A young Grecian side ended their pre-season with a 3-1 win at Exmouth Town on Wednesday, but will be without Gabriel Billington for some time after the defender suffered a serious injury.
Sonny Cox, Mitch Beardmore and Harrison King were all on target for the Grecians at Southern Road, but attentions are fully with Billington, who will require surgery on a dislocated and fractured ankle after a heavy tackle in the first half.
Kyle Taylor started his first game in over 16 months on his comeback from injury, but it was a largely youthful side for this fixture, which started well for City.
Cox was lively from the off and had a good early chance, before being denied soon after again by the hands of former City stopper Andrew Sowden in goal for the home side.
A good start for City soon turned sour when Billington was injured in a 50/50 challenge on the edge of the Exmouth box, with play halted for almost 15 minutes while the medical teams worked to ensure Gabe was comfortable.
When play resumed, Exmouth forced a save out of Harry Lee, but the Grecians quickly snapped out of the initial shock of Billington's injury to take control of the game once again.
Sowden made a brilliant triple block to deny Cox, Beardmore, and Pedro Borges, but could do nothing soon later as Cox finally got the better of him, slotting past his right hand side to give City the lead.
Given the nature of the first half, the referee called proceedings early, but from the restart it was the home side who would begin the brightest. Another former Grecian, Harvey Dorothy would have one of three chances for the hosts early in the second half.
Six minutes into the second period, Dorothy was gifted an equaliser as he mopped up a poor Harry Lee clearance for an easy finish.
City reacted well though, Cox and substitute Aamir Stanford-Daniels both continuing to cause issues for the Exmouth defence.
Beardmore would emphatically put City back in front just ten minutes after conceding with a thunderous volley from the edge of the box, almost ripping the back of the net.
Harry Lee made amends for his earlier error with a brilliant stop to deny Dorothy once again, as the game ebbed and flowed between the two sides. Dorothy was the stand out performer for the hosts, sending Orlando Anker's brilliant searching ball over the bar.
With the hosts in the ascendency, the Grecians would pounce to put the game to bed as King rose highest from a corner to make it 3-1 in stoppage time.
City XI: Lee, King, Edgecombe, Billington, James, O'Connor, Richards, Borges, Cox, Taylor, Beardmore.
Subs: Dean, Oakes, Stanford-Daniels.