Exeter City kicked-off their EFL Trophy campaign with a hard fought win in a goal fest at St James Park as they beat Forest Green Rovers 3-2 with goals from Nicky Ajose, Matt Jay and Josh Key.
After a cagey early start where both teams looked to find their feet, Forest Green Rovers would take the lead with the first real chance of the match. Good defending from Jack Sparkes gave the Green Devils a corner which was swung in, Kitching flicked the ball on and Stevens was on the spot to nod home from close range.
The goal gave the visitors early confidence and they would soon go close again through Allen, who picked up the ball 25-yards from goal, but his shot would sail not trouble Maxted and sailed over the bar.
On 19 minutes Covil received a warning for Forest Green Rovers after he went diving into a strong challenge on Matt Jay, winning the ball but the ref wasn’t happy with the force behind the challenge.
City’s first chance of note came in the 21st minute as Jack Sparkes found space down the left to drive in a cross towards Ryan Bowman, Thomas in the Rovers goal punched clear, but City recycled the danger through Matt Jay, his dangerous low cross was cleared.
Forest Green Rovers would almost double their lead on 28 minutes as a cross was sent from the left and Stevens nipped in front of his marker to send a volley just over the bar.
City showed promising signs of an equaliser after half hour, with Jack Sparkes doing well to win the ball, Nicky Ajose was quickest to react and sent a ball through to MJ who tried to turn his man and shoot but it was well blocked. The ball fell to Harry Kite 25-yards out and his shot was high of the goal.
The Grecians should have been level on 36 minutes as Nicky Ajose found space down the right to send in a pinpoint cross to Ryan Bowman, who missed his kick in front of goal.
Down the other end a long ball got through to the dangerous Stevens who managed to twist and turn before firing well wide of the Grecians goal.
City would level the scoring on the stroke of half-time as Matt Jay shot in the box took a massive deflection off Nicky Ajose to make it 1-1 at the break.
for the complete match report click HERE