City's 12-game unbeaten run comes to and end at Home Park
Exeter City’s 12-game unbeaten run came to an end at Home Park on Saturday as they were beaten 3-0 by local rivals Plymouth Argyle.
The Grecians were two goals down at the break with Matty Kennedy and Ryan Taylor scoring the goals for the Pilgrims, but the Grecians had plenty of chances to get back into the match with Troy Brown heading against the bar and Reuben Reid sending another effort just past the post.
However, City drop to fifth in the table as a result of the derby day loss but could at least take comfort in the fact that they didn’t lose ground on third-placed Carlisle United who were beaten at home by Blackpool.
City manager Paul Tisdale made one change to the starting line-up with Reuben Reid, who fell ill in the warm-up ahead of the 4-0 victory against Crewe Alexandra, coming back into the side at the expense of Liam McAlinden.
League Two player-of-the-month for January Ollie Watkins, who came off injured in the match against Crewe, also recovered to take his place in the starting XI.
City started the match well with Jake Taylor volleying wide from inside the box after a bright opening 13 minutes for the visitors.
However, Argyle took the lead a minute later as Graham Carey – who was a nuisance throughout the first half – slid a well-timed pass into Matty Kennedy and he fired a shot past Christy Pym.
Six minutes later and Pym had to produce a top class reaction save to deny Ryan Taylor as the ball fell to the former Grecians loanee in the area.
Taylor, playing his second game for Argyle since his transfer from Oxford United, proved a handful early on with Troy Brown and Jordan Moore-Taylor facing a battle in the air with him every time they went up for a header.
However, City started to exert some pressure towards the end of the half and were unfortunate when Argyle doubled their lead on the counter. This time Kennedy was the provider of a good-weighted ball into the feet of Taylor and he found the bottom corner with a well-placed finish.
City came close to pulling a goal back before the break, but Brown could only glance a header onto the crossbar.
The Grecians came out in determined fashion at the start of the second half with Watkins having a long range shot deflect wide for a corner and then Brown, from the resulting corner, saw his shot well-saved by McCormick.
Brown then had another good chance on 57 minutes, but could only head Craig Woodman’s corner the wrong side of the right hand post.
Next to go close for City was Reid, but his header from a curling ball in from Watkins was also just past the post.
Tisdale then made changes bringing on Robbie Simpson and Liam McAlinden for Reid and Wheeler. And it was still City who continued to press and control the second half proceedings as Simpson sent a header goalwards that McCormick comfortably gathered.
A counter-attack in the 87th minute then gave McAlinden a chance but his curling effort was easily saved.
City’s nightmare afternoon was then completed as Christy Pym was harshly adjudged to have fouled Jake Jervis just inside his area. The City keeper was booked and couldn’t stop Jervis making it 3-0 from 12 yards.
Plymouth Argyle (4-2-3-1): McCormick; Threlkeld, Sokolik, Bradley, Sawyer; Songo’o, Fox (Donaldson, 78); Carey (Slew, 89), Sarcevic, Kennedy (Jervis, 80); Taylor. Subs not used: Bulvitis, Spencer, Dorel, Tanner.
Exeter City (4-2-3-1): Pym; Stacey, Brown, Moore-Taylor, Woodman; Taylor, James; Wheeler (Simpson, 70), Watkins, Harley; Reid (McAlinden, 70). Subs not used: Olejnik, Tillson, Oakley, Croll, Sweeney.
Booked: Woodman, Brown, Simpson, Pym
Attendance: 14,671 (1,533, away)