Match 42
27th March 2010
Walsall (Home)

Tuesday 30th March 2010 Combination
Southampton (a)

Exeter City 2 Walsall 1.
Saturday 27 March 2010

City eased themselves out of the relegation zone with a fine 2-1 win over Walsall. Exeter made a fine start in the fourth minute as a corner from the left found Matt Taylor who had both the time and space to butt home a powerful header from close range that squeezed between keeper and post to give City a 1-0 first half lead for the first time since the defeat of Leeds back in mid January. City looked as though they might rue their flurry of early chances as Walsall came back strongly and began to enjoy more of the possession and more of the play. Indeed the longer the half went on the more likely it looked as though they would equalise rather than City get a second. But probably the best chance of the half fell to Ryan Harley right on half-time who played the ball under the out rushing keeper who took enough sting off the ball to allow a defender to hack clear off the line. City did score in the 57th minute when Harley fired home a penalty after Richard Duffy had been sent sprawling to the ground, an offence spotted by the referee's assistant. Walsall's response was immediate with a blistering free kick right on the edge of the box blasted straight at the wall. The rebound fell kindly but this was smashed over the bar and into the travelling fans behind the goal. It was only delaying the seemingly inevitable though, as on the quarter hour Walsall were rewarded for their hard work with a fine goal. Julian Gray received the ball just inside the area from a bit of a scramble, but in one single movement produced a moment of sublime skill bending the ball around everyone and just inside the far post to reduce the deficit to 2-1.
BBC match summary and information 

Exeter moved out of the relegation zone with a well-deserved victory over mid-table Walsall. The home side scored with their first attack when Matt Taylor headed in Ryan Harley's delivery at the back post. Harley missed a great chance to extend their lead before making amends with a penalty after a foul on Barry Corr. Walsall got a goal back when a long throw found its way to Julian Gray, who side-footed home, and they pressed for the equaliser but Exeter held firm.

Exeter City manager Paul Tisdale speaks to BBC Radio Devon:

"I am very pleased with everything they did today. "When you go two goals up, you know there'll be a shift, but we stuck at it and everyone played their part. "We had great support and I think there's 5,500 people leaving happy today. "We're getting more and more pragmatic, we've been efficient, today at times there was a real pattern to our play."

City team:
Paul Jones; Rob Edwards, Matt Taylor, Richard Duffy; George Friend, Ryan Harley, Liam Sercombe, James Dunne, Steve Tully; Marcus Stewart, Barry Corr (Richard Logan).

Walsall team:
Rene Gilmartin; Rhys Weston; Emmanuele Smith; Jamie Vincent; Netan Sansara (Darryl Westlake); Steve Jones; Richard Taundry (Peter Till); Josh O'Keefe; Julian Gray; Troy Deeney; Alex Nicholls

Referee: Trevor Kettle

Attendance  5887 with 283 away fans.

Tuesday 30th March 2010 Combination
Southampton 1
Exeter City Reserves 1

Exeter City reserves remain second in the Combination League Wales & West Division after they drew 1-1 at Southampton. The game should have been played at St JamesPark, but it was agreed to switch it to Southampton's training ground to protect the playing surface for the Grecians' Easter programme of matches.

Trialist Ryan James, from the Nike Academy grabbed an equaliser for the Grecians with 15 minutes to go, when the young centre-back found the net following a corner. The point means City draw level with league leaders Swindon Town at the top of the division, but still trail the Robins on goal difference Southampton remain third, two points further behind.

Elsewhere Bristol City say they are considering withdrawing from the Combination League next season. City have expressed concerns over the standard of opposition and pitches in the reserves league.

Caretaker boss Keith Millen said "The league have all sorts of criteria about seats and stands, but seem to forget the most important thing is the playing surface.

"No disrespect to some of the teams we have played, but they have not been great games. When you're winning games that easily, you tend not to get a lot out of them."

If City do withdraw, they would be following in the footsteps of Cardiff City and Bristol Rovers, who cited similar reasons as they pulled out of the division in 2008. The Bristol club say they would instead play a number of friendly reserve fixtures.



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