Cheltenham Town 1 Exeter City 3: Match report
Two late goals from David Wheeler earned Exeter City their seventh away win of the season as they beat Cheltenham 3-1 at Whaddon Road.
City manager Paul Tisdale made three changes from the side that drew 0-0 with Luton Town last time out.
Two of those were forced as Jordan Moore-Taylor and Pierce Sweeney were missing through injury, while Liam McAlinden dropped to the bench. That meant a return to the starting XI for Jack Stacey, Lee Holmes and Matt Oakley.
It was an entertaining first half with both sides creating numerous chances, but it was the home side who went into the break having gone the closest to breaking the deadlock.
They fired an early warning shot when Rob Dickie’s header looped onto the top of the crossbar and then, after 22 minutes, Amari Morgan-Smith drilled a shot from 20 yards which rattled the base post with Christy Pym beaten in the City goal.
Harry Pell hit a similar effort from the edge of the box that Pym tipped over the crossbar.
And then came the chance of the half for the home side as City struggled to clear a cross into their box and the ball fell at the feet of Billy Waters who rolled a shot past Pym. Thankfully, for the Grecians, David Wheeler was in the right place to boot the ball off the line.
City had their chances as well, with Watkins hitting a right-foot shot just past the post on 10 minutes and then having a good shout for a penalty turned down when Daniel Parslow tripped him from behind as he was racing into the area.
Lee Holmes, Lloyd James and Reuben Reid all brought saves out of Cheltenham keeper Russell Griffiths as well and Jake Taylor volleyed a chance just wide in the closing stages of the first half after being found by a good cushioned header from Wheeler.
Wheeler was the first to go close at the start of the second half as his left-foot shot from inside the box rolled past Griffiths only to be cleared off the line by Jordan Cranston.
City then took the lead in the 54th minute as a good run and pass from Jack Stacey saw the ball break kindly for Lee Holmes and he curled a left-foot shot into the top corner from the edge of the box.
However, for the next 15 minutes Cheltenham had plenty of possession and were deservedly level when Aaron Downes’ long ball bounced on the edge of the box for Billy Waters to fire a volley into the bottom corner.
Further chances came Cheltenham’s way in the minutes that followed with Pym saving from both Cranston and Walters, but City showed great resolve and hit back to take the lead again with 10 minutes to go.
The goal came from a free-kick on the left which was floated to the back post for former Cheltenham player Brown to nod back across goal where Wheeler hooked the ball home from close range.
There was to be no second comeback from Cheltenham as City substitute Liam McAlinden fired a shot that was only parried out by Griffiths for the alert Wheeler to profit by side-footing home the rebound.
Watkins could have made it even better in the closing stages, for one Exeter City fan in particular who always bets £10 on the Grecians to win 4-1, but when he was put through on goal by McAlinden his shot went narrowly over.
However, it was still a great day for City as they moved up to 17th in the table.
Cheltenham Town (4-4-2): Griffiths; Dickie; Downes, Parslow (O’Shaughnessy, 57), Cranston; Dayton, Storer (Arthur, 87), Pell, Morgan-Smith (Suliman, 68); Waters, Wright. Subs not used: Kitscha, Barthram, Munns, Rowe.
Exeter City (4-5-1): Pym; Stacey, Brown, Oakley (Tillson, 48), Woodman; Wheeler, Taylor, James, Watkins, Holmes; Reid (McAlinden, 80). Subs not used: Olejnik, Harley, Grant, Empadu, Storey
Booked: Watkins, Woodman, Wheeler, Ampadu
Attendance: 3,113 (678)