Exeter City bounced back against Grimsby Town at St James Park to win 3-2 and keep their play-off hopes alive with two games remaining.
After going in 1-1 at the break and down 2-1 in the second half, the Grecians bounced back thanks to goals from Ryan Bowman and Alex Fisher.
Exeter City Manager Matt Taylor named five changes from the side that kept Newport to a 0-0 draw at the weekend with Bowman and Matt Jay dropping down to the bench, making way for Ben Seymour to have another chance in the starting line-up.
It was an early break from City as they looked to get back to scoring ways and ahead from the off. Seymour found Randell Williams in space down the wing, allowing a cross to be fired, but it came to nothing. A bright start for the home side.
After the initial threat of City, it was the visitors who managed to get some balls in the box, forcing the Grecians back to defend. One of their crosses in made its way out for a corner, which was brilliantly headed away by Williams.
At 16 minutes Page found Taylor, who overlapped well and gained the ball back, sending the ball on a scuffed half volley and into the hands of the goalkeeper.
Another chance for the Grecians came minutes later as Josh Key got a cross in minutes later, with Ben Seymour able to connect a glancing header leaving it for the goalkeeper McKeown to tip it over the bar
Some lovely play amongst the forward players resulted in another shot for the Grecians starting with a great ball over the top from Josh Key. The long ball found Seymour, who laid it off to Randell Williams and on through to Robbie Willmott out on the wing, who fired it over the bar.
After the glory of the chances of the first half, Exeter finally brought themselves ahead with a little help from the visitors as Luke Waterfall got a miss touch on Williams’ cross and send it into the back of his own net.
It didn’t take too long for the hosts to get themselves level, as Lennell John-Lewis converts from the spot, sending goalkeeper Jokull Andresson the wrong way. The penalty was given against Lewis Page for bringing one of the Mariners down in the box and awarding them a welcome chance to get back in the game.
It could have been two for the visitors just before the break as Matt Green shot a stunner with Jokull able to stretch himself across goal and deny the Mariners getting themselves in front.
Ten minutes into the first half and there were penalty shouts as Seymour connects once again on the end of the ball in the box, sending a header towards goal, striking a hand in the process. However, nothing was given, and the game continued.
The visitors got themselves ahead just before the hour mark, with a long range shot from Jay Matete. Despite Jokull Andresson getting a hand to it, the young Icelander was unable to keep it out.
The Grecians made their first substitute just after the goal, with Nigel Atangana making his way for Matt Jay.
There was more action in the minutes after the hour mark, with a break in play after a high footed challenge on Archie Collins which saw the young Grecian needing some treatment. Mariners goal scorer Matete was given his marching orders after the dangerous challenge, with uproar coming from both the Grimsby bench and players on the pitch. The hosts were down to ten men with half an hour to play.
Taylor made more changes moments later, with a triple sub seeing Fisher, Bowman and Hartridge take the field in place of Willmott, Seymour and Page.
With an extra man on the field, the Grecians looked the greater threat- with much of the play taking place in the opposition half. The visitors took full advantage of the chances to slow the play, in order to retain their lead.
The Grecians struggled to get their clear chances as the Grimsby sat back to retain their lead but their opportunity eventually came at 84 minutes, with substitute AFisher hitting on the half volley, sending the ball into a goalmouth scuffle and into the back of the net.
It was moments later that the Grecians got themselves ahead again, with Sweeney whipping in an exquisite cross into the box, finding Bowman in the box and leaving him to smash it in the back of the net. Much to the joy of the handful of ECFC personnel in the ground who brought a bit of the big bank magic to SJP once again.
However, the joy was short lived as the fourth official showed six minutes added time to retain their lead. Fortunately, despite two set pieces in the Exeter half, with even the goalkeeper getting up amongst it, and an early celebration from myself thinking the game was over before it was. It all three points for the Grecians.
The drama wasn’t even over after the final whistle, with the Grimsby assistant manager being shown a red for an altercation with the referee.
Exeter City are back in Sky Bet League Two Action this weekend as they face Bolton in a 3 o’clock kick off.
Owing to the club’s support for the EFL social media boycott, match coverage of this game will be exclusively on the club website.
Exeter City: Andresson, Key, Parkes (Sparkes 72’), Sweeney, Page (Hartridge 65’), Williams, Collins, Taylor ©, Atangana (Jay 60’), Willmott (Fisher 64’), Seymour (Bowman 64’)
Subs not used: Maxted, Caprice,
Grimsby Town: McKeown, Hewitt, Waterfall (Jackson Jr 90+2), Menayese, Clifton, Khouri, Matete, Spokes (Scannell 90+1), Coke, John-Lewis ©, Green (Habergham 70’)
Subs not used: Eastwood, Lamy, Adlard,
Sent Off: Matete