Match 31
8th January 2016
FA Cup 3rd Round
Exeter City v Liverpool

Exeter City 2-2 Liverpool
City to head to Anfield for Third Round replay


Exeter City: Olejnik, Woodman, Noble (Oakley 61'), Ribeiro (Davies 75'), Holmes (Grant 84'), Nicholls, Moore-Taylor (capt), Reid, Nichols, Tillson, Brown.
Subs:  Hamon, McAllister, Morrison, Hoskins.

Goals: Nichols 11', Holmes 45+1'

Liverpool: Bogdan, Enrique, Benteke (capt), Ilori (Maguire 77'), Brannagan, Stewart, Kent (Chirivella 57'), Smith, Sinclair (Ojo 71'), Teixeira, Randall.
Subs: Fulton, Lallana, Lucas, Masterson.

Goals: Sinclair 14', Smith 73'

Referee: Stuart Attwell

Report by Oliver Roderick 

EXETER CITY are heading to Anfield after holding Premier League Liverpool to a thrilling 2-2 draw at St James Park.

With the anticipation having been building for nigh-on six weeks since the Third Round draw was made on December 7th, a capacity crowd was in attendance at St James Park for the visit of Liverpool.

The Match of the Day studio was set up and ready to go. The assembled hordes of press (over sixty-five of them, the majority nationals) were taking their places. The special ninety-six-page edition of The Grecian had been selling like hot cakes around the ground since the early hours of the morning.

David Noble and Christian Ribeiro returned to the starting line-up for Exeter City to take on Liverpool in the most eagerly-anticipated match of the season. Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp named a very youthful eleven, but did have Belgian international Christian Benteke up front as captain.

It was a first FA Cup experience for the German visiting manager, and the magic of the Cup was in full swing when his pre-match interviews were carried out in the club's tea room. City boss Paul Tisdale provided his counterpart with a gift as the sides made their way out onto the field.

With St James Park full to the rafters and absolutely rocking, the place nearly fell down when Jamie Reid centred for Tom Nichols to fire City in front just over ten minutes in. Songs for Stanno rang out as the stadium bounced, but unfortunately it was a lead that was only to last for a few minutes, as Jerome Sinclair took advantage of a mistake in the City backline to fire past Bobby Olejnik.

David Noble had a wonderful chance to put City in front once again, but could only fire over from Christian Ribeiro's cross. But City would end the half with the advantage after a classic moment in front of the cameras, as Lee Holmes whipped a beautiful corner straight in past Adam Bodgan.

Both sides returned to the pitch for the second half to a loud reception, but it was clearly the home side that enjoyed the more positive one. Bobby Olejnik was crucial in keeping City in front, saving from Christian Benteke's header. but could do nothing to stop Brad Smith from rifling in an equaliser with just over fifteen minutes to go. City picked it up from there; the introductions of Joel Grant and Matt Oakley helping to retain some possession, and they did well to limit their visitors to half-chances.

Liverpool, without a large number of first-team players thanks to a succession of hamstring injuries, were reminded of that fact when Brad Smith went down. "Is it your hamstring?" came the call from the Big Bank. Back up he got. But besides the header from Benteke early in the second period, City were not tested often enough by the Premier League side for the visitors to overcome their plucky, relentless hosts.

Despite some hairy moments, City are still in the hat for the Fourth Round, and will head to Anfield to settle the tie. For the first time in their history, Exeter City avoid defeat against Liverpool, and it could well be the first of a couple in the space of a few weeks.


Attendance: 8,298 (1,297 away)

Man of the Match: Tom Nichols

Match Photos 

Classic Match
Liverpool 2016
by Will Barrett

On Friday the 8th of January 2016, City welcomed Premier League giants Liverpool to St James Park, for a Friday night encounter that kicked off the third round of the FA Cup in front of the BBC cameras.

The match was also Jurgen Klopp’s first introduction to the famous old cup competition, and with several injuries to his regular first team, he was forced into playing a largely second-string team that gave us hope that there could be an upset on the cards.

With the famously vocal Kopites huddled together in the St James Road end, it was the Grecians on the Big Bank that were making the noise, as the Red Legion led the packed crowd in encouraging the boys in red and white to make history.

And how nearly they did! Despite the two sides being separated by 72 league positions, it was City who took hold of the game early on, taking the lead after just nine minutes as Jamie Reid’s inch-perfect low cross was perfectly steered into the bottom corner by Tom Nichols.

Liverpool responded quickly, immediately pressing the City backline, and when some confusion in the area led to the ball falling at the feet of Jerome Sinclair, the debutant made no mistake as he finished from ten yards to level the scores.

With the game in the balance, City forced a corner in front of the visiting fans, and Lee Holmes conjured his best Peter Hatch impression, by emulating the ECFC Hall of Famer in scoring directly from the (very same) corner in an FA Cup tie.

With the crowd in full voice, and the score at 2-1, it was still Exeter who continued to show the greater attacking intent, as an unfamiliar Liverpool team struggled to find cohesion as the game progressed.

The opposition may have been made up of debutants and reserve players, but they still had £32.5m forward, Christian Benteke leading the line. However, the Belgian was a peripheral figure throughout the evening, save for a thumping header that was tipped over the bar by Bobby Olejnik.

As the game moved into the final ten minutes, City were on for an historic victory, but as their hard-working legs began to tire, Sheyi Ojo made an instant impact from the bench when his break down the left flank led to Brad Smith drilling home to save Klopp’s blushes.

At the end of the match it felt like it could have been more for City, and perhaps it should have been, but from the pitch to the stands it was entertaining to the last, and like all the classic cup games at the Park, one not to forget.

Final Score: ECFC 2 LFC 2

Exeter City: Olejnik, Ribeiro (Davies 66), Brown, Moore-Taylor, Woodman, Tillson, Nicholls, Noble (Oakley 62), Holmes (Grant 84), Reid, Nichols.

Liverpool: Bogdan, Randall, Ilori (Maguire 77), Enrique, Smith, Kent (Chirivella 57), Brannagan, Stewart, Teixeira, Sinclair (Ojo 71), Benteke.

Man of the match: Tom Nichols

Attendance: 8,298

Written by: Will Barrett



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