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⏪ Classic Encounter: Cheltenham Town 3 City 4

Jed Penberthy looks back at a classic

4 December 2020

Exeter City seek to build on their impressive away form when they travel to Cheltenham on Saturday.

The Jonny-Rocks Stadium has been a happy hunting ground for The Grecians in recent years.

Jed Penberthy looks back at a memorable afternoon in 2017, when City came from 2-0 down to take the points thanks to goals from Jordan Moore-Taylor, Reuben Reid and Jake Taylor.

Cheltenham Town 3 Exeter City 4 | Sky Bet League Two
Whaddon Road,
Saturday, August 28 2017

The perfect league start to the season had City in an expectant mood as they made the short trip up the M5. Conversely, The Robins sat in 20th trying to find the choke on their season’s engine.

A change of formula saw Tisdale switch to a four at the back, from the five who played against Lincoln the week prior. Troy Archibald-Henville sat out for Lee Holmes. Nigel Atangana started for Cheltenham.

It was the home side who dominated the early spells and raced into a two-goal lead. After eight minutes Mo Eisa found room in midfield and sprayed the ball wide right. Carl Winchester’s unchallenged cross was prodded home by Kevin Dawson to put the Robins in front.

Soon it was two in exactly the same circumstance. The Eisa-Winchester-Dawson interchange was causing havoc for City as Dawson tapped into an empty net this time at the far post.

It’s not often your centre-back is adept from a set piece but thank the mercies for Jordan Moore-Taylor on this occasion. Cheltenham probably breathed a sigh of relief as Anthony Backhouse pointed for a free-kick dangerously close to the edge of the box, forgetting Moore-Taylor’s rocket against Doncaster the season before. This time the City captain whipped the ball into the left top corner to give Exeter a foothold in the Westcountry Derby.

As the PA announced the half-time injury time, Exeter were back on terms. Lloyd James floated a ball to the back post towards Jake Taylor. His scrambling header found Reuben Reid with the goal at his mercy and the striker duly obliged for his third goal of the season.

On 77 minutes the comeback was complete. Jake Taylor caught Jamie Grimes napping on the edge of his own box. Grimes then dragged Taylor to the ground and a crazy three seconds for the centre-back saw him walking back down the tunnel with a red card to his name.

Reid as calm as ever, dispatched the penalty to the keepers left.

In the blink of an eye City had another. Liam McAlinden won the ball back just after the restart and powered through the Cheltenham half. He laid the ball into Jake Taylor who exploited the gaping hole in the home-sides defence to send the amazing travelling support into ruptures.

There was still time for The Robins to pull one back as tired defending from Lloyd James and Troy Brown allowed Dan Holman to poke in a third for the home team, but the damage was already done.

The win saw City go two points clear at the top and condemned Cheltenham into the relegation places but only four games in, should be taken with a pinch of salt. A pleasing performance though from Paul Tisdale’s men to maintain the unbeaten start to the 2016/17 season.

Cheltenham Town: Flatt, Wichester, Forster (O’ Shaughnessy 71’), Grimes (Sent off 77’), Cranston, Storer, Atangana, Pell, Dawson (Holman 79’), Graham (Wright 54’), Eisa

Unused: Lovett, Bower, Thomas

Exeter City: Pym, Woodman, Moore-Taylor, Brown, Sweeney, James, Tillson, Holmes, Taylor, Reid (Simpson 88’), McAlinden (Jay 90’)

Unused: Hamon, Archibald-Henville, Croll, Sparkes, Brunt

Referee: Anthony Backhouse

Attendance: 3,168


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