Grecians put Whites to the sword in friendly fixture
With eight days to go before the season begins, Exeter City triumphed 2-1 at the Raymond McEnhill Stadium in a friendly fixture.
The Grecians’ early lead, which came courtesy of an unfortunate own-goal, was cancelled out by a well-placed Ricky Wellard free-kick after an hour.
However Jimmy Keohane, on as a sub, scored the game’s winner soon after as he rounded off a swift passing move.
Amongst the starters for the Whites was the former Exeter City winger Elliott Frear, who moved to the Ray Mac in the summer following a promotion during his loan spell in 2012/13.
Paul Tisdale selected another strong side ahead of their penultimate friendly, with the fine-tuning just being done ahead of the new season.
And it was within minutes that the Grecians opened the scoring as Doug Bergqvist advanced well to force a ball goalwards, and it wormed off the luckless Will Puddy in the Salisbury goal and in for the opener.
In a rare foray forward, Salisbury were allowed a little too much time to ponder their options and a whipped cross by Robbie Sinclair was met by the forehead of Brian Dutton, though under pressure he couldn’t direct it on target.
Despite some decent football being played in the middle of the park, the first half was largely bereft of chances until Sam Parkin was almost released by Aaron Dawson when a ball intended down the channel ran through towards the forward – however the assistant’s flag denied him the chance to shoot.
Dawson almost gave a perfect demonstration of why to gamble at the far post when he bombed forward from full-back to meet John O’Flynn’s nod-down, but he couldn’t quite get his angles right to convert.
Arron Davies then came close to doubling the lead when he wriggled into the box and played a neat one-two with striker Parkin, but his shot was saved low by the advancing Puddy.
Half-time: Salisbury City 0 Exeter City 1
The Whites came out looking livelier in the second half and created two early opportunities to level the scores. The first came when Warren Feeney hit a low strike from a tight angle which was blocked out by Pat Baldwin, while the second came as Chris McPhee drifted in unnoticed and brought strong palms from Artur Krysiak.
As the game ticked past the hour mark, the hosts did finally manage to equalise. When Baldwin apprehended Feeney outside the box, Wellard stepped up to curl a 20-yard free-kick around the wall and just inside the post.
Liam Sercombe might have re-established the lead for City with a thrashed strike from outside the area, but Puddy got enough on the swirling effort to keep it out. John O’Flynn was flagged off with his follow-up.
But the Grecians were ahead again within five minutes of conceding as Keohane applied the finishing touch to a neat move down the right. Jordan Moore-Taylor, on as a sub in an unfamiliar right-back position, slipped in Parkin down the right flank. The striker drifted towards the byline, picked out the Irishman’s run, and he curled into the bottom corner.
Both sides made plenty of changes during the second period, which somewhat disrupted the ebb and flow of the game. However when Elliott Chamberlain – who had been introduced late on alongside Matt Grimes and Jake Gosling – raced clear down the left, the City players appealed for a penalty as he was bundled down but the referee adjudged the infringement to have taken place outside the area.
From the resulting passage of play, the ball again fell to Chamberlain but his shot on the half-volley cleared the frame of goal.
City’s final chance of note came when Gosling crossed inside for Tom Nichols – while the striker got plenty of power to the header, his effort lacked direction.
Full-time: Salisbury City 1 Exeter City 2
Salisbury City: Puddy, Ruddick, Brett, Kamdjo, Clarke, Dutton, R.Sinclar, S.Sinclair, Wright, Feeney, Frear.
Subs: Hart, Wellard, McPhee, Gwinnett, Flint, Fitchett, Roberts, Thompson.
Goal: Wellard (61).
Exeter City: Krysiak, Woodman, Dawson, Baldwin, Coles, Bergqvist, Bennett, Sercombe, Davies, O’Flynn, Parkin.
Subs: Pym, Oakley, Gow, Doherty, Moore-Taylor, Reid, Moore-Taylor, Nichols, Gosling, Keohane, Wannell, Jagger Cane, Tillson, Anderson, Grimes, Chamberlain.
Goals: o.g. (4), Keohane (66).