The Peacocks conceded a late winner following a well-contested friendly in which the home side more than matched their League One visitors. Neither side were able to gain the upper hand during a goalless first half before the Grecians grabbed the lead with just under 15 minutes remaining and although Town quickly equalised, it was City who came out on top courtesy of two goal Tim Dieng.
A warm summer’s evening at the Cygnet Health Care Stadium saw both sides parade large squads to give players some match time before their respective league campaigns begin in earnest. The home side saw more of what little goalmouth action there was in the early stages but there were no chances of note. City keeper safely held Zac Smith’s curling cross while Joe Budd’s drive from the right was cleared as Nick McCootie threatened to pounce. A surging run from McCootie then took him clear but unfortunately, he was unable to pick out Budd in the middle with a clean pass.
The opening half continued with both the Peacocks and City comfortable in possession but with defences generally in control opportunities remained limited although a rare slip put Josh Key in space who fired into the side netting for the visitors. Jack Sparkes had two attempts for the Grecians as the half drew to a close, firstly flashing a ball across the face of goal from the left following a short corner and then prodding over from Aamir Daniel’s cross to leave it scoreless at the break.
The visitors made wholesale changes for the second half, bringing on eight new players while the Peacocks introduced Will Tunnicliff and Freddie Hinds. Chances continued to be scarce though. Jay Foulston’s free kick from the right just missed the incoming Budd on the far post for Town while the Grecians began to look stronger going forward but failed to test either Will Buse or Lloyd Irish who swapped midway through the half. Jake Caprice’s cross was directed wide by Nelson Iseguan while the tricky Caprice delivered another ball in from the right for 2nd half skipper Tim Dieng to hook over the top.
With it looking ever more likely that it would be a blank evening on the goal front, Dieng decided otherwise after 76 minutes, curling a beauty of a free kick from 25 yards over the wall and into the far corner after he himself had been felled. The Peacocks though responded two minutes later. Ollie Chamberlain, making a welcome return to proceedings, battled past a couple of challenges to fire in a left-footer from just outside the area and when Lee could only parry the shot, Harry Warwick reacted to slide home the equaliser.
Jevani Brown and Tunnicliff traded efforts at either end without finding the target before Exeter snatched the winning goal on 87 minutes, an effective move ending with Iseguan’s cross from the left being steered home by Dieng. Chamberlain’s strike from distance was eventually clutched by Lee above his head at the second attempt, the final effort in a game which proved a very good work-out for the Peacocks against a side three levels higher.
Taunton: Will Buse (Lloyd Irish 66), Joe Budd (Ollie Chamberlain 71), Jay Foulston, Nick Grimes (captain) (Ioan Richards 61), Dan Ball, Jake Wannell (Will Tunnicliff 45), Lloyd James (Ross Staley 77), Joe Guest, Zac Smith, Jared Lewington (Harry Warwick 61), Nick McCootie (Freddie Hinds 45). Unused subs: Ross Stearn, Conor Hartley, Lewis Smith, Eli Collins
Exeter 1st Half: Harry Lee, Harrison King (Aamir Daniels, 30) Alfie Pond, Jonathan Grounds, Josh Key, Harry Kite, Archie Collins, Pedro Borges, Jack Sparkes, Alfie Clark, Matt Jay (captain)
Exeter 2nd Half: Harry Lee, Harry Kite (Aamir Daniels, 61), Cheick Diabate, Alex Hartridge, Jake Caprice, Gabriel Billington, Pedro Borges (Harrison King, 61), Tim Dieng, Nelson Iseguan, Jevani Brown, Josh Coley
Referee: Carl Peters (Bridgwater)
Referee’s Assistant 1: Jordan Lee (Taunton)
Referee’s Assistant 2: Matt Eva (North Petherton)
“There were loads of good markers for us, I thought our levels looked really good after just two games….” watch Rob Dray’s Match Reaction on Peacocks TV HERE
Match highlights can be seen on Peacocks TV HERE