Exeter City came from two goals behind to seal a 4-3 win over Cheltenham Town at the LCI Rail Stadium.
After falling behind early on thanks to two goals from Kevin Dawson, Paul Tisdale’s men battled back with two Reuben Reid strikes as well as goals from Jordan Moore-Taylor and Jake Taylor.
The home side notched their third late on, but the Grecians held out for a brilliant win over a Town side who provided a stern test.
The Grecians made two changes to the side that sealed a 1-0 win over Lincoln City at St James Park a week ago with Luke Croll and Troy Archibald-Henville dropping out of the side for captain Jordan Moore-Taylor and Lee Holmes.
An entertaining first half saw four goals with the home side dominant for the first half an hour, before the Grecians fought back from two goals behind to level things.
City were given an early scare when a dangerous looping cross by Kevin Dawson saw Christy Pym backpedal and punch away, but the home side did take the lead on eight minutes through the Town midfielder.
Another cross from the right, by Carl Winchester, found Dawson in space in the City area as he volleyed home from close range to give Cheltenham the lead.
Town, who came out of the traps very quickly against Tisdale’s men then had a Harry Pell free kick well blocked by the City wall from just outside the area.
But it wasn’t long before Dawson found his second of the afternoon as he tapped in from close range, again from Winchester’s cross from the right-hand side as the Town player found himself unmarked to put the home side 2-0 up after just over ten minutes.
City’s first real meaningful chance came through Liam McAlinden just after 20 minutes. The forward picked up the ball from distance and ran at the Town defence before lashing the ball over Jonathan Flatt’s crossbar.
After 30 minutes Dawson had the opportunity to seal his hat-trick, but for Pym, who came out well to block after Mohamed Eisa found him in the area following a home side counter attack.
City then had a breakaway of their own after clearing from a Cheltenham free-kick. Jake Taylor did well to find Holmes on the right, before the winger cut inside to return the ball to his teammate whose goal-bound effort was blocked bravely.
But the Grecians did find the net seven minutes before the break through Moore-Taylor. After Lloyd James was fouled on the edge of the box, the City captain placed an excellent free-kick into the far corner leaving Flatt with no chance.
City then broke level just moments before half time when Holmes’ cross caused confusion in the Town area after McAlinden’s header seemed to come off a Town defender’s hand, but Reuben Reid was alive to step up and slot in from close range to register his third goal of the season.
The second half took a little longer to spark into life with City’s first attempt coming on 54 minutes through McAlinden. After good battling in the centre by Taylor, who won back possession, he then set McAlinden away down the left, but his left footed shot was well over Flatt’s goal.
The City number 19 then had yet another attempt on goal, after being found by James, and turning well but his effort was straight at the Town goalkeeper.
Substitute Danny Wright then went close for the home side, after breaking down the right-hand side behind Moore-Taylor and driving in on goal, but his effort sailed the past Pym’s front post as both sides continued to push forwards.
City then had a golden opportunity to take the lead through captain Moore-Taylor. After Sweeney kept a corner alive with a cross back into the area, the defender rose well but nodded just over.
The Grecians then had the perfect chance to fire themselves ahead from the penalty spot. Tenacious work from Taylor, who won the ball back on the edge of the Cheltenham box, saw him burst inside before being fouled by Jamie Grimes which left the referee with no choice but to give the defender a red card to leave the home side with ten men.
That left Reuben Reid with the opportunity to fire low past Flatt and complete the comeback and seal his second of the day.
But City weren’t done there, when just moments later McAlinden played a perfect pass to set Taylor free, and the midfielder calmly curled his effort into the far corner to give Tisdale’s men a two-goal advantage.
The Grecians then thought they had their fifth of the afternoon, but for the linesman’s flag, when Holmes played in Reid whose effort was palmed into the path of McAlinden who slotted in, but the linesman adjudged the forward to have been offside.
But the home side continued to battle at the LCI Rail stadium when substitute Dan Holman found his way past the City defence to poke the ball past Pym which would set up a nervy final few minutes for the travelling City fans.
Despite that, the Grecians held out for a memorable 4-3 victory over the Gloucestershire side.
Cheltenham Town: Flatt, Grimes, Cranston, Storer, Atangana, Pell, Dawson (Holman, 79), Winchester, Eisa, Graham (Wright, 53), Forster (O’Shaughnessy 70)
Subs not used: Lovett, Bower, Thomas
Red Card: Grimes
Exeter City: Pym, Sweeney, Woodman, James, Tillson, Holmes, Moore-Taylor, McAlinden (Jay, 88), Taylor, Reid (Simpson, 87), Brown
Subs not used: Hamon, Archibald-Henville, Brunt, Croll, Sparkes
Attendance: 3168 (Inc, 774 away)