Manager Garry Haylock was forced into changes from last weeks’ starting line-up as illness and injury deprived him of the services of Adam Bygrave, Jim Fenlon and Cole Brown, this meant he gave debuts to new arrivals Omari Alexander-Salmon and loanee Matt Jay, plus a first start for youth team player Colin Mugoya.
Chances early on in the game saw Dan Lincoln comfortably collect a shot on the turn from Craig Duff while at the other end Matt Jay broke clear of the defence but his effort was blocked by Martin Rice in the Truro goal and when the ball was returned into the box it was Jay again who took possession, this time his shot being deflected wide.
A deflection at the other end saw Cody Cooke’s effort go wide of the post before Lincoln again denied Duff, this time the United stopper palming away the strikers header as he ran on to a Cooke centre.
Midway through the half debutant Omari Alexander-Salmon, in his first game at senior level, took possession from Josh Scott’s pass and rifled a 20 yard shot that went inches wide of the target after a defender got a slight touch as the ball arrowed towards goal. He did however only have to wait three minutes before hitting a debut goal as he rose in the centre of the six yard box to powerfully head a Benyon cross past Rice (photo right).
Just over ten minutes later it was debutant goal number two, this time for Exeter City’s Matt Jay who having collected the ball on the left corner of the City box, turned his marker and drilled the ball low across Rice into the far corner (below left).
Josh Scott then headed a Mason Spence centre wide before two fine Lincoln stops denied Truro a first half reply. A Cooke cross from the left to the far post was volleyed coolly back into the centre by Matt Wright with the arriving Duff seeing his header blocked away at point blank range by the United ‘keeper. Within a minute the ball was back in the danger zone as Cooke drilled the ball across the six yard box with Devante McKain clearing sharply from virtually on his own goal-line.
United were to be put under a lot of pressure in the second half and appeared to tire towards the end of the game as City hit back to take their unbeaten record to 11 with a last gasp equaliser.
The half actually started quite slowly, Scott having the first goalbound effort that Rice swept up easily on 54 minutes. As we crossed the hour mark the United defence were put under a lot of pressure but Lincoln was again in fine form. A cross from the right was allowed to bounce in the area, Wright trying an acrobatic effort that looked destined to hit the net but for a superb push out by Lincoln. Minutes later he was again needed as Cooke broke into the box only to be denied by Lincoln who pushed the ball away for a corner. The flag kick dropped inside the six yard box but was hacked away off the line by the well positioned Mason Spence.
Seventeen minutes remained on referee Serrano’s watch when the visitors finally broke United’s resistance as substitute Les Afful collected the ball on the right corner of the box and fired low past Lincoln in a goal similar to United’s from Matt Jay.
Both custodian’s were required to tip efforts over as first Rice did well to deny Elliot Benyon and then minutes later Lincoln needed his finger tips to deny Ollie Knowles whose free-kick deflected off the wall and was heading into the United net.
United finally succumbed to the City attack again with just a minute of normal time remaining, a free-kick from substitute Danny Barrow being inadvertently helped on by Spence before being met powerfully by the head of on-coming Truro skipper Ryan Ash who gave Lincoln no chance as his header found the top corner.
United did have a late chance in stoppage time to snatch the winner but Devante McKain’s header from Spence’s corner struck a defender on the line before being cleared and it was a share of the spoils but a much improved display, against last week, from Garry Haylock’s side.
Report by Kevin Watts.
Photos by Ray Peploe.