A second-half onslaught from Exeter City gave the Grecians a famous 4-0 victory over Plymouth Argyle, in what was a breahtaking Devon Derby at a sold-out St James Park on Saturday.
In what was the first league meeting between the two sides in three seasons, City totally blew away their Devon rivals after an initially cagey opening.
City boss Matt Taylor made a wholesale six changes to the starting XI from Tuesday night’s game- with Pierce Sweeney, Craig Woodman, Lee Martin, Nicky Law, Randell Williams and captain Jake Taylor all coming into the Grecian line-up for the derby.
The match began in typical derby fashion, and the Grecians started vibrantly, with Lee Martin going close with a double effort within the opening two minutes.
City then countered Plymouth in the fifth minute from an free-kick; Pierce Sweeney played an instinctive long-range ball to the feet of Nicky Law, who’s swerved cross found Ryan Bowman, but the target-man couldn’t connect properly from point-blank range.
It proved to be a scrappy midfield battle between the two Devonshire sides in the opening ten minutes, with challenges flying in around the park. In the 13th-minute City wide-man Randell Williams was put through by Nicky Law, and Plymouth’s Callum McFadzean was perhaps fortunate to have only been shown a yellow as Williams looked through on goal. Williams, however, fired straight into the Plymouth wall from the resulting free-kick.
City keeper Jonny Maxted was tested for the first time in the 17th-minute as Plymouth’s Joel Grant slid the ball into Antoni Sacevic’s feet, but his low-range strike was scuppered comfortably by the City keeper. It was to be Plymouth’s first of only two real chances of the first-half and Maxted stood firm.
In the 26th-minute Plymouth looked to have a chance on the break but Zak Rudden fluffed his lines as Joel Grant looked through on goal.
Lee Martin had two chances in the space of a couple minutes on the 30 minute mark as a wondering Nicky Law cut back a pass into Lee Martin, but his blazing effort flew over the bar. City attacked again moments later, falling to Martin once more, yet this time he couldn’t convert Williams’s drilled cross with a sliding effort.
The Grecians ended the first-half well, and were rewarded for their efforts in the 41st-miunte as they had a penalty as Josh Grant pulled the back of Lee Martin who was racing through on goal.
Nicky Law stepped up and left Plymouth keeper Alex Palmer helpless in goal as the No. 8 slotted the ball comfortably to the right-side of the goal in front of the Plymouth faithful.
The second half began with Williams crossing for Tom Parkes to glance a header into the roof of the net. And, although Aaron Martin had to put in a crucial sliding challenge to deny Joel Grant from pulling a goal back almost immediately, City took control of the match from that point on.
The third goal was a move of real beauty as Jake Taylor, Nicky Law and Archie Collins passed the ball around well in midfield before sliding in Williams who dinked a shot over Palmer to send the Thatchers Big Bank in to raptures.
City smelt blood and Bowman’s blocked effort a minute later was one of many before the Grecians added a fourth in the 84th minutes.
Jake Taylor was the provider as he curled a great shot off the inside of the post from 25 yards. The ball rebounded out into the area where Law was left with a simple tap-in to complete a memorable afternoon for the Grecians.
Exeter City: Maxted, Sweeney, Woodman, A Martin, L Martin (Antangana), Law (Jay), Williams, Bowman (Seymour), Parkes, Taylor ©, Collins.
Subs not used: Visser, Fisher, Moxey, Richardson.
Booked: Woodman, Bowman, Parkes
Plymouth Argyle: Palmer, Riley, Sawyer ©, Canavan, Sarcevic, Edwards, Joel Grant, McFadzean (Mayor), Josh Grant, G Cooper, Rudden (Moore).
Subs not used: M Cooper, Aimson, Taylor, Clarke, Randall.
Attendance: 7,924 (1,154, away)