Rovers triumph with lucky goalA midweek cup game between two local rivals in Bristol Rovers and Exeter City ended in defeat for the Grecians by a solitary goal.
Despite carrying good form into the game, and looking comfortable for the majority of the match, the visitors conceded a late goal from which they couldn’t recover from.
They had started brightly though, dictating a lot of the play and controlling the tempo from the midfield. Captain Matt Grimes put in an outstanding performance and he found a lot of the ball in the middle of the park pulling the strings for City as they searched for the crucial first goal.
Going forward, Exeter looked effective once again, and starting with Matt Jay and Cameron Gill in attack, they looked lively and threatening.
However it was in defence where improvements were massively made. Despite winning 6-3 the previous Saturday against Cheltenham Town, the young Grecians looked suspect at the back, however this performance put all critics to bed as they were compact and organised in a much more solid looking back-four.
Kamarl Duncan, sitting in front of the defence provided decent protection too as he swept up anything loose in the middle of midfield and dropped back when he was needed.
However Exeter defended from the front, and they did everything they could to win the ball back, with all players taking their good few days' training on board as all duties were performed well.
Connor Riley-Lowe in particular proved to be a thorn in the home team’s side as the left-back continuously put brave tackles in and provided good width when City came forward.
However on 80 minutes, the Devon side’s hard work came to no avail as Rovers converted the only goal of the game.
Throughout the game, the conditions were tricky, with swirling winds and a boggy pitch not aiding either team trying to play football.
But they did work to the Bristolians' favour for their goal. With a ball crossed in from the right, the Rovers striker won the header and with Christy Pym in the City goal unlucky to misjudge the bounce, as the ball trickled into the net.
On another day, where the weather may had been more pleasant, the ball would have been smothered comfortably by Pym, but with the wet turf going against him, the lack of bounce led to the ball keeping low enough to roll beyond the unfortunate shot-stopper.
However City kept their heads up and never gave up and they sought out to find an equaliser in the 10 minutes that remained, however they were not rewarded for their hard efforts.
It meant City left feeling gutted as the full-time whistle blew, hoping some kind of luck will fall their way instead soon.
Youth Team Coach Kevin Nicholson said: “The result was very cruel on us. Every individual worked their socks off out there and can be proud of their performance.
“We trained very well and improvements have been made again, transferring our hard work onto the pitch. The most pleasing thing being we defended much better and looked like we might’ve kept a clean sheet.
“But we will continue to work hard and the players will be determined to get the right result next time out.”
1 Christy Pym
2 Sam Brown
3 Connor Riley-Lowe
4 Kamarl Duncan
5 Hussein Heidari
6 Irvine Densu
7 Josh Wadham
8 Matt Grimes
9 Cameron Gill
10 Matt Jay
11 Toby Gostling
12 James Byrne
14 Jason Pope
15 Joe Charles