City open pre-season campaign with Grecians defeat

City’s preparations for the 2019-20 season began at Twerton Park this evening with a 3-0 defeat against Exeter City. All three goals came in the first half as the League 2 side’s quality shone through. With just four minutes on the clock a long pass forward from Martin was superbly brought down by Bowman before he lifted a shot over Ryan Clarke. City were struggling to contain the visitors pace and movement, though when they gained possession there were signs of the passing game manager Jerry Gill has instilled in the side. One such move saw Tom Smith drag a shot wide but Exeter then struck twice in as many minutes just before the half-hour mark. First Collins curled a great shot into the top corner after City had initially blocked a Martin effort, then Bowman netted his second of the game with a spectacular overhead kick. Tyler Harvey fired a free-kick narrowly over the bar on 42 minutes but City could have few complaints at the three-goal half-time deficit. The interval saw City make ten changes, with just Exeter loanee Alex Hartridge remaining on the pitch. The Grecians soon followed suit with numerous changes but they continued to enjoy the majority of possession and deny City any clear sights of goal, although Tom Richards did send one shot into the side-netting after a quickly taken free-kick. Harvey Wiles-Richards produced a couple of good blocks to deny Exeter any further goals but it was a comfortable victory for the Devon side.