Exmouth Town battled back from going behind to earn a solid point at the Circle of Care Community Stadium, as they drew 1-1 with Bristol Manor Farm in the Southern League Division One South.

Owen Howe, who scored twice against Town in their previous meeting, opened the scoring in the first half, but the hosts were rewarded for their efforts in the second half, as Mark Lever headed home a Ben Steer free-kick.

It was a competitive game, with both sides going close to taking all three points on multiple occasions, but a point was probably a fair result. 

The away side started the game stronger, as Jake Gosling picked out the run of Owen Howe, but an important Dave Rowe challenge prevented the striker going through on goal.

Jayden Nielsen had a half-chance to open the scoring, as he was allowed to run into space but his shot was well wide of the goal. 

After 17 minutes, Exmouth had their first chance of the game following a superb run from Aarron Denny, who then picked out the run of Dean Billingsley, but Benjamin John charged down his shot.

Gosling was the standout of the first half, causing Town problems whenever he got a hold of the ball, and after 23 minutes, his cross met the run of Owen Howe, who headed wide.

Half an hour in, Ben Steer’s free kick looped into the back post, where Rowe’s header forced John to tip the ball over the bar.

Exmouth continued to create as Rowe burst forward, and despite being tackled, the ball bounced off him and into the path of Jordan Harris, whose shot was over the bar. 

Ace High had a chance to put Town ahead after 38 minutes, as Billingsley played him through, but his lobbed effort was over John, but wide of the goal.

Unfortunately for the hosts, Manor Farm would make Town pay on their next attack, as Jake Gosling weaved past James Richards and played in Owen Howe, who fired past Robbie Powell. 

Exmouth should have levelled just three minutes later, as a corner came in and bounced around in the box before finding it’s way to the feet of Dave Rowe, but his shot was saved at point-blank range by John.

Town had the ball in the back of the net just before the half time whistle, as Ace High’s shot was deflected onto the head of Rowe, who headed past John, but he was adjudged to be offside.

It was a slow start to the second half as Exmouth struggled to get out of the blocks, and despite some moments of quality from Gosling, Bristol Manor Farm were also struggling to muster up any big moments.

With 18 minutes to go, the away side had an opportunity to make it two, but a sliding challenge from Mark Lever prevented Luco Ponsillo from slotting in Owen Howe.

Lever did something slightly more important just four minutes later, as his near post run was found by Ben Steer’s free kick, and his header flew past John to level up the game.

The substitute impacted the game once more, as after 83 minutes, Owen Howe found the ball at his feet in the box, and fired towards goal, but Mark Lever was on the line to prevent the visitors from going back in front.

It was Manor Farm who had the last big chance of the game, as with a minute of normal time to go, Ponsillo drove down the right flank and drilled the ball into Howe, who really should have found the back of the the net with his close range effort.

Exmouth will be back in action this Wednesday, as they take on Tiverton Town in the quarter final of the St Luke’s Devon Bowl.

LINE-UP: Powell, Walford (Riddell, 74), Lever, Richards, Rowe, Gardner, Denny, Billingsley (Slater, 66), High, Harris (Casey, 89), Steer. Subs not used: Shipton.


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