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📝 Match report: Exeter City 3 Walsall 3

Grecians battle back from three goals down to earn a point

21 December 2019

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Exeter City battled back from three goals down to earn a point at home to Walsall.

The Grecians had a poor opening half hour of the match where an own goal from Pierce Sweeney, a strike from Caolan Lavery and a header from Josh Gordon had them three-nil down after half an hour. However, they showed great resolve to pull the tie back to 3-2 before half-time and then equalised in the second half through Lee Martin.

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Manager Matt Taylor made three changes to the City line-up as Lee Martin, Jack Sparkes and Nicky Law came into the side at the expense of Jake Taylor, Tom Parkes and Alex Fisher. Dean Moxey also captained the side on what was his 300th appearance in a City shirt.

The game did not start well for City though as they were penned back early on by Walsall who took the lead after 12 minutes. The opening goal came from a cross to the far post that was half cleared allowing Dan Scarr to fizz a low ball into the six-yard box which deflected off Pierce Sweeney on its way into the back of the net.

Worse was to follow five minutes later as Aaron Martin, looking to deal with a routine high ball, slipped at the vital moment allowing Caolan Lavery to race in on goal and place a shot beyond Jonny Maxted and into the far corner of the net.

Dean Moxey was then forced off through injury after 27 minutes to be replaced by Tom Parkes. City tried to respond with a shot from Jack Sparkes which whistled over the crossbar and a header from Randell Williams that was well saved by Liam Roberts but then Josh Gordon headed home a simple chance at the back post to put the visitors well and truly in control of the match after half an hour.

City did pull a goal back two minutes later though when substitute Tom Parkes headed against the post, allowing Ryan Bowman to rifle a shot into the roof of the net. The comeback was then on eight minutes later as Bowman latched onto a Williams through-ball and fired a superb finish into the bottom corner to make it 3-2.

The Grecians then almost completed the comeback before half-time when Bowman jinked himself into a yard of space in the box only to see his strike from eight yards out superbly blocked by Scarr.

Danny Guthrie fired an early warning shot for the visitors at the start of the second half that was well saved, but the City cranked up the pressure again. Williams arrowed a free-kick towards the bottom corner that Liam Roberts had to turn behind before Archie Collins sent a shot dipping just over the upright.

Then came the equaliser in the 64thminute as both Randell Williams and Nicky Law shot neat control in tight spaces in the box before Lee Martin hit a shot that deflected and rolls past the keeper into the back of the net. Moments later City had strong penalty appeals turned down as Jack Sparkes’ cross was blocked at the near post.

Ryan Bowman then brought a good save out of Liam Roberts, with a shot to the bottom corner, with five minutes to go before Rory Gaffney tested Jonny Maxted with a curling effort from outside the box moments later. However, the best chance to win it came in the final seconds of the game as Williams connected with a Jack Sparkes cross at the back post but sent his header just wide.

Exeter City: Maxted, Sweeney, A Martin, Atangana, L Martin (Seymour, 83), Law, Williams, Bowman, Moxey (Parkes, 27), Sparkes, Collins (Taylor, 83). Subs not used: Arthur, Ajose, Jay, Richardson.

Booked: A Martin

Walsall: L Roberts, Pring, Clarke, Scarr, Sinclair, Kinsella, Lavery, Gordon (Gaffney, 80), Guthrie (Bates, 71), Facey, McDonald (Sadler, 45). Subs not used: Rose, Adebayo, K Roberts, Holden

Booked: Guthrie

Attendance: 4,323 (226, away)


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