Ruthless Grecians show no mercy with their devastating end product
LONG-RANGE screamers, delightful chips, scintillating counter-attacking team goals and instinctive 35-yard half volleys. It seems Exeter City are holding their very own goal-of-the season competition this campaign.
Having already scored some goals of real high quality already this season, the Grecians threw a couple more into the mix from their stunning 4-0 League Two win at Scunthorpe United.
Just seven days after a flat and hugely off-key Exeter side were turned over on their home patch by Hartlepool United, the Grecians responded in emphatic style at Glanford Park and recorded their biggest away winning margin since a 5-1 win at Stafford Rangers in November, 2007.
However, the victory was by no means as comfortable as the scoreline suggests. In fact, Scunthorpe were hugely impressive, but contributed to their own downfall with some woeful finishing.
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They were also up against an inspired Artur Krysiak in the Grecians' goal, a defence that were in no mood to offer charity and a side that attacked with a ruthless, devastating and awe-inspiring end product.
Liam Sercombe got the Grecians up and running ten minutes before half-time. Alan Gow's clever lofted pass was delightfully flicked into the path of Sercombe by John O'Flynn, and the Exeter midfielder took a touch before rifling the ball into the bottom corner from 18 yards.
The goal of the game, though, belonged to Arron Davies three minutes after half-time. There was absolutely no sign of what was about to come when Exeter had a throw-in mid-way inside the opposition half. Davies received the ball with his back to goal, allowed it to bounce before swivelling and smashing an unstoppable half-volley that looped high into the air, over the head of Sam Slocombe and in off the far post. No wonder Sky Sports had it as their goal of the day, and even the Football League Show waxed lyrical about its brilliance in the early hours of Sunday morning.
Sercombe added his second goal of the game within a minute of Davies' strike. It was a typical Exeter counter-attack, led by Sercombe, who released Gow, who became a father for the first time last Tuesday. He advanced into the right edge of the penalty box and returned the ball to his team-mate to side-foot first time into the opposite corner.
Three goals of high quality, and even the fourth had a touch of class about it, even if it was scored from a yard. Substitute Matt Grimes tried his luck from distance and Slocombe spilled the ball. Fellow substitute Sam Parkin reacted quickly and deftly flicked the ball up over Slocombe before tapping it into the net. Simple stuff, but oh so classy.
However, even the most ardent Exeter fan will have had some sympathy for the Iron. They went into the game having lost once all season and with only two goals conceded on home turf. This was by no means going to be easy and they showed just what a good side they are with a desire to never give in.
They should be hugely applauded for the way they responded at 3-0 down and, to be fair to the home crowd, it did not go unnoticed as they applauded their team off.
The home side dominated possession and created so many chances. In fact, the whole outcome of the game could have been so different had David Syers not had a goal disallowed prior to Sercombe's opener. Krysiak came for a cross and dropped it after an unintentional clash of heads with Deon Burton. Syers cleaned up, but the assistant referee had already flagged for the foul on Krysiak.
City duly took advantage with Sercombe's opener and you always felt the second goal would be vital. It went Exeter's way, quickly followed by the third. City were content to defend, but looked threatening on the counter-attack.
Matt Gill was also reintroduced to Park life and soon found his niche in the Grecians' midfield. In fact, so seamless was his introduction, it was as though he had never been away.
When results elsewhere came in, the Grecians were level on points with leaders Chesterfield and only two goals worse off in third. Rochdale are second, with Oxford United a point behind in fourth. It sets up the Grecians nicely for their trip to the Kassam tomorrow.