Joel Grant nets twice in win over the Robins
Two goals from Joel Grant gave Exeter City victory in their reserve game against Cheltenham Town on Tuesday afternoon.
The Grecians named a strong starting XI for the match with Jordan Tillson and Ryan Harley both starting as they continue their comeback from lengthy spells out injured, while Ethan Ampadu, Jack Stacey and Joel Grant – who have all been heavily involved with the first team this season – also began the match.
City started in positive fashion with Connor Riley-Lowe getting down the left and crossing for Matt Jay to send a header just wide.
Jay then went on a good run into the box before pulling a ball back for Harley to shoot at goal, but his effort was well saved by the Robins’ Callum Kitscha. Grant then went close with a couple of efforts, firing a shot wide from 25 yards and a free-kick over the top.
However, as the half wore on Cheltenham came back into the match with Amari Morgan-Smith volleying over and then being denied by a good clearing header from Jordan Storey.
Harley came the closest to breaking the deadlock in the first half though when in the closing stages of the opening period he jinked his way into the area and chipped an effort onto the crossbar.
That proved to be his last meaningful action of the game though as both he and Tillson were replaced at the break by Max Smallcombe and Toby Down. Keeper James Hamon was also substituted at the interval for Bobby Olejnik.
Cheltenham started the second half on top, but for all the visitors’ territory, Olejnik was untested in the City goal.
City then fired a warning shot as Stacey crossed for Jay to head over with 20 minutes to go. The opening goal followed four minutes later as Stacey played a defence-splitting pass to send Grant in on goal and the Jamaican international rolled a controlled finish passed Kitscha.
That lead was doubled minutes later as the lively Jay sent a low cross into the six-yard box for Grant to tap home.
City could have added another goal in the closing stages as Kitscha produced an excellent stop to deny Kyle Egan but, in truth, the points were wrapped up as soon as Grant’s second goal of the afternoon hit the back of the net.
Exeter City: Hamon, Egan, Storey, Tillson, Connor Riley-Lowe, Ampadu, Harley, Byrne, Grant, Stacey, Jay. Subs (all used): Olejnik, Down, Smallcombe, Seymour, Collins.
Cheltenham Town: Kitscha, Cordell, Lymn, Kilkenny, Bower, Lloyd, Whitehead, Thomas, Morgan-Smith, Arthur, Hance. Subs: Llewelyn, Hancocks, Dans.