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📝 City 2 Bristol Rovers 0

Joel Randall scores first senior goal for Grecians as they top Checkatrade.com Trophy group

13 November 2018

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Joel Randall scored his first senior goal for Exeter City as they beat Bristol Rovers 2-0 to top their Checkatrade.com Trophy group.

The Grecians went into the final game of the group knowing they had already qualified for the knockout stages, but also that only a win against Bristol Rovers in 90 minutes would be good enough to top the table. 

 

And they rose to the challenge as Jonathan Forte flicked home Chiedozie Ogbene's low cross shortly into the second half before Randall added his strike eight minutes' from time.

Both teams named youthful sides for the game, with City boss Matt Taylor calling Will Dean and Archie Collins into the starting XI and Randall, Harry Kite, Josh Key, James Dodd, Jordan Dyer and Joel Belsten onto the bench.

It was Rovers who started the match the brighter of the two teams, but City remained compact and resolute in defence before creating the better chances during an even first half. Dara O'Shea was first to go close as he glanced an Archie Collins free-kick towards goal but Bristol Rovers' keeper Adam Smith made a smart stop before Tristan Abrahams' follow up effort was blocked.

The second big chance for City came shortly after as Jimmy Oates sent a cross to the back post, but Collins' header was inches wide.

However, it took until the second half before City really started to dominate possession and territory as they managed to get the returning Ogbene, and their other attacking players, on the ball further up the pitch.

It was from an Ogbene cross that City took the lead as he latched onto a loose ball down the right and fizzed a ball into the near post where Forte expertly flicked a shot past Smith and into the far corner.  

Abrahams then went close to doubling the score on two occasions but his first effort was a volley that was narrowly off target and then he fired a powerful shot into the side netting following a good pass from Matt Jay. 

Jay, playing in midfield, was instrumental in a lot of City's good work and it was the academy product - who made his debut for City in the competition five years ago against Wycombe Wanderers - who set up one of the current crop of youngsters trying to break into the first team for the goal that finally settled the tie. 

Randall initiated the move as he passed into Jay, but then he carried on superbly and hit a powerful shot past Smith for a moment to savour. 

Exeter City: James Hamon, Dara O'Shea, Aaron Martin, Jonathan Forte (Joel Randall, 70), Matt Jay, Jimmy Oates, Tristan Abrahams, Luke Croll (Harry Kite, 65), Chiedozie Ogbene (Josh Key, 60), Archie Collins, Will Dean. Subs not used: Felix Norman, James Dodd, Jordan Dyer, Joe Belsten

Booked: Tristan Abrahams

Rovers: Adam Smith, Joe Partington, Michael Kelly (Tareiq Holmes-Dennis, 60), Joe Martin, Rollin Menayese, Connor Jones (Theo Widdrington, 60), Luke Russe, Sam Matthews, Zain Walker ( Cameron Hargreaves, 52), Alex Jakubiak, Gavin Reilly. Subs not used: Andre Alexis-Jr, Ben Morgan, Deon Moore, Harry Warwick.

Booked: Rollin Menayese

Attendance: 874 (149, away)


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