Writer: Kithson Bain
Date:Wednesday December 15 2010
The Memorial Ground
Exeter City twice came from behind before defeating Bristol Rovers in a penalty shootout to book their place in the Johnstone`s Paint southern section final.
Byron Anthony`s own goal wiped out Will Hoskins stunning opener.
Ben Swallow`s strike a little over ten minutes from time had Rovers heading through but Ryan Harley`s composed finish shortly before full-time took the game to penalties.
After six successful spot kicks Anthony`s miserable night continued as he saw his effort saved by Artur Krysiak giving Richard Duffy the chance to win the match and the defender duly converted.
With both sides coming off the back of disappointing league results early nerves were understandable and both sides struggled to settle.
Rovers created most of the early chances with Krysiak making several stops to keep the score sheet blank.
Hoskins struck the first decisive blow of the night, cleverly shaking off two defenders before cracking his 20 yard effort in off the bar to put Rovers in front.
This sparked City into life, Liam Sercombe twice saw long range efforts deflected wide and Jamie Cureton shot straight at Mikkel Anderson.
City almost gifted Rovers a second goal before half time when a mix-up between Matt Taylor and Troy Archibald-Henville sent Hoskins clear, only a superb covering tackle from Duffy prevented his path to goal meaning that City only trailed by one at the break.
Archibald-Henville went close with a header just 2 minutes into the second half as City seeked an improvement on their patchy first half display.
A defensive slip provided City`s best opportunity to draw level but when gifted an opening Richard Logan made a mess of his chance, opting to try and round Anderson in goal he showed too much of the ball to the keeper and the chance went begging.
David Noble replaced James Dunne, a change that paid dividends just after the hour mark when Noble`s exquisite touch allowed Scott Golbourne to drill in a low cross that Anthony could only divert into his own net.
With a potential penalty shootout in mind Billy Jones came on for Archibald-Henville.
Parity lasted just six minutes though before Rovers went in front again. Swallow sweeping home Hoskins cut back giving Krysiak no chance.
City threw Nardiello on in an attempt to salvage something from the game and salvage something they did.
In the final minute of normal time Taylor, acting as an extra forward flicked a long ball to Cureton who neatly played in Harley, the midfielder showed a cool head to slot the ball low to the keepers right much to the delight of the 800 strong Grecian support behind the goal.
City had a chance to win it in stoppage time but Anderson thwarted Logan`s close range effort and the match went to penalties.
Harley, Jones and Nardiello all coolly converted their spot kicks as did the first three Rovers takers. Krysiak then flung himself to his right to save Anthony`s effort.
Noble then scored for City and Eliot Richards converted Rovers fifth kick leaving Duffy with the chance to win it. The Welshman struck an excellent penalty to the right of the keeper into the furthest reaches of the corner to spark wild celebrations from all in red and white.
It`s City`s fourth away win in the competition and only Brentford now stand between them and a trip to Wembley.
City: Krysiak, Duffy, Taylor, Archibald-Henville (B Jones), Tully, Golbourne (Nardiello), Sercombe, Dunne (Noble), Harley, Logan, Cureton,
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Date:Wednesday December 15 2010
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