City rescue a point on a dramatic day at St James Park
Exeter City showed their never-say-die attitude as they battled back from three goals down at home to Yeovil Town.
The Grecians looked to be heading to defeat in the 89th minute even when David Wheeler had crashed a volley off the inside of the post. However, Troy Brown then headed home in the first minute of stoppage time and Reuben Reid completed a remarkable comeback that kept City in the play-off places with seven games of the season to go.
City manager Paul Tisdale made four changes to the starting line-up. Wheeler and Reid, having not trained all week due to injuries picked up at Luton Town, were only fit enough for a place on the bench, while Jack Stacey and Bobby Olejnik also dropped out and were replaced by Christy Pym and Pierce Sweeney.
The Grecians had the majority of possession in the first half with both Jake Taylor and Ollie Watkins looking lively. It was Watkins who was first to go close for the home side as he had a shot from distance well blocked. Then, after a quarter of an hour, Watkins set up Taylor with a sight of goal but he dragged his effort a foot wide of the post.
City continued to look threatening in the final third, but Bevis Mugabi and Alex Lacey were both putting in good performances at the centre of the Yeovil Town defence to be in the right place to cut out balls into the box to give former Grecian Artur Krysiak little to do in the first half.
When the Grecians did manage to get a shot on target – through Watkins in the 26th minute – the ball took a kind deflection on its way through to the Polish shot stopper and he was able to save comfortably.
Yeovil then had their first chance of the first half three minutes before the break as Francois Zoko flicked a free-kick into Shayon Harrison’s path. However, Christy Pym was quickly off his line to block and then made an instinctive second save to keep the game goalless going into half-time.
Krysiak was forced into a great save at the start of the second half though as David Wheeler played a ball in from the right that Mugabi sliced over the head of the Yeovil keeper. However, he scrambled back in time to get a hand to the ball and claw it out from underneath his crossbar.
Then, four minutes later, Krysiak was at it again as McAlinden got down the left and cut a ball back to Watkins. The City No. 14 got his close-range effort on target but Krysiak made a superb, instinctive stop.
Yeovil Town then had a penalty appeal turned down as Harrison took a tumble in the box before Krysiak was forced into another save as Harley hit a shot through a crowded penalty box into his grateful gloves.
The one-man rearguard action continued in the 55th minute as Wheeler played in Watkins, who worked a yard of room before driving a shot to the near post which Krysiak was equal to once more.
Yeovil then took the lead with 62 minutes played as Matt Dolan won the ball in the midfield and slid a ball through to Francois Zoko who found the bottom corner of the net.
David Wheeler came agonisingly close to making it 1-1 on 66 minutes as he got in down the right and missed the bottom corner by a matter of inches. However, then Town made it 2-0 on 70 minutes as Ben Whitfield hit a shot from 25 yards that Pym superbly blocked, but Harrison was in the right place to loop a header over Pym and into the back of the net.
As City then pushed more men forward to look for a way back into the match Alex Lacey made it 3-0 with 12 minutes left as he got on the end of a long ball into the box and powered a header past Pym. That should have been it, but City kept pushing forward and kept believing.
And Wheeler gave City hope with a minute to go as he fired a shot in off the inside of the post after a ball dropped to him on the edge of the box. Then a couple of minutes later Troy Brown headed home from a corner. That got the crowd in full voice and the comeback was completed in the 92nd minute as Jack Stacey's cross found its way to Reid at the back post and he hammered a shot past Krysiak to make it 3-3.
Exeter City (4-4-2): Pym; Sweeney, Brown, Moore-Taylor, Woodman (Reid, 68); Taylor (Wheeler, 45), Tillson, James, Harley; McAlinden (Stacey, 57), Watkins. Subs not used: Olejnik, Wheeler, Grant, Oakley, Stacey, Croll, Reid.
Yeovil Town (4-4-2): Krysiak; Shephard, Mugabi, Lacey, Dickson; Dawson, Dolan, Butcher, Whitfield; Zoko, Harrison (Akpa Akpro, 76). Subs not used: Maddison, Eaves, Sowunmi, Goodship, Bassett, James.
Booked: Dolan, Krysiak
Attendance: 5,492 (835, away)