Report: Argyle 1 City 2
Exeter City left it late at Home Park to snatch another three vital Sky Bet League 2 points in the Devon Derby.
Liam Sercombe and Eliot Richards found the net to complete a come-from-behind victory over the Pilgrims, with Reuben Reid having given Argyle the lead shortly before half-time as he converted a penalty conceded by Danny Coles’ handball. Paul Tisdale’s men showed great character to turn it around, sending the elated travelling supporters home happy.
Exeter City manager Paul Tisdale named an unchanged side for the third-consecutive game as the Grecians went in search of back-to-back wins for the first time since the beginning of October – which oddly enough came via a win over Argyle that followed three points against Fleetwood Town, who were beaten at St James Park on Saturday.
Plymouth boss John Sheridan brought midfielder Paul Wotton back into his starting line-up after he missed the Pilgrims’ weekend draw at Accrington Stanley, while Luke Young also came back into the side as the Green Army hoped to avoid succumbing to a Sky Bet League 2 double by their Exeter neighbours. Striker Tope Obadeyi started for the home side on the final game of his loan spell from Bury.
The Grecians started brightly and after just two minutes Liam Sercombe had a shot blocked from just inside the box. Pilgrims captain Conor Hourihane had a shot of his own blocked five minutes later. Danny Coles slid in to deny Reuben Reid after Argyle’s top scorer had produced a powerful run at the City backline with ten minutes gone.
A neat sequence of passing created the opportunity for Nichols to produce the game’s first shot on target as the match approached its quarter-hour, but the collection was comfortable for Plymouth keeper Jake Cole. Luke Young’s shot was deflected perilously close over Artur Krysiak’s bar shortly after, before Andres Gurrieri also had an effort stopped in its tracks by an outstretched leg.
Scot Bennett hit over on the half-volley following a Tom Nichols layoff, while Reuben Reid dragged one wide as both sides began carving out chances. Curtis Nelson was booked in amongst some free-flowing City play, but against the flow of play, Reuben Reid managed to break and smack the bar. Matt Gill had no complaints when he was cautioned for tackling Argyle’s top-scorer from behind two minutes later.
Just as Exeter had looked like going in at the break on the ascendancy, they were dealt a heavy blow as Danny Coles misjudged a headed clearance and handled the ball, giving referee Robert Madley an easy decision to make in awarding a penalty. Reuben Reid stepped up to tuck away his sixteenth goal of the season, Krysiak guessing the right way but being beaten low to his left. The goalkeeper had one last save to make in the first half as he got down to stop a strong Hourihane drive. 1-0 the half-time score.
Half-time: Plymouth Argyle 1 Exeter City 0
The intervention of Andres Gurrieri just put off Scot Bennett when the Exeter City man was ready to pull the trigger and strike Tom Nichols’ cross goalwards in the first minute of the second half. Nichols worked himself an opening and found the left post not long after, before Krysiak denied Reuben Reid his second of the game with a smart stop, before having to react quickly when the powerful striker attempted to chip the ball over his head.
Matt Grimes replaced Matt Gill on the hour. A third save of the half by Artur Krysiak from Reid was followed by what was nearly a spectacular goal by Danny Butterfield, as he fired just over from twenty-five yards despite falling over as he took his shot. Grimes, ten minutes after coming on, brought a first save of the half from Jake Cole. Moments later, the Grecians were level. After Liam Sercombe dropped his shoulder and took the ball onto his left foot, his shot taking a minor deflection and looping into the net, Cole well beaten.
Paul Wotton was booked for a cynical tackle from behind on Tom Nichols after Eliot Richards had fired the advantage wide immediately after City’s goal. Argyle nearly retook the lead as Danny Coles made a goal line clearance, before Plymouth made a double substitution, with Marvin Morgan and Durrell Berry coming on for Tope Obadeyi and Matt Parsons.
Krysiak saved a Luke Young free-kick before a goalmouth scramble at the other end resulted in Matt Grimes skewing one wide. Jason Banton came on for Paul Wotton in John Sheridan’s final swap. Exeter were showing signs of being the most likely side to take the lead as Sercombe fired at Cole before Matt Oakley fired wide. Some good defending from Danny Coles dispossessed Reid, before the 826 travelling Grecians got the loudest they had been all night – that was because they watched as Eliot Richards put Exeter in front, converting Tom Nichols’ pass for his third goal in his last two games.
Sercombe smacked one over with the outside of his boot, while Argyle had a minor penalty appeal when Durrell Berry went down, softly, under a challenge on the left-hand side of the box. With three minutes of injury time signalled, the Grecians needed one last push to keep out their hosts. John O’Flynn replaced Tom Nichols in the dying seconds, and the Grecians held on for a second successive win, completing the league double over Plymouth this season and maintaining their 100% record in Devon derbies this term.
Full-time: Plymouth Argyle 1 Exeter City 2
Plymouth Argyle: Cole, Blanchard, Hourihane (capt), Reid, Young, Wotton (Banton), Trotman, Nelson, Parsons (Berry), Gurrieri, Obadeyi (Morgan).
Subs: Boco, Blizzard, Harvey, Dawson.
Exeter City: Krysiak, Butterfield, Woodman, Bennett, Coles (capt), Sercombe, Oakley, Richards, Moore-Taylor, Nichols (O’Flynn), Gill (Grimes).
Subs: Paldwin, Davies, Parkin, Pym, Wheeler.
Attendance: 13,442 (826 away)
Referee: R. Madley