Hopes and Expectations


Match Report:
Weymouth FC 0-2 Exeter City

8 July 2016

Simpson on target as City prevail in pre-season opener
Man of the Match: Conor Riley-Lowe 

Attendance: 431
Referee: Martin Underhay


Lee Holmes fired one over in the dying stages before referee Martin Underhay called time the Grecians’ first match of a busy pre-season schedule. City can take plenty of positives from a good run-out on the south coast. But City weren’t to be denied a second. Lee Holmes delivered a trademark cross from the left, and Robbie Simpson got across his marker to drive a low effort past Thomas. Paul Tisdale had commented on the importance of developing partnerships over the course of pre-season, and he would have been encouraged to see the early signs of a potentially fruitful combination. The Grecians had the ball in the back of the net for a second time on sixty-seven minutes following Lee Holmes’ cross-come-shot, but referee Martin Underhay ruled out the winger’s effort due to a foul on the Weymouth keeper. There were a further four changes for the Grecians on fifty-six minutes, with Joel Grant  amongst them following his time spent with the Jamaican national side at the Copa America. Within seconds of his introduction Grant rattled the upright having connected well with a Tom McCready cross from the right-hand side, and the mercurial midfielder was at it again moments later, skipping past his marker before forcing Dan Thomas into a close-range stop. James Hamon dealt well with his only test of the half, keeping hold of a Charlie Davis free-kick. With the half-time meat draw in full-swing, City boss Paul Tisdale decided to ring the changes for the second period by introducing six new faces.

Moore-Taylor’s header was to be the last action of half that bore the hallmarks of an early pre-season encounter. Substitute Conor Jevon tested Christy Pym for the first time on thirty-two minutes, but the young City stopper got down quickly to deny the Terras an opening goal. Liam McAlinden was forced off five minutes before the interval, and it was his replacement that played a role in the Grecians’ opener. Jamie Reid’s low drive was deflected out of play for a corner, and Alex Byrne’s delivery from the subsequent set-piece was nodded home by skipper Jordan Moore-Taylor. With the sun lowering over the Bob Lucas Stadium, it was the post to the rescue for the hosts. A ball in from the right-hand side found its way to McAlinden with half an hour played, and City’s latest recruit steered his effort onto the far-post with the keeper beaten. It was Matt Jay’s turn to threaten two minutes later, as the dynamic midfielder fired one over from twenty-five yards out following a bursting run forward. The Terras were forced into an early substitution on twenty-one minutes, with new signing Sam Jordan replaced by Conor Jevon. McAlinden was looking lively at the other end, and some good combination play between the ex-Wolverhampton Wanderers striker and Riley-Lowe almost saw the Grecians work the space for a shot at the Weymouth goal. The Grecians were looking lively down the left-hand side with Jordan Moore-Taylor making some good advances from full-back. It was Ollie Watkins who registered the first shot of the game having cut in from the left and on to his right foot, but he saw his effort blocked on the edge of the area. After an uneventful opening period, City began to find their rhythm with ten minutes on the clock. It was the hosts who nearly worked the first opening, though, as Chris Shepard’s through-ball only narrowly evaded the on-rushing Sam Jordan. It was an experimental-looking starting eleven for City’s pre-season opener at The Bob Lucas Stadium. New boy Liam McAlinden was handed the task of leading the line, and trialist Pierce Sweeney featured in a back four alongside Jordan Storey, Nick Grimes and Jordan Moore-Taylor. Connor Riley-Lowe, who spent a brief spell on loan with the Grecians’ opponents in 2015, started on the left of midfield.  
Moore-Taylor 44’, Simpson 72’ Goals:
Exeter City (1st Half):
Hamon, McCready, Brown, Moore-Taylor, Woodman, Jay, Tillson, Byrne, Riley-Lowe, Reid, Grant. 
Exeter City (2nd Half): 
Pym, Sweeney, Storey, Grimes, Moore-Taylor, Riley-Lowe, Byrne, Tillson, Jay, McAlinden, Watkins.

