was saved by Cisak.
Nichols wasn't be be denied though, as he fired the visitors in front in the twenty-third minute. After Alex Nicholls
’ shot was deflected, Nichols showed great anticipation to be in the right place at the right time to head home from a yard out – a real poacher’s goal from City’s top scorer so far this term.
City should have doubled their leading margin five minutes later. An incisive break-away left City with a three-on-one attacking advantage, but Nicholls' shot from the right-hand side was well saved by the keeper.
Just after the half-hour mark, the Grecians scored their third goal of the afternoon. After Stockley was found unmarked in the Orient box by a Christian Ribeiro
cross, the loanee striker took a single touch before firing a controlled volley past Cisak.
As the boos began to echo around the Matchroom stadium, The Grecians came agonisingly close to adding a fourth goal in what was turning out to be a chaotic first-half of football. Following Nichols’ pass rebounding off a defender’s leg, the ball fell kindly for Ribeiro who proceeded to rattle the cross-bar with a curling effort from long-range.
Orient were struggling to deal with the movement of City’s front two, and they could have been punished again shortly before the half-time interval. Just after the fourth official had raised his board to indicate three minutes of first-half stoppage time, Nichols intercepted full-back Sean Clohessy’s weak backpass, but saw his shot blocked by a recovering defender.
HALF-TIME: LEYTON ORIENT 1-3 EXETER CITY
The half-time break did nothing to disrupt City’s attacking momentum, as they came close to extending their advantage within twenty-five seconds of the restart. Stockley, who was looking to complete his hat-trick, towered above his marker to connect with a cross from the left-hand side, but the Orient keeper was alert to push his headed effort around the post.
The hosts had made two half-time substitutions, and were beginning to regain a foothold in the game. In the fifty-sixth minute the ball fell to Jay Simpson, the top scorer in Sky Bet
League 2 this season with twenty goals, but the prolific marksman failed to find the target from twenty yards out.
The O’s came close again in the sixty-fifth minute as Clohessy’s cross from the right-hand side was gathered at the second time of asking by Olejnik, with an Orient forward lurking in the box for the rebound.
The away side were beginning to drop deeper in an effort to protect their two-goal lead. First Jobi McAnuff fired an effort dangerously wide of the City goal in the seventy-eighth minute, before City were let off by a major stroke of luck with ten minutes of normal time remaining. After Clohessy was brought down by Craig Woodman
in the box, Jay Simpson stepped up to take the resulting penalty, but the twenty-goal man couldn’t find the target as his spot-kick rebounded back off the post.
Four minutes later and City had conceded another penalty. Simpson stepped up again to redeem his previous miss from twelve yards out, but this time Olejnik was at hand, diving to his left to deny the league’s top scorer and maintain Exeter’s two-goal advantage.
There was still time for Orient to threaten again in stoppage time, as Simpson headed narrowly over, but it wasn’t to be for Simpson, or Leyton Orient, as Exeter won at Brisbane Road for the first time in twenty-one years to return to St James Park with a massive three points.
This was also the first double that City have completed over any side in Sky Bet
League 2 this season.
FULL-TIME: LEYTON ORIENT 1-3 EXETER CITY Attendance:
5,758 (529 away)
Man of the Match: