Match report: City 1 Forest Green Rovers 0

A first-half strike from Ryan Bowman proved the difference as Exeter City beat Forest Green Rovers 1-0 at St James Park on Saturday.

Grecians’ boss Matt Taylor made two changes to the starting XI for the fixture, with Jonny Maxted making his league debut for City, while Aaron Martin also came in for Dean Moxey, who dropped to the bench.

City started brightly and, after an intense opening two minutes of pressing, narrowly missed out on reaping immediate rewards as Aaron Martin headed just wide from a corner. A superb piece of skill from Ryan Bowman then set up an incisive attack through Lee Martin, but his eventual cross was blocked having cut inside.

But City were rewarded for their bright start with 11 minutes on the clock – Jack Sparkes drove down the left-hand side, and somehow kept the ball in play under immense pressure, and delivered a superb cross that Ryan Bowman directed home for his fifth league goal of the season.

Bowman’s ferocity nearly earned City a second as he won the ball on the right-hand side, and crossed for Nicky Law – but the latter’s mishit effort rolled just wide of Lewis Thomas’ goal.

The visitors grew into the game after the initial onslaught City had provided on their goal, and Jack Aitchison was the first to test Jonny Maxted with a low driven shot, but Maxted was equal to it and held on to the ball well. An incisive attack down City’s left-hand side nearly produced a chance for the visitors, but Aaron Martin anticipated and slid in late to make a superb block.

City were nearly gifted a second goal after 37 minutes as Nicky Law won the ball off the last Rovers man, but his improvised chip from distance landed well over the visitors’ goal. A harsh decision given against Lee Martin – for a foul on Farrend Rawson – then stopped another dangerous City attack.

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