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Match Reports

MATCH REPORT: The Imps V Exeter City

12 May 2018

The spoils were shared at Sincil Bank in a tight SkyBet League Two Playoff semi final first leg. The Imps arguably shaded the encounter as a solid defensive performance and some impressive goalkeeping from the visitors ensured the tie still remains on a knife edge.

Under the glare of the tv cameras in front of thousands around the world and almost ten thousand fans packed into Sincil Bank the game kicked off with the home supporters in fine voice. The Imps started the game brightly and were to force the first save of the game, a ball from right to left was met by Luke Waterfall from which Matt Green pounced, swiveling and getting away a first time effort which Christy Pym had to gather. City were pressing high up the pitch and forcing The Grecians onto their heels, Michael Bostwick tried his luck from the edge of the box but the visitors blocked in the area. 

Exeter won two corners in quick succession, the second of which was played out to Ryan Harley, his shot was blocked but the ball fell the way of Jayden Stockley. The Grecian’s top scorer then attempted the spectacular with an overhead kick, Ryan Allsop wasn’t overly troubled by the effort as he claimed possession.  The Imps quickly got the ball back into Grecian territory as Alex Woodyard sprayed a wonderful ball to Harry Anderson, his first touch almost took him past Dean Moxey, out came Pym to clear for a corner. The Imps almost profited from the set piece as Waterfall broke free of his marker, however he couldn’t keep his header on target.  The Imps were impressing in possession, Woodyard again showing his range playing the ball wide to James Wilson whose touch was almost perfect taking him clear of Moxey to cross, Pym claimed confidently under pressure.

Allsop was then called into action as Harley showed a good touch to evade Waterfall, the Grecian’s number seven was to get his shot away in the box, Allsop however dived low to his left to save. Twenty minutes had gone and the game was as competitive as ever, but the Imps were in the ascendancy territorially, Exeter were having little of the ball aside from clearing their lines. Elliott Whitehouse went down under a robust challenge giving The Imps another chance to get into the visitors penalty area. Neal Eardley saw it as an opportunity to get a shot away and he did just that, curling a low effort that Pym did well to save. Immediately The Grecians attacked at pace, but they found no way through the home defence as Waterfall got a vital touch on a left wing cross with Stockley in close attendance.

Exeter pressed ahead of half time with an added vigour, firstly down the left through Moxey then Harley had a shot blocked by Woodyard, getting his body in the way of the drive.  Stockley then missed a chance to put the visitors in front, a curling cross from Hiram Boateng picked out the striker inside the box but he completely missed the ball with just Allsop in his way.  Stockley again had his head in his hands after the visitors went a little more direct, the striker took a touch before blasting into the visiting fans to the right behind the goal.

The Imps pushed right to the whistle to get ahead, a typical burst of speed from Harry Anderson almost got him past his marker, but he won a corner, Eardley played it in but the ball was cleared, Woodyard put the ball back into the danger zone to Waterfall, his knockdown was cleared in what would prove to be the final goalmouth action of an intriguing first 45 minutes.

Half Time

The Imps 0 Exeter City 0

Within seconds of the restart The Imps were within inches of taking the lead, a wonderful piece of link play inside the box between Whitehouse and Green set the latter free for a shooting chance, he looked up and fired on target and Pym did well to save, full stretch to his right. Anderson was in the mood, really stretching the visiting defence, twisting and turning Moxey inside out but the defender was resilient and managed to regain his footing to halt Anderson’s route to crossing the ball. The Imps were having a real purple patch in the game, and when Rhead set Green free, the visitors once again had to thank their ‘keeper as he somehow kept out Green’s effort with his foot, Whitehouse couldn’t turn home the rebound as the ball flashed back off the boot of the Grecian’s custodian.

Exeter rallied briefly as Stockley headed wide at the back post, but the sound of the home crowd clearly invigorated the Imps into pushing deep into opposition territory yet again. Anderson shooting wide from the edge of the box and then the visitors misplacing a pass out for an Imps’ corner as the intensity from the home side seemed to find another level. Wilson crossed for Rhead to thump a header against the crossbar with Pym motionless as The Imps kept hammering on the Exeter door.

However, the visitors fought back strongly, first Harley was denied from range by a fine stop from Allsop then the Imps ‘keeper was up smartly to save again, this time from Jake Taylor as he fired low towards the near post.  Eardley tried a shot from distance that whistled across the face of goal as the visitors once again were faced with the home side on the front foot.

Exeter stood firm, but weren’t able to test Allsop while Pym was alert to halt a near post centre from Anderson with Green looming large beside him. Pym then played sweeper, coming quickly from his area as Green almost got in behind the Grecian’s defence.

Many predicted a tight game between the two respective sides and it proved to be as the first leg ended in a draw leaving all to play for at St James’ Park on Thursday.

Full Time

The Imps 0 Exeter City 0

The Imps

22       Ryan ALLSOP

4          Elliott WHITEHOUSE

5          Luke WATERFALL

6          Scott WHARTON

9          Matt RHEAD

10       Matt GREEN

15       James WILSON

16       Michael BOSTWICK

23       Neal EARDLEY

26       Harry ANDERSON

30       Alex WOODYARD

Substitutes

1          Paul FARMAN

2          Sean LONG (90’ for Wharton)

7          Tom PETT (84’ for Whitehouse)

8          Ollie PALMER (84’ for Anderson)

12       Ellis CHAPMAN

14       Jordan WILLIAMS

36       Declan O HARE

Booked: Palmer 90'

Exeter City

1          Christy PYM

2          Pierce SWEENEY

4          Lloyd JAMES

6          Jordan TILLSON

7          Ryan HARLEY

11       Jayden STOCKLEY

15       Jordan TAYLOR-MOORE

21       Dean MOXEY

25       Jake TAYLOR

38       Jordan STOREY

44       Hiram BOATENG

Substitutes

12       Paul JONES

3          Craig WOODMAN

5          Troy ARCHIBALD-HENVILLE (90’ for Harley)

8          Robbie SIMPSON (74’ for Boateng)

20       Matt JAY

22       Kane WILSON

28       Kyle EDWARDS

Referee: Ben Toner

Assistants: Sam Lewis & Duncan Street

Attendance: 9,509 (640 Exeter Supporters)


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