PLYMOUTH ARGYLE 1 EXETER CITY 1
(Exeter won 3-0 on penalties)
Exeter City moved through to the last four of the Devon St Luke's Challenge Cup at the expense of arch-rivals Plymouth Argyle on Tuesday evening, but they needed a penalty shoot-out in which to do so.
Two goals in the final seven minutes by Exeter's Matt Jay (83) and Argyle's on-loan striker Caolan Lavery (90) saw the game finish in a 1-1 draw, but the Grecians held their nerve from the spot with an easy 3-0 shoot-out win.
Exeter dominated possession for much of the game, but chances were at a premium. Jake Gosling curled a free-kick against the outside of the post from 35 yards or more in the first half, while Hamza Bencherif was wildly off target with a shot from distance in a cagey opening period.
The second half started in much the same way, with Exeter playing the better football but struggling to penetrate the Argyle back line. The one time they did so, Jacob Jagger-Cane's superb pass sent Gosling clear, but he lashed a shot high over the bar.
Guy Branston scuffed a good chance wide at the back post for Argyle before he inadvertently headed a Gosling shot just wide at the other end.
The veteran defender then took exception to a strong tackle from Nichols by kicking him and then grabbing his throat, but, after a handshake between the two, the referee let off both players with a stern warning.
Nichols was then denied by a brilliant stop from Jake Cole, but Christy Pym bettered that for Exeter as Plymouth countered. He got down low to his right to keep out Bencherif's drilled shot.
However, City went in front when substitute Jamie Reid slipped the ball through to Jay and he dinked the ball over Cole from 12 yards.
The Pilgrims equalised in the 90th minute and sent the game to penalties when Lavery rose to nod in as Exeter failed to clear a long throw.
Boco and Lavery blasted high with the first two Argyle spot kicks, while Gosling and Reid scored for Exeter.
Then, when Pym saved Paul Wotton's blasted effort, Nichols sent Cole the wrong way to send City through to the semi-finals.
Plymouth Argyle (4-4-2): Cole; Purrington, Wotton, Branston, Richards; Vassell (Hutchinson 90), Asumadu-Sakyi (Wheatley 66), Bencherif, Blackman (Stark 87); Lavery, Boco. Substitutes (not used): Hannah (gk), Bentley.
Goal: Lavery 90.
Exeter City (4-5-1): Pym; Dawson, Baldwin, Tillson, Moore-Taylor; Jay, Keohane (Reid 62), Doherty, Jagger-Cane, Gosling; Nichols. Substitutes (not used): Hamon (gk), Rigg, Wannell, Chamberlain.
Goal: Jay 83.