Steve Harris – @steveharris84
Steve previews the friendly
TORQUAY UNITED V EXETER CITY
Venue: Plainmoor, Torquay
Date: Saturday 23rd July 2022
EXETER CITY FACTFILE
Year founded: 1901
Nickname: The Grecians
Last season’s league finish: 2nd in League Two
Division Three champions: 1989-90
MANAGER: MATT TAYLOR
Matt Taylor was appointed manager of Exeter City on June 1, 2018, following the departure of long-serving boss Paul Tisdale. His first season in charge of the Grecians saw them finish ninth in Sky Bet League Two. This was followed by an appearance in the League Two play-off final where they lost to Northampton Town in the 2019-20 campaign. Two years later, he guided Exeter to promotion from League Two as runners-up.
Matt made more than 150 appearances for the Grecians as a player and helped them win to back-to-back promotions from the Football Conference to League One under Tisdale before going on to play for Charlton Athletic and Cheltenham Town, whilst with the latter he served under Gary Johnson.
Matt started his playing career off at non-league Burscough as a goalkeeper and helped the Linnets to an FA Trophy win over Tamworth in the 2002-03 season. He spent a number of years at non-league level, before joining Exeter from Team Bath in 2007.
Matt returned to Exeter in the autumn of 2016 as a defensive coach before he became manager of the club’s Under-23 side.
PLAYER TO WATCH: MATT JAY
Grecians club captain Matt Jay is a product of the club’s hugely successful youth policy and made his first team debut in the Football League Trophy against Wycombe Wanderers in 2013 at the age of 17.
The striker enjoyed two successful loan spells at Hayes & Yeading and Truro City before breaking into the Grecians’ first team. His first goal for the club came in the EFL Trophy in August 2016 against Oxford United at the Kassam Stadium.
Matt continued his development as he netted his first league goal against Cambridge United in the 2017-18 season, and he went on to net 20 and 16 goals in all competitions respectively in the 2020-21 & 2021-22 seasons. He was also named in the PFA League Two teams of the season for the in 2020-21 & 2021-22 campaigns.
Torquay: Dean Moxey
PREVIOUS LEAGUE HEAD TO HEAD
Exeter City 1-2 Torquay United
21st April 2014
Torquay extended their stay in the Football League for at least one more game as they beat Devon rivals Exeter.
Tom Nicholls punished a defensive error by slipping a perfect ball to Scot Bennett, who side footed home to put Exeter, who are not safe yet, in front.
But the Gulls equalised when Courtney Cameron floated a free-kick into the top corner from 20 yards out.
And Ashley Yeoman pounced on Anthony O’Connor’s through ball and slotted it past Christy Pym to seal the win.
With Bristol Rovers, Northampton and Wycombe all losing, Torquay closed the gap on them to five points, but only had six left to play for in their two remaining games.
The Gulls started the brighter as Shaquille Coulthirst had a shot deflected over the bar after just three minutes, and Anthony O’Connor glanced a header just wide from a Cameron dead-ball kick before Elliot Benyon shot over from 18 yards.
Exeter went in front when Anthony O’Connor’s mistake let in Nicholls down the left-hand side, with the youngster reaching the byeline and pulling the ball back to Bennett who calmly stroked it home for his sixth goal of the season.
Benyon should have equalised five minutes later, but he headed wide after some good work down the left flank led to Nathan Craig floating a perfect cross to the far post.
The Gulls turned it around after the break, however, as they scored twice in three minutes to stave off relegation for at least a few more days.
Cameron got his first goal for the club and with tails up, Torquay got the winner three minutes later as Yeoman latched on to a long ball from O’Connor, beat Jordan Moore-Taylor for pace and slotted it past the on-rushing Pym.
City had numerous chances to equalise in the final few minutes as Torquay desperately clung on.
GOALKEEPERS: Mark Halstead, Rhys Lovett
DEFENCE: Dylan Crowe, Ross Marshall, Dan Martin, Dean Moxey, Ali Omar, Ollie Tomlinson
MIDFIELD: Shaun Donnellan, Kieron Evans, Asa Hall, Ryan Hanson, Tom Lapslie, Brett McGavin, Alex Moyse, Gabby Rogers, Jack Winsor
STRIKERS: Corie Andrews, Lewis Brooks, Olaf Koszela, Aaron Jarvis, Will Goodwin