Exeter City have qualified for the Group Stage of the Premier League Cup after a nervy win over Devon rivals Plymouth Argyle.
A Ben Seymour brace either side of the break was enough for the Young Grecians but Ryan Law’s strike for the Pilgrims meant for a shaky last few moments.
Seymour threatened the Argyle goal all afternoon and could have had a hatful. Sonny Cox also went close for City who go through to play Wolves, Swansea and West Ham United in the group.
Dan Green opted for a strong side with Harry Kite taking the armband and a front two of Ben Seymour and Sonny Cox.
And Straight away City took the lead through Seymour!
A long, diagonal ball from Callum Rowe caused problems for the Pilgrims. Sonny Cox offered a deft flick into the path of Seymour, who swivelled and found the top corner under heavy pressure.
Argyle really should have been level on 13 minutes. Oscar Massey scuffed across the face of the box and Oscar Rutherford was gifted all but an open goal. Somehow the Argyle man sent the ball wide- that said, the offside flag saved his blushes.
Ben Seymour caused the home side more problems just after the quarter-hour mark. The striker managed to spring the trap again but could only flash his effort over.
Ryan Law offered some promise for Plymouth. The left back cut inside onto his weaker right foot and his shot flew into the would-be away end.
Seymour again threatened the home side’s goal. Sonny Cox was unlucky not to be through on goal after Ethan Mitchell’s tackle forced him wide. The City man recycled to loose ball and delivered a cross into Seymour who rose highest, though his header lacked direction.
Ben almost doubled his tally ten minutes before the break. The Grecians were piling on the pressure and a bit of pinball following a corner gave Seymour another chance with his head but landed on the roof of the net.
City were free flowing and that man again Seymour played a neat one-two with James Dodd on the edge put the number 9 in behind. On this occasion Seymour rushed the shot and dragged it wide.
Law for Argyle went close again. This time he marauded through the heart of the Exeter midfield. He was returned the ball by Angel Waruih and sent a left-footed shot goalward. Harry Lee was beaten, but so was the post.
Sonny Cox was agonisingly close to doubling the City lead after the break. Seymour sent the 16-year-old on his way but Cox’s effort only rippled the side netting.
Finally though, City, and Seymour in particular, found their just reward.
Ben Seymour had been an issue to the Pilgrims back line all afternoon and 20 minutes into the second half was put through by Harry Kite. The striker made no mistake this time, in dinking the ball over the onrushing Lewis Moyle to put the Grecians two up.
City couldn’t rest and Argyle offered an immediate response. Ryan Law smashed home after a scrappy corner was not dealt with by the Exeter defence.
With their tails up, Plymouth tested Lee’s handling with an awkward shot from Ollie Tomlinson was well watched by the visiting keeper.
Argyle looked the more positive of the two sides and tested Harry Lee and his near post. And City had a moment of panic with second to play. A high ball into the Exeter box was headed home by Law but an infringement on Lee kept City ahead.
Next up in the cup for the U23’s is a home match against Swansea City on Tuesday night at St James Park.
Plymouth Argyle: Moyle, Rutherford, Randell ©, Massey (Issaka 52’), Law, Waruih, Craske, Pursall, Mitchell, Tomlinson, Shirley
Subs: Baker, Garsie, Issaka, Forkuo, Halls
Exeter City: Lee, Johnson (Veale 20’), Daniel (Lilley 73’), Rowe, Dyer, Diabate, Kite ©, Dodd, Seymour, Cox (Hanson 76’), Pond
Subs: Arthur, Iseguan, Hanson, Lilley, Veale
Referee: Rowan Clarke
Attendance: 345 (28 Away)