Goals from Matt Jay and Jevani Brown helped Exeter City fight off a valiant Oldham Athletic to extend the unbeaten run to eighteen.
The captain swivelled in a first half opener and Brown scored his goal for the Grecians with a composed finish on what seemed a comfortable afternoon.
Jamie Bowden’s wonder-strike set up a nervy finish, though proved little consolation come the full time whistle.
The result meant Exeter City broke club unbeaten record set in 2019.
Matt Taylor made a solitary change from Saturday’s FA Cup bout with Bradford. Harry Kite was given a chance in the absence of suspended Tim Dieng.
Before the game, St James Park fell silent, with a Remembrance Weekend ceremony attended by the Exeter Coldstream Guards.
It was the visitors who found the first sight of goal. Hallam Hope’s strike was palmed wide by Cam Dawson and the keeper had to be on his toes from the resulting corner. His acrobatics diverted the near post flick over the crossbar.
Benny Couto had the clearest chance on 11 minutes. Oldham’s direct style allowed Dylan Bahamboula to showboat his way inside. The wide ball found Couto who flashed wide.
Matt Jay may have opened the scoring a minute later, with a deft effort on the edge of the six-yard box. Though his shot hit the post, the assistant referee raised his flag.
But Jay made no mistake with his second chance and the Grecians struck first.
Harry Kite recycled the ball with an expert touch into Josh Key. The full-back blitzed down the wing to delver into MJ. Calm. Composed and the City Captain blasted his side into a one-nil lead with his tenth league goal of the season.
The Grecians dominated the first half without any heavy incident. MJ was the catalyst in most of the Reds’ play and City’s control nullified much of the Oldham play, though the Latics did force a strong block out of Alex Hartridge on 39 minutes.
City almost doubled their lead on 43 minutes. As much of the play was directed in front of the Stagecoach Stand, the Grecians worked the ball right again- this time to Pierce Sweeney. The Irishman delivered first time. Nombe peeled off and rose highest, only to head over.
It only took five minutes of the second half for Exeter City to extend their advantage, through Jevani Brown’s first Grecian Goal.
The ever-impressive Jake Caprice found acres of room to cross. His teasing delivery was horribly mis-controlled from the Oldham centre-half and Jev stole into smash home in front of the Big Bank to open his account in a red and white shirt.
One should have really turned into two from Brown from City’s next chance. A horrendous back pass from Jordan Clarke allowed Jevani the freedom of the Oldham half to come forward one-on-one. Caught in two minds, Brown dragged his shot wide.
Exeter sought to slow the ball down but still looked thrratening going forward. MJ pulled the ball back to the tireless Harry Kite to side foot wide.
Oldham mustered some inspiration with ten minutes to go. Sub Jamie Hopcutt went for goal from the edge, but it was simple for Dawson to pounce upon. Josh Key at the other end fired over from range.
And the Latics shocked the Park with an absolute beauty to pull a goal back. Jamie Bowden rocketed home from the edge of box leaving Dawson stranded, to set up a potential grandstand finish.
Keith Curle’s men found some momentum and Jack Stobbs should have done better with a back-post volley. Sam Nombe had a gilt-edge chance to seal the points when he was sent through with just Jayson Leutweiler to beat. The back-tracking goalkeeper pulled out a desperate save to keep his side in the game.
In a frantic end for City, Taylor’s men managed to hold on to take the points, which means Exeter City have broken the club’s unbeaten record, which now stands at eighteen games.
Exeter City: Dawson, Caprice, Hartridge, Ray, Sweeney, Key, Kite, Collins, Jay (Atangana 79’), J. Brown (Amond 79’), Nombe
Subs: S. Brown, Daniel, Grounds, Owura, Coley
Oldham Athletic: Leutweiler, Clarke, McGahey, Piergianni, Adams, Whelan, Hope, Keillor-Dunn (Hopcutt 60’), Bowden, Bahamboula (Dearnley 60’), Couto (Stobbs 58’)
Subs: Sotherington, Cisse, Fage, Diarra,
Referee: Declan Bourne
Attendance: 5,103 (193 away)
Exeter City return to the Park on Tuesday night when Bradford City travel for an FA Cup First Round Replay.