Ahead of the Boxing Day clash with second place Forest Green Rovers, we reminisce on the first ever Football League encounter between the two sides.
Goals from Pierce Sweeney and two from Reuben Reid gave the Grecians all three points on their first visit to The New Lawn as Jed Penberthy reports.
Forest Green Rovers 1-3 Exeter City,
Sky Bet League Two
The New Lawn
September 9, 2017
Exeter City were hoping to pile on the misery for Mark Cooper’s side in the home sides first season in the League Two. The Green Devils had only picked up one win all season up to this point whereas City were unbeaten at the summit of the table.
Paul Tisdale refrained from the tinkering and named an unchanged line-up from the 1-0 victory over Newport the week earlier.
It only took four minutes for the league leaders to go in front.
Lee Holmes’ looped corner was met by Troy Brown in the box who nodded it down. Christian Doidge proved why he was more accustomed to scoring the goals than defending them, as he swiped violently at the air and gave Pierce Sweeney a simple chance to score. One-Nil City.
Doidge had the chance to make amends soon after. The striker raced onto a threaded ball from Liam Noble, but his effort was straight at the grateful Christy Pym.
On 18 minutes Exeter were two-to-the-good. Lee Holmes received the ball on the right flank faced by a jungle of Rovers defenders. The winger breezed past Drissa Traore and danced over Scott Laird’s tackle before piercing the ball across the face of goal.
The initial clearance was soft, and Reuben Reid capitalised- side-footing the ball into the gap at the near post.
Eight minutes after the break the points were locked and secured.
The fluent Exeter attack found Holmes on the right-hand side again. His cross was met emphatically by Jake Taylor who could not believe Brad Collins’ stop. Chances are neither did the Rovers’ keeper as he failed to react to Reid’s follow-up daisy cutter as the City striker had netted his sixth goal in as many games.
Christian Doidge’s day to forget had the final nails in coffin as he found himself one-on-one with Pym again only to see this effort hit the post- shortly after Mark Cooper saw enough and subbed the striker off.
And it was Doidge’s replacement who clawed a goal back for the home side. Just as his predecessor managed to spring the high Exeter defensive line, this time Shamir Mullings rolled the ball under Pym and gave The Grecians a crucial quarter-hour of concentration.
City maintained their position at the peak but would finish the season in fourth. Forest Green survived their inaugural season in the Football League in 21st.
Forest Green: B. Collins, Laird, Monthe, Bennett, L. Collins, Noble, Traore, Cooper (Bugiel ’66), Randall, Gomes (Wishart ’58), Doidge (Mullings ’71).
Unused: Pickering, Roberts, Brown, James
Exeter City: Pym, Woodman, Moore-Taylor, Brown, Sweeney, James, Tillson, Holmes, Taylor, Reid (Boateng ’80), McAlinden (Stockley ’73).
Unused: Hamon, Archibald-Henville, Moxey, Edwards, Jay
Referee: Rob Lewis