City needed to bounce back from their opening day defeat and did so with their Extra Time win over Championship side Brentford. You could be forgiven for forgetting City had a full side on the pitch as all the attention was focussed on the debut of Ethan Ampadu, the first 15 year old to don the famous red ‘n’ white in a competitive fixture. Ampadu excelled alongside Pierce Sweeney and was named MOM, although was presumably presented with a carton of Ribena instead of the usual Champagne. Confusion around child labour laws and restrictions on under 16s in league matches sadly prevents your writer from asserting whether Ampadu will keep his place – with both Troys missing currently through knocks he may well keep his place if allowed, although if either Troy makes it back they may well come in. An alternative could see Jordan Moore-Taylor move across with Craig Woodman slotting in on the left. Lee Holmes sat out the win over Brentford but should hope to be fit to play, while Liam McAlinden and David Wheeler are both pushing for a start.
Following the great escape under Ronnie Moore in 14/15, Hartlepool again struggled near the foot of the table, Moore paying the price and being replaced by Craig Hignett. A fine run of 7 wins in 11 in March and early April saw Pools pull away from the bottom and, despite a run of four straight defeats to end the season, Hignett’s side finished top of the mini-league at the bottom in 16th place, fully 11 points behind Barnet in 15th but 17 points clear of the cast adrift pair at the bottom. Perhaps the key signing of the summer was that of Padraig Amond, who finished last season as the National League’s top scorer in firing Grimsby back into the league. He’ll look to partner the vastly experienced Billy Paynter, who scored from the spot in their opening day 1-1 draw with Colchester. Lewis Alessandra is another name familiar to watchers of Devon Football following his spell with that lot down the A38.
Last season City got some revenge for the previous campaign in taking all six points from this fixture. City needed a 90th minute effort from Christian Ribeiro to seal the points at the Park, before goals in each half from Alex Nicholls and Joel Grant won the match in the North East. City have a strong lead in league head to heads with 34 wins to Hartlepool’s 24 (22 draws).
Latest odds – Exeter to win evens, for the draw 12/5 , Exeter to lose us at 11/4.
Last season’s game – http://www.grecians.co.uk/wordpress/?sp_event=4106