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Match Reports

📝 Match Report: Shrewsbury Town 0 Exeter City 3

Our write up of a fine performance on the road!

12 March 2024

Match Reports

📝 Match Report: Shrewsbury Town 0 Exeter City 3

Our write up of a fine performance on the road!

12 March 2024

Exeter City dealt the blows in the first half as they put three past ten-man Shrewsbury Town before the break to pick up a comfortable 3-0 win on the road!

The two sides were separated by just one goal in the League One table heading into this Tuesday night fixture. Following a hard-earned point at home against Bolton Wanderers on the weekend prior, Exeter City would be looking to carry forward their momentum. 

City quickly had the upper hand as Shrewsbury winger, Jordan Shipley was sent off within five minutes. The onus was then on the Grecians to capitalise on the extra man, and they did just that, dispatching three past their opposition in the first half. Will Aimson’s delightful flick at the near post put his team one up, before Luke Harris scored his first in a City shirt. City’s third, Aitchison’s volley on the edge of the box, put the icing on the cake as City sailed to victory in the second half. 

Youngster Sonny Cox scored twice in that previous fixture, and he led the line again this evening, starting up top. Manager Gary Caldwell made two changes to the previous starting XI with Vincent Harper and Reece Cole returning to the starting XI, replacing Ben Purrington and Tom Carroll. Reece Cole returned to the side having served his two-match suspension. 


The game started with drama as Shrewsbury went down to ten men in the fifth minute. Shrewsbury’s Shipley and City's Ryan Woods both committed to the win the ball around the centre circle, Woods got there first and Shipley flew in with two feet off the ground. Woods appeared to be injured and the referee, David Rocks quickly produced a red. After some treatment Woods got back to his feet and managed to continue the match. The sending off turned The Croud Meadow into pantomime with Woods the villain, each time he touched the ball he received a hostile reception from the home fans. This would happen a considerable amount as Woods stayed composed and played his role, pulling strings in the midfield and holding possession well. 

The onus was on City now to make the first move and capitalise on having an extra man and City went on to dominate possession, although they failed to make any clear-cut opportunities. Harper and Cole both found themselves in Rocks’ book for late challenges as City looked to suffocate Shrewsbury every time they had possession of the ball. City’s first real chance came just after the half-hour mark as Cole was slid through on goal, but at too tight an angle to put his foot through it, meaning he had to try and be cute. The Shrewsbury keeper, Marko Marosi got enough on Cole’s effort to send the ball out for a corner, not cute enough. In a moment when City were looking for a delicate, skilful, delightful, breath-taking, awe-inspiring (etc.) touch – an unlikely hero arrived.  

Cole delivered the subsequent corner hard and low to the near post and, in what seemed like a well-drilled routine off the training ground, Aimson beat his man and was first to it. Aimson had a lot to do, with his back to the goal and the keeper well-positioned, Aimson channelled his inner-Ronaldinho, flicking the ball with the inside of his trailing leg between the keeper’s legs. An audacious effort with an incredible outcome as Aimson wheeled off in celebration and City took the lead! 

But Caldwell’s men weren’t done as they would go on to score two more before the break! Luke Harris scored his first goal in a City shirt to double the Grecians’ lead. After Aitchison put on the afterburners to gather Cole’s pass and find Harris running into the box, Harris took a shot at the keeper. Marosi did well to keep this first effort out, but Harris was the first to the rebound and he smashed it home from close-range to score his first in red and white. 

City’s third goal was courtesy of a volley from Aitchison, just before the break. Ilmari Niskanen found himself in plenty of space out on the right wing and had time to pick out a well-lofted cross. The cross was headed away but only as far as Aitchison who watched the ball fall, picked his moment, and hit it into the ground, making a tricky evening for Marosi even trickier. The ball looped off the ground, Marosi couldn’t read its direction and the ball nestled into the netting. It was fair to say City had capitalised on the extra man. 


The half-time break saw the introduction of Dion Rankine who replaced the booked Harper. Rankine looked bright from the off as City continued the second half as the ended the first, with pure dominance. City failed to create any clear-cut chances for the opening 20 minutes of the second half but most importantly, they kept Shrewsbury. Sonny Cox and Cole were replaced by Tom Carroll and, no points for guessing the second substitution as the tune of Tequila by The Champs began to ring out from the away end, Mo Eisa. 

City came close as Carroll lifted the ball in over the defence, looking for Aitchison. The keeper just about got there first as Aitchison became tangled with him and eventually gave away a free-kick in the six-yard box before Gary’s fourth introduction, Ben Purrington entered the pitch, replacing Niskanen. 

Shrewsbury gave Vil Sinisalo his first real test with 15 minutes to play, but the Finnish international was keen to keep his clean sheet as he stayed big, made the save, and City’s defence scrambled to clear. Then, at the other end, the Grecians came close to scoring their fourth as the players took turns twisting and turning inside of the box. Each player, laying off the other to take a shot, generosity running through the ranks, although they all failed to take the final shot.

Rankine took it upon himself to create a little bit of magic as he stood up to two Shrewsbury defenders on the right wing. Shimmying from one side to the other, Rankine parted the defenders just enough to wiggle between them and get a shot off, blasting it wide from just inside the box. 

Caldwell’s final change of the afternoon was Millenic Alli on for Aitchison. There was not a lot of action in the second half as City handled the closing minutes professionally, dominating possession and keeping their clean sheet. 
After three added minutes, Rock blew his whistle one last time to confirm City’s three points on the road. An enthralling first half and a dominant second, City can celebrate a deserved victory. 
Exeter City face Burton Albion in their next fixture at St James Park – Saturday, 16th March at 3pm. Click here to buy tickets.

Exeter City: Sinisalo (GK), Jules, Aimson, Sweeney, Harper (Rankine 46’), Niskanen (Purrington 72’), Cole (Carroll 61’), Woods, Harris, Aitchison (Alli 79’), Cox (Eisa 61’) 

Unused Subs: Macdonald, Diabate, Purrington, Rankine, Carroll, Alli, Eisa. 

Shrewsbury Town: Coleman, Santos (C), Toal, Jones, Iredale, Thomason, Sheehan, Maghoma, Collins, Adeboyejo, Williams. 

Subs: Ogbeta, Ashworth, Forrester, Dacres-Cogley, Dempsey, Böðvarsson, Jerome. 

Referee: David Rock 

Attendance: 4960 (249 away). 

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