MATCH REPORT: NEWTON ABBOT SPURS 3-3 EXMOUTH TOWN (3-4 ON PENALTIES)

Exmouth Town secured their place in the next round of the ST Luke’s Bowl as they beat Newton Abbot Spurs 4-3 in a penalty shootout, as a late fightback from the away side left the scores at 3-3.

A fantastic first half for Spurs put them into a 3-1 lead, with Dan Cullen heading home for Town, before Jordan Harris’ 100th and 101st Exmouth Town goals took the game to a penalty shootout.

Four of the five Exmouth players converted, with Ben Steer scoring the winning penalty.

The home side started the game on the front foot, and after just five minutes they struck the Exmouth post as Gav Collins rushed into the box from a short corner and curled a shot onto the Town woodwork.

Town struggled to get going in the opening exchanges, and eventually Newton Abbot took the lead after 19 minutes, as they broke from an Exmouth corner and a Collins through ball was played into the path of Owen Green who finished well.

It took Green four minutes to double his tally, as Pullman played in Green who broke through the Town defence and slotted past Robert Powell.

Attacks were few and far between for the away side in the first half, but that did not stop them looking dangerous on the break, as only a last-ditch block prevented Dean Billingsley’s pass from going into the path of Harry Walford just yards away from the Spurs goal.

Green turned provider after 37 minutes, as his unintentional flick fell right into the path of Collins who powered home from close range to send his side 3-1 up going into the break.

It was almost four just before half time, as only a superb Powell save denied Green a hat-trick.

The first 30 minutes of the second half told a similar story, as Exmouth applied pressure but still looked vulnerable to the Newton Abbot counterattack.

Harvey Dorathy looked energetic down the flanks for Town, but his cross after 68 minutes was excellently dealt with by Lewis Breslan, who prevented Jordan Harris from getting a touch.

Harris wouldn’t be deterred and got his side back into the game as he got on the end of a superb Max Gillard ball and finished past Adam Feaver to give Town hope.

It felt as if that would be it for the away side, as Spurs held firm amid the pressure Exmouth were putting them under.

However, in the last minute, Ben Steer was brought down in the box to give Harris the ultimate chance to send the game to penalties, which he duly converted.

Powell saved Spurs’ first penalty, but was adjudged to be off his line, and they scored on their second try, but Gillard levelled the shootout up.

In a battle between the braces, Green fired his penalty over and Harris repeated his heroics to put Town 2-1 ahead.

Lloyd Gardner scored for Spurs, and Callum Shipton’s effort was saved by Feaver to take the shootout to 2-2.

Jaden Bond struck the bar from the spot, and young Josh Bissett showed an incredible amount of composure as his stutter-then-shoot penalty sent Feaver the wrong way.

Sam Hancox scored his penalty to keep Spurs in it, but it did not matter as Ben Steer fired home to send Exmouth through to the next round of the ST Luke’s Bowl.

LINE-UP: Powell, Gillard, Riddell (Harris, 64), Walford, Rowe (Denny, 56), Cullen, Dorathy (Bissett, 72), Shipton, Casey, Billingsley, Steer. Subs not used: Landricombe, Hill.

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