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Match Reports

Report: Exeter City 1-0 Stevenage

6 April 2024

Jim Steele
Match Reports

Report: Exeter City 1-0 Stevenage

6 April 2024

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Defeat in Devon…

Back on the touchline after his suspension, Steve Evans named two changes from the eleven that earned a goalless draw at Charlton Athletic on Easter Monday. The Gaffer opted to begin with wingbacks in a defensive five, with Kane Smith coming in for Finley Burns. Louis Thompson started in place of Nesta Guinness-Walker in the midfield fronted by Jamie Reid and Vadaine Oliver up top.

Within the first ten minutes, it would be Stevenage with the first effort on target of the game. Early pressure from the visitors lead to a succession of crosses into the Exeter box, who dealt with them shrewdly before Louis Thompson’s effort was blocked from twenty yards out.

Boro’ continued to press high, with Jamie Reid finding space down the right by beating his man with pace, before his low cross was awkwardly cleared behind by Pierce Sweeney.

On the twenty-minute mark, Steve Evans was forced into his first change of the game, with Luther James-Wildin hobbling off to be replaced by Nathan Thompson.

Five minutes later, Stevenage should have taken the lead. Vadaine Oliver’s knock down found Kane Smith with the ball at feet, who took the ball into the box to set up Alex MacDonald. From just inside the area, his effort was well-saved by the feet of Sinisalo by the Boro’ number seven would think he could have done better.

As Exeter City grew into the game, they would see more of the ball deeper into the Stevenage half. Reece Cole gave Steve Evans’ a warning sign with ten minutes left to play in the half, dragging his effort wide from the edge of the box.

Two minutes later, it would be that same Exeter player to give the hosts the lead. Sonny Cox closed down Taye Ashby-Hammond with the ball at feet, which ricocheted into the path of Reece Cole who slotted into an empty net. A frustrating goal to giveaway as Stevenage went in behind at the break.

Steve Evans kept the same eleven to begin at the restart but was forced into another change as Nick Freeman replaced the injured Alex MacDonald five minutes into the second half.

Minutes later, another golden opportunity fell to Stevenage and this time Jamie Reid, who was picked out perfectly from a Dan Butler cross, only for Viljami Sinisalo to be equal to his right footed effort from close range.

Guinness-Walker, Ben Thompson and Kane Hemmings were introduced just before the hour mark as Stevenage continued to work out a way to get back into this tie.

Ten minutes later, Jamie Reid had another good opportunity to level the score, glancing his header just wide of the post from Dan Butler’s deep cross.

The flow to the game began to break up with the plethora of changes from both sides plus Exeter taking their time where possible. The hosts could count themselves lucky wigth twenty to play as Nesta Guinness-Walker got the better of Reece Cole in a 50/50 tackle, only for the Exeter goal scorer to raise his arm to the back of Nesta’s head off the ball.

Uproar from the Stevenage technical area and rightly so, but somehow it was kitman Keith Bell who earned the reprimand with a yellow card.

Stevenage continued to push for that all-important next goal in the game, and came close when Kane Smith had the ball at feet in an advanced area of the pitch, but his low cross somehow evaded everyone inside the Exeter box.

Two minutes after the fourth official signalled seven more minutes to be played, Jamie Reid tried his luck from distance but fired into Exeter terrace behind the goal.

Carl Piergianni could only head wide from Nick Freeman's corner deep into stoppage time, as time eventually ran out for Stevenage.

Defeat on the road with four to play. Barnsley at home on Tuesday next.

Att: 6,314 inc 184 away.

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