Ryan Bowman’s extra-time strike sends Exeter City to Wembley


A Ryan Bowman 111th minute winner was enough to book Exeter’s place in the play-off final where they will face either Cheltenham or Northampton at Wembley on the 29th June.

Exeter City started the first-half well. In the first minute, Alex Fisher crossed the ball into Ryan Bowman with the striker unable to connect hard enough to get it past Dean Gerken in the Colchester goal.

The one goal advantage was cancelled out in the 10th minute. Fisher’s strike was paried away and fell to Exeter defender Aaron Martin who struck the ball as it ended up in the back of the net.

Brilliant goalkeeping from Jonny Maxted. Kwame Poku was able to skip past Archie Collins and played it through to Ryan Jackson with the full-back’s cross intercepted by the Exeter goalkeeper.

Exeter nearly doubled their lead after a good free-kick from Randall Williams but Gerken was able to save the ball from going into the top corner of his goal.

After a Colchester free-kick, the ball was cleared by Dean Moxey falling only as far as Luke Gambin with the Colchester forward’s shot going over.

Another chance for the Grecians as Fisher fizzed another great delivery into Colchester’s penalty area and Williams’ header ended up over the goal.

Pierce Sweeney found a great chance for himself after a Nicky Law free-kick. The centre-back was left unmarked but headed over the bar and into the stand behind the goal.

Exeter doubled their lead through Jayden Richardson. Law swung the ball into the box as Bowman’s effort rebounded off the post and into the path of Fisher who found Richardson as the ball snuck under Dean Gerken and made it 2-0 to Exeter City.

The response from Colchester was weak as they tried to build on an attack and Poku’s effort going high over the bar.

The substitute Courtney Senior was able to find the back of the net for Colchester. Cohen Bramall’s cross was palmed away by Maxted only as far as Senior as he slotted the ball into the goal to make the score 2-2 on aggregate.

Senior fancied the shot again as he picked the ball up in a pocket of space and fired the effort from outside the box, his shot ended up wide of the goal.

Nouble fired another cross shot towards the Exeter goal with Maxted lucky as he parried the ball into a dangerous position but it was cleared by the Exeter defenders.

Colchester had the chance to seal the deal. Theo Robinson broke at speed and passed it into the path of Poku with the youngster’s shot kept out by Maxted.

After a Williams cross that was met by no one in the end the referee blew the whistle for full-time as the game headed to extra-time.

The first chance of the first-half of extra-time came for Colchester as Nouble skilled his way past the Exeter defence and lofted a ball into the box and the ball landed at Poku’s feet with his shot blocked.

Brennan Dickenson fizzed the ball into the path of Bowman but the striker was unable to adjust in time to direct the ball goalwards.

Exeter City made it 3-2 on aggregate in the 111th minute after a great finish from Ryan Bowman as Colchester players called for offside but the Exeter forward finished well on his weaker left foot.

Team Lineups

Exeter City XI- Maxted, Sweeney, Martin, Moxey (Parkes 93′), Williams, Taylor (Atangana 82′), Collins, Law (Dickenson 93′), Richardson, Bowman, Fisher (Seymour 75′).

Colchester United XI- Gerken, Jackson (Welch-Hayes 99′), Eastman, Prosser, Bramall, Pell, Stevenson (Lapslie 99′), Poku (Cowan-Hall 118′), Nouble, Gambin (Senior 57′), Norris (Robinson 71′)


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