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Bristol City up and running with win over Exeter

Watford v Bristol City – FA Cup – Third Round – Vicarage Road
(Image credit: Steven Paston)

Dean Holden’s first game since being appointed Bristol City manager ended with a 2-0 Carabao Cup first-round win over Exeter at Ashton Gate.

Jamie Paterson fired the Championship club in front on 35 minutes, connecting sweetly with a first-time shot from 12 yards after Jack Hunt had ran onto an Andreas Weimann pass and pulled back from the right.

Antoine Semenyo flicked home another low Hunt cross at the near post on 83 minutes, shortly after being introduced as a substitute, and ensured Bristol City of a safe passage into round two.

In the end it was comfortable enough for the hosts but Exeter acquitted themselves well in an open contest.

Deprived of Nathan Baker through injury and Tomas Kalas by international duty, Holden named a new back-line of Zak Vyner, Taylor Moore and Tommy Rowe.

Exeter boss Matt Taylor gave debuts to Rory McArdle and Lewis Page, naming five academy players in his starting line-up and nine in the 18-man squad.

Bristol City might have taken a third-minute lead when Nahki Wells latched onto a Famara Diedhiou flick, but lifted his shot over goalkeeper Lewis Ward and the crossbar.

Exeter were soon posing a threat themselves and Matt Jay fired just wide on 13 minutes after good work on the right from Randell Williams.

Jay went close again three minutes later, Dan Bentley diving to his left to parry a 20-yard drive after a neat passing move begun by Williams.

There was little between the teams for most of the first half, but after Paterson’s goal Wells twice went close to doubling Bristol’s advantage.

First the striker had a goal-bound shot acrobatically blocked by Will Dean and when the ball broke back to him Wells’ second shot was deflected wide.

The home side began the second half brightly and Diedhiou went close with a fierce effort from the left corner of the box.

Wells failed to connect properly with a header from a good position before Ryan Bowman volleyed over for Exeter, who were still well in the game.

Both managers made substitutions and it was Holden’s decision to replace Diedhiou with Semenyo 10minutes from time that paid dividends with the second goal.

The early indications are that Holden’s team will look to move the ball quickly and operate a fluid system. Moore was not afraid to push forward from the back, while Weimann, handed the captain’s armband, looked effective in an attacking midfield role.