Town sees off Gown in charity affair
Exeter City were convincing winners in this year’s “Town vs Gown” match with the University of Exeter at St James Park. Jake Gosling, Aaron Dawson, Oliver Watkins and Tom Nichols were on the scoresheet as the Grecians pulled off a resounding 6-0 victory.
Just over a week into the new academic year, a record Varsity crowd of 4324, most of which University of Exeter students, turned out to see the two sides contest the annual encounter, fundraising for both the Adam Stansfield Foundation and the Cardiomyopathy Association.
Tom Nichols had the first effort of the match after five minutes, and had Uni goalkeeper Nat Slack sprawling low to his left to make an early save. It was the City side who enjoyed much the better of the early chances, and a stumble by Elliott Chamberlain provided the University backline with some much-needed relief as Nichols waited to be fed in.
Nichols was denied his best chance yet after fifteen minutes, the Uni getting bodies in the way of his volley after a run of passing instigated by a piercing run from Connor Riley-Lowe from left-back. But the deadlock was broken on nineteen minutes. Jake Gosling found the top corner after some neat interplay between the City frontmen. Oliver Watkins might have quickly doubled the lead were it not for the hand of Slack, but it wasn’t long before Aaron Dawson surged through the Uni defence and fired in the home side’s second, again into the same upper-right corner of Slack’s goal.
Matt Jay replaced Jake Gosling shortly before Watkins was tripped by Jesse Wilson while through on goal, and from the resulting free-kick Nichols wrong-footed the Uni keeper, who was fortunate to get enough on the strike to redirect the ball to the relative safety of the by-line.
Having scored the Grecians’ second goal, Dawson was withdrawn and replaced by James Byrne with ten minutes of the first half to go. Toby Yeates heeded the calls of the raucous Big Bank to shoot with forty minutes gone, but his effort sailed high over James Mitchison’s bar.
But the offense from the University side was short-lived. Just moments later, Tom Nichols’ shot from just inside the Uni box took the goalkeeper out of the game, and left Ollie Watkins with a simple side-footed finish. 3-0 the half-time score.
Half-time: Exeter City 3 University of Exeter 0
Watkins slid in City’s fourth, doubling his own tally on fifty-six minutes. The goal ensured that City bettered their three-goal output from last year’s encounter, with over half an hour left to play. Jesse Wilson headed wide for the side in green on the hour, but a fifth goal for the Grecians was soon to follow. It went to their captain: Tom Nichols getting the goal his performance had deserved in cheeky fashion, chipping the stranded goalkeeper in a manner that audibly impressed the watching crowd.
Things just weren’t falling for the visitors, as Matt Langley was stopped in his tracks by the intervention of Jordan Tillson, while up the other end, the post was the only thing preventing Nichols from getting another. Scott Hobbs did manage a rare effort for the University, but couldn’t trouble Mitchison with his curling right-footed drive.
Matt Judge and goalkeeper Tim Salinger entered the action for the Uni side as both side made changes. Jacob Jagger-Cane was replaced by Jason Pope, while Connor Riley-Lowe also came off, with Hussein Heidari in his place.
With fifteen minutes to go, the Grecians made it six through a low Tom Nichols free-kick. It was one-way traffic from then on, as George Rigg and Tom Nichols both had multiple efforts on Salinger’s goal. A rare lapse in concentration among the City defence raised the University’s hopes of a consolation with five minutes left to play, but nobody was on the end of the resulting centre. The post was struck again, this time by Elliott Chamberlain, in the final meaningful piece of action.
Full-time: Exeter City 6 University of Exeter 0
Exeter City: Mitchison, Dawson, Riley-Lowe, Wannell, Tillson, Rigg, Jagger-Cane, Gosling, Watkins, Chamberlain, Nichols.
Subs: Jay, Byrne, Pope, Heidari.
Exeter University: Slack, Thompson, Aimson, Micklem, Wilson, Yeates, Blenkinsop, Bouwers, Langley, Hobbs, Marriott.
Subs: Salinger, Dwyer, Judge, Faktor, Fellingham, Buxton, Blackie.
Referee: James Uren