Argyle 1 – 0 Exeter
Cole 7, Blanchard 7, Wotton 8, Branston 8, Bhasera 7, Gurrieri 7 (Cowan-Hall 6), Hourihane 9, Cox 7 (Young 7), Bryan 8, Banton 7 (Murray 6), Reid 8.
Subs not used: Gilmartin, Nelson, Harvey, Chadwick.
Whatever you want to call it – The Devon Derby, The A38 Big One or the Devon Expressway Derby – Argyle won it!
On-loan Crystal Palace winger Jason Banton was the difference between the two teams, scoring his sixth goal in 11 games.
The one nil scoreline doesn’t do the full story any justice because the Greens won the game with ease and were rarely troubled by an Exeter team that had won 11 games on the road before today.
Argyle boss John Sheridan kept faith with the team that finished the game in the win against Southend while fit-again defender Curtis Nelson was included on the bench.
With the biggest League Two attendance of the season and a derby match this was always going to be an anxious affair and so it proved during the early stages.
For the first 30 minutes it seemed that Argyle were playing against 12 men with the red-shirted referee Darren Drysdale giving everything to our inferior Devon neighbours, in fact one of the biggest cheers during the early stages of the first half was for when the ref finally gave a free-kick to the men in Green!
Exeter had the better of the early exchanges but slowly Hourihane and Cox grabbed hold of the midfield and made former Argyle loanee Mark Molesley look very ordinary.
Bryan saw a lot of the ball on the left and combined well with Bhasera while on the right side Blanchard was reluctant to get forward and support Gurrieri and preferred to hold his position.
Chances were at a premium and with the game heading towards half-time Banton picked up a loose ball on the edge of the area and sent a bouncing shot towards goal, the ball hit the post and bounced over the line, 1-0 to the Greens and Home Park erupted!
With half time just seconds away it was the perfect time to score.
The injured Cox was replaced by Young at the start of the second half as Argyle sat tight to combat the expected early pressure from Exeter, except there wasn’t any pressure!
Argyle controlled long periods of the second half against a poor Exeter team; you wouldn’t think they had won 11 games away from Sid James Park this season.
I suppose the team felt let down by their fans who barely whispered a word of support during the game.
Contrast that with the loud vocal backing the Argyle team received from the Green Army throughout the game.
Banton had a great chance to bury the not so noisy neighbours but snatched at his shot and was soon replaced because of a groin injury.
There were no real scares, the Exeter lot just couldn’t get past Wotton and Branston and we ended up deserved winners.
Hourihane had his best game in an Argyle shirt – breaking up play, tackling, passing – he had it all today.
Reid ran and ran and ran and his effort was appreciated by the crowd.
Cole had two regulation saves to make and other than that he probably picked up an early sun tan.
What a find Bryan is, he never gives the ball away, he battles, he passes and crosses well and I’d like to see him playing for us next season in L2.
The Wotton and Branston partnership have now supplied three clean sheets in the four games they have played together, conceding just one goal, surely that’s the centre-back team for the rest of the season?
What a great win!
Well played, the perfect team performance.
Man of the Match: Hourihane.
Jason And The Argylenauts Win Devon Derby
Argyle 1 – 0 Exeter