Full-time: Exeter City 1 Bristol Rovers 2
Eliot Richards came off the bench to fire Bristol Rovers to their first win of the season at St James' Park this afternoon.
Richards was introduced just after the hour mark and within a matter of minutes had picked up a mis-placed Tommy Doherty pass and made towards goal.
The Wales Under-21 international then cut inside full-back Craig Woodman and fired a low effort towards the near post that was too powerful for the glass hands of Exeter goalkeeper Artur Krysiak to put Rovers back in front in the 69th minute.
Exeter striker Jamie Cureton has grabbed an equaliser on the stroke of half-time to cancel out David Clarkson's early opener when converting a loose ball inside the six-yard box after Matt Oakley's shot across the face of goal fell kindly.
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Clarkson had opened the scoring inside five minutes when capitalising on Woodman's failure to control a high ball on his knee, before racing into the penalty area, evading a Danny Coles challenge, and clinically placed a left-foot finish past Krysiak.
Goalkeeper Neil Etheridge also made two superb saves to keep Exeter to a single goal; the first of which saw him take the ball off Cureton's toe when the pair went one-on-one in the 23rd minute.
The Fulham loanee then threw himself full length to palm away a John O'Flynn header soon after Richards had fired Rovers back in front to ensure Mark McGhee's side secured their first three-point haul of the campaign. Exeter, meanwhile, were forced to play the final eight minutes with ten-men after Scot Bennett was taken off on a stretcher with a serious-looking leg injury.
McGhee had handed debuts to loan signings Derek Riordan and Tom Eaves. Riordan, a three-times capped Scotland international, showed a few nice touches but is clearly lacking match sharpness after not playing for a number of months, whilst Eaves showcased some intelligent link-up play – but should have done better with a chance on the stroke of half-time.
The two strikers were paired together up front, with Clarkson filling in on the right-hand side of midfield. Jim Paterson also returned at left-back following a two-game absence in place of Lee Brown, who dropped to the bench.
Adam Virgo also returned to the starting-line up at right-back to replace Michael Smith, who is on compassionate leave following the death of his father earlier this week.
Rovers (4-4-2): Etheridge; Virgo, Kenneth, Parkes, Paterson; Clarkson, Norburn, Gill, Broghammer (L Brown, 59); Riordan (Lund, 73), Eaves (Richards, 59). Subs: Walker, W Brown, Anyinsah, Clucas.
Exeter City (4-4-1-1): Krysiak; Amankwaah, Coles, Baldwin (Moore-Taylor, 78), Woodman; Oakley (Keohane, 78) Bennett, Doherty, Davies; Gow (O'Flynn 64); Cureton. Subs: Evans, Tully, Bauza, Jagger-Cane, Moore-Taylor.