Exeter City 2 Bristol Rovers 0
Match report

16 July 2016

Match report from Exeter City's first home pre-season game of the summer against Bristol Rovers

Exeter City put in an impressive pre-season performance to beat League One Bristol Rovers 2-0 at St James Park. First-half goals from Ryan Harley and Ollie Watkins gave the home side a 2-0 lead at the break and then a more inexperience City XI in the second half showed some good defensive resolve to keep the clean sheet. City manager Paul Tisdale named a strong starting XI for the first half, with Lloyd James and Robbie Simpson making their non-competitive debuts at St James Park and Troy Archibald-Henville appearing in front of the home crowd for the first time since his move back to Exeter this summer. Ollie Watkins partnered Simpson up front and there was a surprise name on the bench as Ethan Ampadu, a talented 15-year-old in Exeter City’s Academy, was named as one of five substitutes.

  • A minute’s applause was held prior to kick-off for City’s former manager Eamonn Dolan, who died from cancer aged 48 during the summer.

Tisdale said going into the match that the game would prove a good barometer for his side and the progress they have made since they last played Bristol Rovers in April and he will have no doubt been impressed with his team’s first half showing. Simpson went close to opening the scoring after five minutes when he latched onto an underhit backpass from Billy Bodin, but lost his footing as he went around Will Puddy and the visitors managed to clear. City were in front moments later though as Lee Holmes fed a ball to Harley in the box and his shot took a deflection off Alfie Kilgour on its way into the back of the net. Rovers responded as Sam Barratt hit a free-kick onto the top of the crossbar, but City continued to create the better chances after that. Holmes went on a lung-bursting run from halfway before firing just over and then Harley hit a sweet volley, from a corner, that Puddy had to grab from underneath his crossbar. Watkins then had two chances to add to City’s goal advantage, firing just wide on both occasions, before he showed great awareness to latch onto a reverse pass from Holmes and hook the ball past Puddy and into an unguarded net. That gave the home side the two-goal advantage their first half performance deserved. Holmes then continued his good display by forcing Puddy into another save as his stoppage time free kick threatened to dip under the crossbar. City made 10 changes at the break, with only keeper Bobby Olejnik keeping his place. Jamie Reid, a scorer of a late equaliser when City played Bristol at home last season, partnered Joel Grant up front. City’s young defence continued to thwart Bristol in the the second half, with Nick Grimes getting in a telling interception on a low cross on the hour mark before Matt Jay fired a shot into the side netting. Tisdale made three more changes on 67 minutes, giving Ampadu his debut for the first team and bringing on James Hamon and David Wheeler as well. Ampadu lined-up in defence, while Wheeler went on the wing as Riley-Lowe switched to right-back. Bristol created their first real opportunity of the second half 76 minutes as Luke James crossed for Dean Gaffney to strike, but he missed the ball before Cristian Montano fired wide. Reid then came close to repeating his goalscoring from last season, but shot narrowly wide from inside the area. Hamon then produced an excellent save to deny James in the 82nd minute and City saw out the game comfortably to win 2-0.

Exeter City first half XI:; Taylor, James, Harley, Holmes; Watkins, Simpson. Subs not used: Hamon, Down, Ampadu, Egan, ReidMoore-TaylorOlejnik; Sweeney, Brown, Archibald-Henville.

Exeter City second half XI:Olejnik (Hamon, 67); McCready, Grimes (Ampadu, 67), Storey (Wheeler, 67), Down; Jay, Tillson, Byrne, Riley-Lowe; Reid, Grant (Egan, 56)

Bristol Rovers:. Subs not used: Broom, MalpasPuddy; Leadbitter, Kilgour, McChrystal (Greenslade, 45), Evans; Bodin (Lawrence, 45), Lines, O Clarke, Barrett (Montano, 45); Harrison (Gaffney, 45), James
Booked: Montano

Attendance: 1,247 (197, away).

Club News

Match Report: Bodmin Town 0-4 Exeter City

20 July 2016

City begin Cornwall tour with victory at Priory Park

Paul Tisdale made a solitary change from the side that lined up against Bristol Rovers on Saturday. Troy Archibald-Henville made way for Tom McCready, with trialist Pierce Sweeney moved inside to partner Troy Brown at the heart of a back four. Lee Holmes, who had already notched three assists in the games against Weymouth and Bristol Rovers, resumed starting duties on the left-flank.

