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PREVIEW | Exiles head to table-toppers Exeter City

31 August 2017

Table-toppers Exeter City will be the next challenge for County, as Mike Flynn takes his Exiles side to St James Park on Saturday. The Grecians will be intent on securing an improvement to the 5th placed finish last campaign, that saw them lose 2-1 to Blackpool in the play-off final at Wembley.

Here, you can find all the facts and statistics ahead of this top-of-the-table clash in League 2.


Recent League and Cup form

There are four unbeaten sides left in League 2 after just four matches. Like County, Exeter City are one of them – although the Grecians are the only side to have accumulated 10 points already this season.

They started the season the fastest – scoring the first goal in the division– as Reuben Reid’s 5th minute strike secured a home victory over Cambridge United.

They followed that early start with a 2-1 Carabao Cup exit to Charlton Athletic before securing a 1-1 draw at Swindon Town.

Another 1-0 home victory swiftly followed, as Reid scored again in the success over Lincoln City.

In their last league match, the Grecians rose to the summit of League 2 after an enthralling 4-3 victory at Cheltenham Town.

Despite being 2-0 down after 12 minutes, Exeter fought back to be level at half-time through goals from Jordan Moore-Taylor and Reid.

Reid scored a penalty late in the second half before Jake Taylor made it 4-2. And despite Cheltenham making a game of it with a late reply, the Grecians held on to secure the victory.

Another cup defeat came on Tuesday, as Yeovil Town came away 3-1 winners at St James Park.


Summer signings

Manager Paul Tisdale is sticking to his traditions of bringing through youth players at the club. That means he has made just three signings, whilst letting seven leave. A further seven have also left on loan.

Striker Ryan Brunt has joined the club after being released by local rivals Plymouth Argyle, whilst centre-back Luke Croll has made his loan move from Crystal Palace permanent.

The final incoming is left-back Dean Moxey, who re-joins the club after eight years away. The 31-year old made 196 appearances in his first spell before heading to Derby County for around £300,000.

Of the outgoings, Ollie Watkins is the most notable. The 21-year-old, who scored a hat-trick at Rodney Parade on New Year’s Eve, has joined Barnsley for an undisclosed fee – reported to be around £1.8 million.

Wales u’16s and u’19s star Ethan Ampadu has also left the club to join Premiership champions Chelsea. A tribunal will be needed to decide a fee for the 16-year old, who was called up to the full Welsh side in preparation for the Serbia game in May, although didn’t make the match day team. 



The Grecians have several injury concerns ahead of our encounter.

Luke Croll will miss the game, after being stretchered off in mid-week. An X-Ray revealed he hadn’t, as originally thought, suffered a fracture in his leg, although the defender went onto social media to confirm he expects to be side-lined for two weeks.

The two other summer arrivals, Harley and Moxey, are also expected to miss the game, as neither have featured in the match day squad for several weeks following injury.

Striker Robbie Simpson may receive his first start for Exeter since suffering a broken ankle in February, only making substitute appearances in recent games, while Ryan Brunt is also closing in on a return following injury. 

The Grecians made six changes in mid-week, so it is likely Tisdale will revert back to the side that started in their last league game at Cheltenham.


Team vs Cheltenham:

Pym, Sweeney, Brown, Moore-Taylor, Woodman, Taylor, James, Tillson, Holmes, Reid, McAlinden


Team vs Yeovil (4-4-2):

Hamon, Taylor, Brown, Moore-Taylor, Croll, Sparkes, Archibald-Henville, Byrne, Holmes, Jay, Reid


One to watch – Reuben Reid

Age: 29

Position: Striker

Goals this season: 4

Previous clubs: Plymouth Argyle, Rotherham United, West Brom. Oldham Athletic, Yeovil Town 

Reid has had a great start to the season, scoring in three of the Grecians four league matches so far this campaign, including netting two at Cheltenham.

The striker is nearing his one-year anniversary at the club (13th September) and in that time, has scored 18 goals for the club.

Before his time in Devon, Reid had two permanent and two loan spells at Plymouth Argyle, scoring a combined 50 goals for the Pilgrims.

He has Championship experience with Plymouth, Peterborough and West Brom, although never played in the Premier League with the Baggies.


Manager – Paul Tisdale

Tisdale is currently the 2nd longest serving manager in the top four divisions, having been appointed as boss on 26th June 2006.

His spell in Devon comes after a spell in charge of Team Bath, the side representing the University of Bath.

He achieved four promotions, and broke a 122-year record when they became the first University team to get to the first-round proper of the FA Cup in 2002.  

At Exeter, he has overseen 575 games, winning 37.7% of those matches.

Before turning to management, Tisdale appeared for Southampton and Bristol City, before injury forced him into early retirement.


Stadium – St James Park

Due to ongoing works at the stadium, the Stagecoach Stand and Away Terrace will be shut for the entirety of the season.

Following the confirmation of special dispensation from the EFL, only 350 away supporters will be able to attend the game, all housed in the IP Office Stand.

The redevelopment work means the current capacity of St James Park is 6,087 – down from 8,541.


Previous meetings

The two sides have met on a remarkable 118 occasions, the first of those coming in 1920 with a 1-0 County victory. 

County currently have the superior record with 43 wins, 34 draws and 41 defeats.

However, of those meetings, only eight have occurred since the Exiles reformation in 1989.

Four of those games have come at Rodney Parade and the other four at St James Park.

Of the Exiles away trips, they have won twice, drawn once, and lost once.

The first of those victories came on 21st September 2013, as goals from Conor Washington and Harry Worley secured a 2-0 victory.

The other victory came last season, as a solitary Tom Owen-Evans strike kept the momentum building in County’s ‘Great Escape.’



Referee: John Brooks

Assistant referee 1: Timothy Wood  

Assistant referee 2: Adrian Tranter

Fourth official: Adam Bromley 

Brooks is in his second season as a Football League referee. In his first season, Brooks refereed 38 games, producing 149 yellows. He also brandished 10 red cards, of which six were straight reds.

So far this season, Brooks has refereed five matches, with 12 yellows and one red given out.


County connection

Brooks refereed County twice last season – with both games ending in a draw.

The first game came in the 1-1 home draw with Crewe Alexandra. Five yellow cards were given – Joss Labadie, Darren Jones and Dan Butler booked for County.

The second game came in the 0-0 FA Cup draw at Plymouth Argyle. Sean Rigg was shown a straight red card, while Jazzi Barnum-Bobb, Scot Bennett and Dan Butler were also booked.


Other League 2 fixtures that day (all 3pm kick-offs)

Cambridge United vs Colchester United

Carlisle United vs Mansfield Town

Cheltenham Town vs Stevenage

Chesterfield vs Coventry City

Crawley Town vs Yeovil Town

Grimsby Town vs Crewe

Lincoln City vs Luton Town

Morecambe vs Accrington Stanley

Port Vale vs Notts County

Swindon Town vs Barnet

Wycombe Wanderers vs Forest Green Rovers

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