A midweek trip to Grimsby is next on the agenda for Exeter City. The Grecians are unbeaten at Blundell Park since 1991.
This week’s classic encounter Jed Penberthy recollects back to 2017 when goals from Rueben Reid, David Wheeler and Ollie Watkins made it eight unbeaten for the Reds.
Grimsby Town 0-3 Exeter City, Sky Bet League Two
January 14, 2017
By January, Exeter had turned around their season and were marching up the League Two table after a torrid start. City were unbeaten since November but similarly Grimsby had not been defeated for a month either- when 10th versus 11th met.
City were in the middle of a scoring spree going into this one, a 4-1 victory over Newport was followed by a 4-0 home win over Leyton Orient. Paul Tisdale still made one alteration though to freshen up his midfield. Jake Taylor started ahead of Jordan Tillson.
The home side had the first meaningful effort of the day. After working the ball well through the middle Omar Bogle was teed up on the edge but saw his left foot effort beat the outside of the post.
With the quality in depth in the City squad, the Devon side always looked fluid and dangerous in attack. Lloyd James hooked a ball into the Mariners’ box and a half-hearted clearance found its way to Ryan Harley whose effort just lacked direction.
James and Ollie Watkins picked up first half yellow cards for the Reds.
Exeter did manage to nudge ahead before the break. James’ corner from the left led to an almighty scramble around the six-yard area, where poacher extraordinaire Reuben Reid swivelled and shot beyond a mass of black and white shirts. A deserved lead going into the half time.
Grimsby tried to respond after the interval. Left wing-back Danny Andrew tried to channel his inner Paul Gascoigne when he flicked the ball over Jake Taylors head but shanked the volley into the home end.
But after a comfortable spell, Marcus Bignot’s men were the makers of their own downfall. The first rule of defending is never play across your own goal. Veteran centre-half Danny Collins seemed to forget that, as his loose pass was picked up by the ever-energetic David Wheeler.
Shortly before the hour mark, the winger pounced and punished the sloppy Grimsby defence to score in his third consecutive game. Wheeler would continue his goalscoring run to score 8 in 7 by the middle of February and finish the season with 21 goals in all comps.
On 75 minutes Reid was rested for Liam McAlinden to make an appearance.
Ollie Watkins soon threatened Manchester United loanee Dean Henderson’s gloves after a nifty counter-attack, but ten minutes from time he did get on the scoresheet in trademark style.
Watkins played a graceful little one-two on the edge with Jake Taylor, whipped out a step-over, cut back onto his right foot and inevitably slotted beyond the future England international to seal the points.
The win jumped City up to eighth and the first time they had been in a single digit position all season. Just seven games prior the Grecians were rock bottom and ordered Paul Tisdale to serve his notice, but the miraculous turn around now saw Exeter knocking on the door of the play-offs.
Let us all hope City can reimagine this victory when the boys travel to Lincolnshire on Tuesday night.
Grimsby Town: Henderson, Andrew, Pearson (Gunning 52’), Collins, Boyce, Davies, Comley (Vose 66’), Mills, Disley, Yussuf (Bolarinwa 66’), Bogle
Unused: McKeown, Jones, McAllister, Vernon
Exeter City: Pym, Woodman, Moore-Taylor, Brown, Stacey. Harley (Simpson 90’), Taylor, James (Tillson 88’), Wheeler, Watkins, Reid (McAlinden 75’)
Unused: Olejnik, Croll, Sweeney, Oakley
Referee: Ben Toner