13th March 2021
Exeter City v Cheltenham
Heartbreak for Exeter as they concede late against League leaders Cheltenham Town who take a 1-0 victory by Jasmin Western
In a game that had very little going for it until the late stages, the only event separating the two teams came as substitute Andy Williams got a head to a loose ball in the box. Manager Matt Taylor named 2 changes from the side that beat Scunthorpe 2-0 on Tuesday night. Jack Sparkes earned his place in the starting line-up after scoring his first league goal for the Grecians off the bench. The visitors named 3 changes after they fell to a form ruining defeat against Mansfield. Former Grecian Liam Sercombe was named in the starting line-up for the Robins. After a couple of days of some spells of heavy rain and strong winds, the pitch surface looked plenty better from the game who was postponed against Grimsby, but the strong wind chill continued throughout the game presenting a challenge for both sides. There was slight worry early on as Jack Sparkes went down injured deep in the Exeter half, with Exeter being able to clear the danger as the ref stopped for a head injury. Thankfully, Sparkes was cleared to continue playing. The Grecians had to weather some sustained pressure with a couple of corners for the visitors around 20 minutes, however, like for much of the first half chances we’re few and far between for both sides.
The visitors made their first substitute on half-time as Lloyd made way for May after spending a prolonged time at the end of the first half receiving some treatment. The Grecians remained the same as they did at the start of the first half Both sides came into the second half with a renewed sense of aggression, with plenty of successful tackles taking place either side of the halfway line. City had a good chance just before the hour mark as Sparkes played in Randall with a neat through ball but caught the winger offside. Randall struck low and forced the goalkeeper into a save as the flag was raised for offside. After spending sixty minutes at deadlock, Matt Taylor brought on some more attacking threat in the form of Newport loanee Robbie Willmott as Jake Caprice came off. A huge chance for Exeter just before seventy minutes with the wind picking up as Archie Collins found Jake Taylor in the area. A superb ball over the Cheltenham back line from Archie picked out Taylor beautifully who struck on the volley from 6 yards out, but it was slightly over. Taylor made his second substitute just after with Sparkes coming of for Lewis Page as the rain started to pour at St James’ Park. The Grecians chancing the wind being able to carry the ball forward as they attack towards the St James Road End. In a game with few chances the visitors almost netted in their own goal with the Grecians frenetic pace forcing Tozer to make a difficult touch deep in their box but managed to send it out for an Exeter corner, which amounted to nothing. The corner did create some sustained pressure from the Grecians as they looked to earn the full 3 points from the game. Substitute Willmott had the best chance of the day so far late on into the second half as he was played on by a long ball and chased but struck directly into the hands of the Cheltenham goalkeeper. Immediately from the resulting goal kick, the visitors also had their best chance of the game, forcing Andresson to make a great save in a game where he hasn’t had too much to do. It was Alfie May with the shot as Jokull tipped the strong strike over the bar. In a game that was dictated largely by the weather, Exeter had a deep long throw to contend with just before the death of the game as they looked into the long sun. After a long throw from Tozer, substitute Williams got a late goal as he connected on the end of the throw as both himself and an Exeter man went up for the ball.
Exeter City: Andreesson, Caprice (Willmott 63’), McArdle, Hartridge, Sparkes, Key, Taylor, Collins, Randall (Fisher 90+1), Jay (Seymour 90 +1), Bowman
Subs not used: Lee, Page, Sweeney, Atangana,
Booked: Taylor 81’,
Cheltenham Town: Griffiths, Long, Tozer ©, Freestone, Blair, Hussey, Thomas, Sercombe, Azaz, Smith (Williams 87’), Lloyd (May 45’)
Subs not used: Flinders, Wright, Horton, Chapman, Vassilev