Match 40
28 January 2020
Port Vale (a)

Exeter City’s 11 game unbeaten run in Sky Bet League Two came to an end at Vale Park in a 3-1 loss.
by Simon Larkin 

Nicky Ajose had given the Grecians the lead in the first half, but two goals from Ritchie Bennett and one from Leon Legge after the break saw City leave Stoke empty-handed.

 Manager Matt Taylor made two changes to the side that drew 0-0 with Colchester United last time out, with Nicky Law and Randell Williams dropping to the bench for Ajose and Brennan Dickenson.

The Grecians started the match in a bright fashion as Jake Taylor – making his 300th career appearance forcing Scott Brown to turn an effort around his post in the opening minute.

Dickenson and Jayden Richardson were also causing problems down both flanks. However, Dickenson then cut inside and had a shot of his own just past the quarter of an hour mark, but it ricocheted off Ajose and out for a goal kick.

The next time those two players combined though it was intended and lethal. First Jake Taylor won the ball back well high up the pitch, but Dickenson still had a lot to do when he found him out wide but he delivered a beautiful first-time cross into the six yard box and Ajose dive to nod past Brown for his first goal for the Grecian in Sky Bet League Two.

Port Vale looked dangerous from corners with Leon Legge and Ritchie Bennett both heading off target in the first half, but it was the Grecians who looked more threatening in open play as the sides heading into the break.

City started the second half brightly as well with Archie Collins having an effort cleared off the line. However, only a minute later and Dickenson tripped David Amoo in the box to give Vale a penalty, which was converted by Ritchie Bennett.

That seemed to give the home side the confidence that was missing from the first half display as Bennett wasted two good chances to put Port Vale in front before a cross to the back post was headed home by Leon Legge just after the hour mark to turn the game on its head.

Then on 69 minutes, with City struggling to find their rhythm, Scott Burgess crossed to the back post for Ritchie Bennett to head home his second and Port Vale’s third of the match.

City pushed forward in the closing stages to try and find a way back into the match, but Randell Williams effort hit the post and went wide and Nicky Law’s header was comfortably saved.

Port Vale: Brown, Gibbons, Joyce, Legge, Worrall, Conlon, Montano, Amoo, Burgess, Bennett (Pope, 83), Brisley. Subs not used: Atkinson, Browne, Evans, Lloyd, Campbell Gordon, Maddison.

Booked: Legge

Exeter City: Maxted, Sweeney, Atangana, A Martin, Bowman, Ajose (Fisher, 84), Richardson, Parkes, Dickenson (Williams, 55), Taylor (Law, 70), Collins. Subs not used: Ward, L Martin, Jay, Moxey.

Booked: Dickenson

Attendance: 3,347 (198, away)