Last gasp City take Devon derby honours
Daniel Nardiello`s cool finish deep into stoppage time gave Exeter City victory over arch rivals Plymouth Argyle in a dramatic night at Home Park in the Johnstone`s Paint Trophy.
Ryan Harley had given City the perfect start with a goal as early as the second minute but Argyle equalised in bizarre fashion on the hour with Chris Clark beating a stranded Artur Krysiak from 40 yards.
The game seemed to be heading for a penalty shoot-out before Nardiello struck to send the travelling support into raptures.
Following an electric pre match atmosphere the game sparked into life immediately. Richard Logan neatly controlled a difficult pass on the edge of the box before rolling the ball into the path of Ryan Harley who fired a low left foot shot past Argyle keeper Romain Larrieu to give the Grecian`s the perfect start.
A shell shocked argyle could fallen further behind on 14 minutes when Harley made space for himself again but this time Larrieu was equal to the task making a smart low save.
The hosts first attempt came through Onismore Bhasera, the full back broke with pace down the left before cutting inside and unleashing a dangerous shot that took a deflection off the covering Richard Duffy before whistling past Krysiak`s right hand post.
This seemed to wake Argyle up as a succession of dangerous crosses and corners rained down on the Grecians penalty area.
But City defended strongly clearing their lines clinically and keeping the prolific Bradley Wright-Phillips quiet in the process.
Troy Archibald-Henville almost doubled City`s lead but his thumping header form a corner came crashing back off the cross bar as the sides headed for half time with Exeter looking good value for their slender advantage.
On the hour mark the game took a dramatic twist, Krysiak came tearing out of goal and naively opted to clear the ball down the centre of the pitch where Clark controlled and took aim from 40 yards, his goal bound shot appeared to covered by Duffy protecting the goal line but a desperate recovering Krysiak palmed the ball wide of his team mate into the net to sent the home support delirious.
The set back didn`t deter City though, they continued to pass the ball neatly and construct threatening attacks.
Harley was influential again, playing in Jamie Cureton who fired wide when well placed.
First Logan and then Liam Sercombe saw goal bound strike`s blocked as City pushed hard to regain the lead.
Both managers opted to make changes in attack as the increasingly open game entered its final stages. Joe Mason came on for Argyle while Paul Tisdale opted for Nardiello to replace the hard working Cureton.
raig Noone almost completed the turn around for Argyle but his goal bound effort was kept out by a strong hand from Krysiak.
With a penalty shoot-out just seconds away Logan punished Bhasera for a loose pass in the middle of the pitch with a well timed tackle.
City broke with intent as Logan himself carried the ball deep into enemy territory before releasing Nardiello to his right who confused defender Bondz N`gala with several neat touches before applying a classy finish across Larrieu into the furthest reaches into the bottom corner.
There was barely time for Argyle to kick-off as the first Devon derby for 8 years went the way of the Grecian`s much to the delight of the 1,800 that had made the trip down the A38.