It was City who worked the first opening of the game at Priory Park. Ollie Watkins latched on to an under-hit back-pass, but his attempts to round Kyle Moore in the Weymouth goal saw him knock the ball out of play for a goal-kick. The Grecians looked in the mood, and they made their early dominance count by taking the lead after just eight minutes. Taylor was finding pockets of space in-behind Bodmin's midfield, and when his in-swinging cross from the left was missed by a defender, Robbie Simpson was Johnny-on-the-spot to drill past Moore from close range. City thought that they had doubled their lead three minutes later as Brown rose above his marker to nod home at the back-post, but referee Simon Long deemed the imposing centre-back to have fouled his man. Paul Tisdale's side were stretching the play well, with Holmes and Taylor making plenty of advances down each flank. It was the latter who tested Moore on the quarter-hour mark, flashing a cross-come-shot across the face of goal having been played in by the marauding McCready. Taylor was at it again six minutes later. Having received the ball on the edge of the area following a well-worked corner from the right, the former Reading midfielder blazed over the crossbar with a sweetly struck half-volley. The visitors added a second in the twenty-seventh minute, and in truth it had been coming. A floated cross from the left-hand side was nodded down by James, and Harley was at hand to slot neatly into the corner from twenty-yards out. City made it three less than a minute later. Tom McCready's cross from the right was fumbled by the keeper, and Taylor was in the right place at the right time to slide home from inside the six-yard box.
Bobby Olejnik, who had fulfilled a watching brief during the opening half an hour, was called into action for the first time on thirty-five minutes. There were no signs of rustiness from the big Austrian, though, as he dived well to tip over Lance Bailey's long-range strike. City rounded off the half the same way as it had begun with Ollie Watkins stinging Moore's finger tips following a neat passage of play from back to front.

HALF-TIME: Bodmin Town 0-3 Exeter City

Paul Tisdale fielded a fresh midfield after the interval, introducing Jamie Reid, Matt Jay, Alex Byrne and Jordan Tillson in place of Lee Holmes, Lloyd James, Ryan Harley and Jake Taylor. Simpson and Watkins were the next two to make way, with Liam McAlinden and David Wheeler sent on up-front. Unsurprisingly the game lost much of its ebb and flow following Tisdale's spree of substitutions. McAlinden came close to making an instant impact following his introduction, but saw his header from inside the six-yard box cleared off the line. Two of the Grecians' academy products combined on the hour mark, with Byrne firing narrowly wide following a neat ball inside from Jay.

Jay had a go himself moments later, but Moore was equal to his poked effort at the near-post after Reid had done well to get a cross in from the byline. McAlinden should have opened his City account in the sixty-fifth minute, but glanced Wheeler's cross wide of the right-hand post with the goal at his mercy. Tillson, who had come close with a dipping effort just after the hour mark, was forced off with injury twenty minutes after his arrival with Kyle Egan drafted into the centre of midfield. City made a trio of substitutions with twenty minutes remaining, as Christy Pym, Matt Oakley and Nick Grimes came on to replace Olejnik, Sweeney and Brown. Despite such a wholesale change in personnel, the Grecians still carried a threat, and they made it four with seventeen minutes remaining. After another foray into the Bodmin half, Egan curled past Moore from the edge of the D to round off a satisfying evening for Paul Tisdale and the rest of his backroom staff. Reid, who had been working tirelessly in the final third, looked to find the postage stamp in the top-right corner with seventy-six minutes played, but the City forward couldn't quite generate the whip on his strike to keep the ball inside Moore's left-hand post. Five minutes later and it was Wheeler's turn to get back amongst the action. Jay shifted on a long, searching ball into his path, but the returning winger saw his shot well saved by the keeper. Jay was looking lively, and he almost bagged a deserved goal during the closing stages in what would have been a carbon copy of the Grecians' fourth strike of the evening. The referee blew his whistle moments later to call time on the first of three matches in four days for City. A positive start to the week in Cornwall, then, as Paul Tisdale's side made it three pre-season wins on the bounce with eight goals scored and three clean sheets in the bag. Next up for the Grecians are Truro City on Thursday evening.

FULL-TIME: Bodmin Town 0-4 Exeter City

Exeter City: Olejnik, McCready, Brown, Sweeney, Moore-Taylor, Taylor, Harley, James, Holmes, Watkins, Simpson.
Subs: Reid, Grimes, Tillson, Wheeler, Pym, Jay, Byrne, Egan, Riley-Lowe.
Goals: Simpson 8', Harley 27', Taylor 28', Egan 73'

Referee: Simon Long



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