Town 2 Exeter City 3
Town: Jayson Leutwiler, Jermaine Grandison, Mickey Demetriou, Ryan Woods, Connor Goldson, James Collins, Liam Lawrence (Jordan Clark 87), James Wesolowski, Nathaniel Knight-Percival, Jack Grimmer, Jean-Louis Akpa Akpro
Subs: Mark Halstead, Mark Ellis, Ashley Vincent, Scott Vernon, Anthony Griffith, Bobby Grant
Exeter: James Hamon, Danny Butterfield, Craig Woodman, Christian Riberio, Liam Sercombe, Matt Oakley (c), Jimmy Keohane (David Wheeler 64), Matt Grimes, David Noble (Arron Davies 84), Tom Nicholas, Graham Cummins
Subs: Christy Pym, Connor Riley-Lowe, Jordan Tillson, Matt Jay, Ollie Watkins
Ref: Chris Sarginson
Assistants: Chris Powell and Lee Swabey
Fourth Official: Andrew Quin
Attendance: 3,933 (305)
Micky Mellon makes just the one change with Jack Grimmer coming back into the squad after being cup tied for the Walsall FA Cup win. Bobby Grant is the one who drops to the bench as Town to keep their recent winning from going.
Town made an assured start to the game and had a lot of good possession around the the Exeter goal in the early exchanges. It was however the home side who had the best early sights of goal with a couple of decent deliveries in behind the Town defence from Grimes but there was no one on the end to connect.
Town grabbed the lead just after the 10 minute mark following a good break down the left from Demetriou, he found the space to break forward and then cut the ball infield to find James Collins, he hit a decent low shot in that sneaked past the dive of new Grecians keeper James Hamon.
All the pressure was coming from Town and Exeter were looking a little uncomfortable at the back when trying to deal with the Town attacks. James Collins had a great chance with a lovely curling shot that was just wide and moments later he got in behind the Exeter defence and drilled in a low shot that was blocked.
Exeter had their best chance of the game with 25 minutes on the clock, it came after a good cross from Sercombe that saw Jimmy Kerohane get in with a good diving header but the header was just wide of the target.
Liam Lawrence looked to nick the ball away from Tom Nicholas as the ball dropped in the midfield but the Town skipper caught the Exeter man late and picked up a yellow card.
Exeter had their best chance to level when then ball came into the Town box and the visitors couldn't clear, the ball was there in front of the Town goal but Nathaniel Knight-Percival got in an excellent block and tackle and Cummins wasn't able to react and Town managed to clear their lines.
It was 2-0 to Town just after the half-hour mark and they worked the ball well with Grimmer, he broke down the right and then drilled in a low cross that Wesolowski connected with nicely but Hamon pulled off a great block but the ball dropped to Collins and he smashed the ball home.
Minutes later it was a carbon copy from Town with Grimmer taking the ball down the touchline and getting in behind the defence and driving in a low ball that Wesolowski connected with but Hamon was again there with a good save.
James Collins had a couple of good chances to get his hat-trick with some good chances, but the best after a clearance from Leutwiler saw Collins in one on one with the keeper, he tried to nick the ball past Hamon but the Exeter keeper guessed correctly and pulled off a good block.
Town looked threatening whenever they broke forward and there were chances for a number of the Town squad. Grimmer was getting in down the right and Demetriou down the left with good deliveries that were causing a whole host of problems. There was a good chance late on when Jean-Louis Akpa Akpro found the space in the box to get in a decent shot but it was into the side netting.
The scoreline might have been 2-0 to Town but it had been a very open game with Exeter getting a number of decent chances themselves. When they got forward they did look threatening but the Town defence and Leutwiler were doing their jobs, but on the other hand if Town had taken their chances then it might had been a much higher scoreline in their favour.
It was a bad start to the second half for Town with Exeter getting a goal back with less than a minute of the half gone, a ball came across and the Town centre backs didn't react and there was Tom Nichols to control the ball in the 6 yard box and slot it past Leutwiler to make it 2-1.
Town had to do some defending and work hard to keep the revitalised Exeter at bay, there were some important blocks from Town players but also some important running and closing down as they tried to ride out the Grecians pressure.
Town chances were coming though and when Demetriou broke down the left he got in behind the Exeter defence, he drove one cross across that was blocked but got a second chance and this went low and hit the far post, it curled up again for Lawrence but he couldn't connect cleanly.
Exeter picked up a booking after the impressive Matt Grimes chased down a ball that Lawrence was shielding out, the Town captain had it under control but Grimes slid in and sent Lawrence flying and picked up a yellow for his troubles.
Jean-Louis Akpa Akpro had a good chance to calm the Town nerves after his pace took him in behind the Exeter defence and in on goal, but his shot lacked the power and Hamon was there to collect.
It was still a very open game and probably too open for Micky Mellon's liking, there were chances falling to both sides as the pressure switched from goalmouth to goalmouth.
Town had another decent opening when the ball dropped to James Collins in the box, he nicked in behind his marker as he attempted to head clear and nicked the ball, he chose though to cut it back to Wesolowski but it was over hit and the chance was gone.
It was Exeter though who grabbed the next goal to level things, it was a ball into the Town defence that saw substitute Wheeler rise well to get a header in that looped in and dropped into the goal at the back post as Leutwiler back peddled.
Ref Sarginson was handed a big decision on 77 minutes when a high ball into the Town box saw Leutwiler come to collect, he had it in hands but Graham Cummins jumped into the Town keeper and after both players had received treatment it was just the yellow for the Exeter player.
Micky Mellon made his first substitution with just over 5 minutes of the game remaining with Jordan Clark onto replace Liam Lawrence.
Exeter managed to get their noses in front just as the 90 minute mark approached, it came after a cross in wasn't dealt with by the Town defence, the ball then looped back up to the back post to find Nichols who headed the ball back across the goal, Knight-Percival tried to clear the ball but it smashed into Goldson's face and back into the goal.
Town then kicked off and created a chance with Demetriou driving down the middle, he laid it to Akpa Akpro who in turn laid it to Collins, he drove a decent shot back across goal that went just wide of the far post.
The end was frenetic with Town looking to get back on level terms but Exeter would then try to hit back on the counter attack. Town had the chances with Demetriou and Collins in good positions that didn't quite come off but Exeter also had their chances.
The ref once again had a big decision to make with a quick break from Exeter saw Aaron Davies in on goal, it dropped in between him and Leutwiler with both players going for it, Leutwiler got there first to clear but Davies caught the Town keeper and picked up a yellow card.