Nicky Law’s early penalty and Hiram Boateng’s spectacular volley ensured Exeter City returned to winning ways in Sky Bet League Two.
Law converted a second-minute penalty kick before Boateng gave goalkeeper Scott Brown no chance with a jaw-dropping volley as City bounced back from their loss at Macclesfield in fine fashio
Matt Taylor made four changes to his starting line-up as Dara O’Shea, Law, Lee Holmes and Christy Pym, who served his one-match suspension, returned to the side that suffered defeat on the road at Macclesfield last time out.
There was barely 60 seconds on the clock as Ryan Bowman was fouled in the penalty area, after being held by Kyle Howkins, and Law stepped up to calmly slot the resulting penalty into the bottom right corner of Port Vale’s net.
The Grecians then proceeded to dominate the early stages after Jake Taylor had a header tipped around the post by the outstretched hand of Scott Brown after smart work from Boateng and Law with a short free-kick on the edge of the penalty area. Just a minute later Brown was forced to tip Lee Holmes’ cross over the bar.
Boateng, who was playing in a more advanced role closer to Bowman, then drove at goal and shot low, again forcing Brown into another save. Then, Taylor was fouled mid-way inside the Valiants’ half, allowing Law to send in a free-kick which reached Craig Woodman, whose half-volley was blocked before Taylor shot straight at Brown.
Vale had their first notable chance in the 29th minute as Tom Conlon’s whipped free-kick on the edge of the Grecians’ area had to be palmed away by Christy Pym.
Three minutes before half-time Nathan Smith had to clear Troy Brown’s looping header off the line after Nicky Law’s deep corner found the centre-back at the back post.
Exeter again had the ball in the back of the net just two minutes into the second half as Boateng’s shot was saved by Brown and Bowman followed up, tapping the ball in before the goal was chalked off for being offside.
However, City did find their second goal 10 minutes later when Boateng controlled the ball on his chest, turned and volleyed the ball past Brown in sensational fashion, rivalling his goal scored against Lincoln in the play-offs last season.
Port Vale tried to respond through the substitute Tom Pope, but his weak header was comfortably saved by Pym.
In the 66th minute, Bowman took the ball past two Vale players before playing in Boateng inside the penalty area, who couldn’t quite find his second as his shot went narrowly wide of the post. Pierce Sweeney then had a shot reminiscent of his volley against Cheltenham blocked as City looked to extend their lead.
Port Vale were desperately trying to get back into the game but they couldn’t quite find a breakthrough, as Luke Hannant’s acrobatic over-head kick was easily saved by Pym.
With 10 minutes to go, Dara O’Shea headed just wide from a corner before the final chances of the match fell to Vale, with David Worrall shooting wide and Pope having another header saved.
Attendance: 4,013 (including 270 away)
EXETER CITY: Pym, Sweeney, Woodman, O’Shea, Law, Holmes (Williams 65), Bowman, Taylor ©, Collins, Brown, Boateng (L.Martin 79)
Subs Not Used: Hamon, Forte, Jay, Wilson, Moxey
Booked: Brown, Woodman, Collins
PORT VALE: Brown, Montano, Kay © (Joyce 53), Worrall, Miller (Pope 53), Hannant (Whitfield 83), Crookes, Smith, Conlon, Clark, Howkins
Subs Not Used: Hornby, Legge, Harris, Vassell
Booked: Montano, Hannant