Ten-man Exeter City stun sorry Stevenage
- Credit: Archant
Two goals in two minutes saw 10-man Exeter City stun Stevenage as Darren Sarll’s men left the field with boos ringing in their ears.
Captain Jordan Moore-Taylor was given his marching orders with just over 20 minutes on the clock for a foul on Tom Pett with the winger through on goal, but rather than struggle under pressure Exeter put in a composed performance to take all three points thanks to Lee Holmes and Ollie Watkins.
There were boos at the final whistle from Stevenage’s fans, but some had shown their dissatisfaction even earlier in a match in which Boro just didn’t get going.
Home supporters were far from pleased with Sarll’s third substitution, which came at 2-0 down, as he looked to find a way back into the match with just over 10 minutes remaining.
Having already tried to get his team going with the introduction of both midfielder Ben Kennedy and forward Harry McKirdy, Sarll then opted for right-back Ronnie Henry as his final change rather than a midfielder or striker Rowan Liburd.
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He wanted to push Charlie Lee into midfield and Jack King from midfield to a central striker position in a bid to make the most of his height, but in doing so Henry replaced young Nottingham Forest starlet Tyler Walker and the fans weren’t impressed with replacing a striker with a defender.
Sarll said afterwards that his side needed a shock and that Walker’s luck hadn’t been in during the game, but neither had Boro’s all afternoon and Exeter, second bottom before this game, travelled back home with three points and plenty of tired legs.
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Stevenage had 20 or so chances at goal, but ironically what should have been their best opportunity to score was the one which left their opponents a man short.
Pett, playing centrally in the absence of Matt Godden (calf injury), got in behind the Exeter defence only for Moore-Taylor to drag him down 20 yards from goal. He was shown red and Boro’s free-kick was deflected wide.
Exeter sat back, packed bodies into the centre of the pitch and forced Boro wide.
Stevenage lacked a real urgency, and as they failed to make their superior numbers count Exeter began to play with less caution.
This was to prove fruitful with just 20 minutes to go when Boro’s defence fell asleep and substitute Holmes touched the ball inside past Luke Wilkinson before dinking it over Jamie Jones.
Stevenage and their fans were shocked, but they were feeling even worse under two minutes later when the visitors scored again, this time Watkins firing home with the outside of the boot just inside the Stevenage area.
The crossing did improve upon Henry’s introduction, but a few headers were glanced wide while Bobby Olejnik saved from Charlie Lee.
Darren Sarll was fuming after the game. He described this as the worst during his time in charge, and it’s a summary that is hard to argue with.