Match report: Arbroath 1 Exeter City 0

Grecians defeated at Gayfield Park

Exeter City were defeated by a 1-0 scoreline at Gayfield Park at the hands of Arbroath.

The Red Lichties netted the only goal of a competitive game in the second period as Kane Hester slammed in a loose ball from close range.

Five starters from the 1-1 draw with East Fife retained their place in the opening XI for the fixture – which included defender Craig Woodman and Jordan Tillson, midfielder Tom McCready and attacking duo Alex Nicholls and Jamie Reid.

Meanwhile goalkeeper Bobby Olejnik was named as a starter for his first appearance in an Exeter shirt, while trialists Alex Fisher and Will Hoskins were available from the bench.

The Grecians were dominating the early exchanges and it was Nicholls who almost got his name on the scoresheet early on – captain Danny Butterfield hung up a cross which was taken away from the striker by the outstretched hand of goalkeeper Allan Fleming.

Defender Troy Brown then had a chance to break the deadlock as he met a Craig Woodman’s inswinging corner, but the header was off target.  Tom McCready then had a set-piece of his own as Tom Nichols won a free-kick 25 yards out, but his bending strike was marginally wide of the post.

The hosts began to see some opportunities fall their way – first Bobby Linn chanced his arm from a tight angle and missed high, before the striker then almost found Stewart after City conceded the ball high, but Brown made a telling interception.

Olejnik was forced into making a succession of important saves – firstly to deny Linn, who had ridden challenges to get a shot away from a wide angle, and then denying Munro who had risen highest from the resultant corner.

Reid had a speculative effort from 35 yards which cleared the bar, and then Jordan Lowdon made a critical challenge on Tom Nichols as the forward received from a fizzed Matt Oakley pass.

The chance of the half came and went for Exeter when a terrific raking ball from Nichols found Nicholls on the move – he beat the offside trap, but couldn’t round goalkeeper Fleming.

Half-time: Arbroath 0 Exeter City 0

City made eight changes at the break as game-time was shared out – and new introduction Matt Jay came close to finding the back of the net shortly after coming on, but bent just wide after being fed by Manny Oyeleke.

Sub Wheeler then also had a chance when Reid sprayed a strafing diagonal ball into the area, but the header was ultimately straight at the goalkeeper who held well.

Chances were coming thick and fast – when Alex Fisher raced clear down the left, he pinged a cross-field ball for Reid to take a touch and hit – just wide of the near post.

Red Lichties full-back Lowdon then hit a belter of an effort from wide and deep – it dipped and swirled but Christy Pym showed safe hands.

However he was powerless to do anything about the breakthrough goal – when a ball in from the left was bundled into the path of Hester, the striker only needed one touch to drill into the net from close range.

Wheeler had a chance to level up as he showed good movement and was found by Arron Davies’ ball forward – his first touch took him slightly wide and then he curled his effort over.

And Alex Fisher could have levelled late on when a strike from Holmes was parried into his path by sub ‘keeper Calum Brodie, but he could only steer wide.

In the end it was the Red Lichties who ended up claiming a friendly win as the Grecians’ pre-season in Scotland came to an end.

Full-time: Arbroath 1 Exeter City 0

Arbroath: Fleming (Brodie), Verlaque, Lowdon, Munro, Hay, McWalter (Philips), Linn, Stewart, Hester, Gold (Clarke), Watt (Cameron).
Goal: Hester.

Exeter City: Olejnik (Pym); Butterfield (Ribeiro), Tillson (McAllister), Brown (Holmes), Woodman (Davies); McCready (Jay), Oakley (Byrne (Noble)), Oyeleke (Harley); Nicholls (Fisher), Reid (Watkins), Nichols (Wheeler).
Unused subs: Hamon, Hoskins.

Referee: Scott Leslie