Grecians through to semi-finals of St. Luke's CupLine-Up
Exeter City: Keadell, Egan (capt), Hartridge, Harkness (Collins 70’), Grimes, Down, Rehemi (Hargreaves 62’), Rogers, Rosenwald, Merritt, Richards (Seymour 84’).
Subs: Gillard, Williams.
Goals: Hargreaves 75’
Referee: Adam Bromley
SUBSTITUTE CAMERON HARGREAVES struck with fifteen minutes remaining to send a youthful City side into the semi-final of the St Luke's Cup.
At a baltic Edenvale Park, both sides struggled to cope with a heavy pitch, but the quality of City’s youngsters shone through in the end with Hargreaves netting the decisive strike in the seventy-fifth minute.
After a tentative opening to the game, it was City that crafted the first chances of the encounter. First Frank Rosenwald stung the keeper’s fingertips with a driven effort from close range, before following up that strike with another attempt that flew wide of the post and into the car park behind the goal. The Grecians were inches away from taking the lead six minutes later as Mustafa Rehemi’s shot across the face of goal struck the upright with the keeper beaten.
In the twenty-fourth minute the hosts worked their first opening of the game, though Kavanagh Keadell was well-placed to save Matt Fanson’s poked attempt from the right-hand side of the area. Cullompton worked the space for another shot on goal ten minutes later, but centre-midfielder Brad Riggs blazed his long-range effort well over the crossbar.
Nick Grimes came close to breaking the deadlock with six minutes of the first-half remaining, curling a free-kick from the left-hand side narrowly wide of goal.
City threatened twice during the closing stages of the half, but couldn’t find a way past Nathan Whatley with either effort, and the two sides went in for the interval on level terms.
HALF-TIME: CULLOMPTON RANGERS 0-0 EXETER CITY
As the temperature plummeted well below freezing at Eden Vale Park, the opening stages of the second-half became quite literally bogged down in midfield on what was proving to be a difficult surface for either side to keep the ball on the deck.
Shortly before the hour mark Will Richards connected with a low cross from the right-wing, but with the City younger outstretched, he could only manage to steer his effort wide of the left post.
Some good work down the right-hand side from Rosenwald almost resulted in a chance for City in the sixty-sixth minute, but the towering striker couldn't pick out a teammate in a crowded area, and the ball was cleared upfield. Rosenwald was at the centre of the action again four minutes later, this time crossing for Jamie Harkness who headed just over the bar.
City had dominated proceedings in the second-half, and took a well-deserved lead with fifteen minutes of normal time remaining. Scott Merritt did well to latch on to a lofted ball up the right flank, before squaring for substitute Cameron Hargreaves for the easiest of finishes.
Merritt almost turned from creator to goal-scorer in stoppage time, but saw his strike hit the bar. The referee’s full-time whistle brought to an end a thoroughly efficient performance from City, as they overcame a comparatively more experienced Cullompton side in challenging conditions.
FULL-TIME: CULLOMPTON RANGERS 0-1 EXETER CITY
Attendance: 100 (Approx.)
Man of the Match: Kyle Egan