City out of relegation zone after home win

Big Bank (image courtesy: Exeter City FC)

Match Report: Exeter City 2-1 Carlisle United

A much-improved Exeter City side came out on top at home against joint relegation zone strugglers Carlisle United thanks to second half goals from Exeter’s Reece Cole and Sonny Cox.

The Grecians were dominant early on and looking physically stronger and much more confident after his recall from a loan spell at sixth tier Yeovil Town. City’s new loan signing Luke Harris had two good opportunities to bag a debut goal, but saw one effort smothered from close range by Carlisle United goalkeeper Gabriel Breeze, and the other flash just wide of his left-hand post. 

Carlisle could have scored against the run of play when City midfielder Tom Carrol slipped in possession on the edge of his own penalty area, but Striker Sean Maguire’s touch was too heavy and Exeter’s goalkeeper Vils Sinisalo came off his line to clear the ball and nullify any threat.

Buoyed by their uncharacteristically good first half, City started the second half in a similar fashion, and were ahead within ten minutes. City captain Pierce Sweeny found the debutant Harris, whose positive runs had occupied the Carlisle back four all game. His sharp ball into the near post from a tight angle on the right was blocked by Breeze, but the rebound fell loose in the box and Reece Cole slotted home calmly from 10 yards out for just his second goal for City.

Cole could have doubled his tally for the afternoon a few moments later when a shot from distance skidded off the damp turf and bounced awkwardly in front of the Carlisle goal, but Breeze parried the ball over the bar for a corner. 

The Exeter lead was doubled on 77 minutes as Sonny Cox got a deserved goal, tapping into a virtually empty net after the equally impressive Jack Aitchison dragged a low shot from just outside the box through the legs of multiple Carlisle bodies and onto the post. Breeze was left on the floor and his goal was open for Cox from the rebound. 

City began to sit deeper as 90 minutes came closer, as is natural for a team with a two-goal cushion, and United gave the Exeter backline a few scares. Luke Armstrong made a passable impression of fellow long-haired striker Erling Haaland with a flying acrobatic effort off of the outside of his right boot which came off the inside of the post and straight into Sinisalo’s midriff.  

Carlisle did get their goal, substitute Dan Butterworth sending a brilliantly executed low volley into the bottom left corner of the goal after from a set-piece, but Exeter hung on to gain just a second win in 17 and climb out of the relegation places.

Full time Exeter 2-1 Carlisle United.


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