On Saturday Exeter City return to Roots Hall for the first time in nearly 6 years, to face Mark Molesley’s Southend United side.
We travel back to February 2014 when a late flourish saw City come from behind to take the points and end a poor run of form. Goals from Jimmy Keohane, a stunner from Sercombe and a piece of brilliance from Eliot Richards were enough to see off the play-off pushing Seasiders.
Jed Penberthy looks back at a blustery encounter on the Essex coast.
Southend United 2-3 Exeter City
February 15, 2014
Winless in nine, Exeter City arrived in Essex in desperate need of rebooting their season. Paul Tisdale made three amendments from the 1-1 draw with Pompey the week prior, most notably handing a league debut to young goalkeeper Christy Pym. Just six months later, Pym would be called up for England Under 20’s alongside Matt Grimes.
On Valentines weekend it would be Exeter who received the first gift. On ten minutes a sliced clearance from Daniel Bentley in the Southend goal was well anticipated by Aaron Davies. The Welshman nodded the ball into the path of Jimmy Keohane, who notched his first goal of the campaign with a composed finish.
The joy for the Devon side was short lived though as City’s fragility from the dead ball was exposed just two minutes later. Mark Phillips towered above Scot Bennett to draw the hosts level after Coker’s in-swinging free kick.
Soon after, things got from bad to worse for the Grecians. This time Kevan Hurst’s corner found Phillips’ head for the defender’s and Southend’s second. United led 2-1 going into the break.
Exeter, searching for their first win since a 3-1 victory against Torquay in December, made two changes mid-way through the second half. David Wheeler and Eliot Richards were introduced for the tiring Keohane and Oakley.
The moment of the game came on 82 minutes.
Exeter forced a corner on the left-hand side. Liam Sercombe played the set-piece short to Grimes. The number 29 held the ball as Sercombe peeled off around him. A well weighted lay off from Grimes invited Sercombe to shoot and the midfielder unleashed a first-time thunderbolt into the top right corner. The neat work from the two former Academy players had dragged Exeter back into the game and the visitors smelt blood.
City went in front three minutes from time. An overhit corner by Grimes was neatly retrieved by Eliot Richards. In just his second appearance for Exeter, the winger causally rolled the ball through Phillips’ legs before cutting back onto his right foot and flashing a shot low into the Shrimpers net.
Later on in the season Richards would be ingrained in Grecians folklore when he’d score the winner in a 2-1 win over Plymouth at Home Park, but it was his introduction at Roots Hall which gave Exeter fans the hope that the teams form will finally pick up for the latter half of the season.
City jumped up to 13th with their tenth win of the season, but the game will be fondly remembered for the two late Goal of the Season nominees.
Southend United: Bentley, White, Coker, Leonard, Thompson, Phillips, Hurst, Timlin (Williams 85’), Barnard (Gomis 69’), Corr (Eastwood 77’), Atkinson
Unused: Smith, Laird, Straker, Payne
Exeter City: Pym, Butterfield, Woodman, Grimes, Bennett, Coles, Sercombe, Oakley (Wheeler 73'), O'Flynn (Nichols 84'), Keohane (Richards 70'), Davies
Unused: Krysiak, Moore-Taylor, Dawson, Parkin
Referee: Gavin Ward