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Exeter on verge of promotion after overcoming slow start to see off Rochdale

Timothee Dieng scored for Exeter (Mike Egerton/PA)
Timothee Dieng scored for Exeter (Mike Egerton/PA)

Exeter stand on the verge of a return to League One for the first time in 10 years after they overcame a slow start to beat Rochdale 2-0 at St James Park.

Rochdale started the better of the two teams and Cameron Dawson made a superb save with his feet to deny former Grecian Jimmy Keohane before he made an even better one moments later to again deny Keohane.

Offrande Zanzala should have done better from a Pierce Sweeney cross, but he headed wastefully wide at the near post, while Archie Collins was denied by Rochdale goalkeeper Jay Lynch when he had Jake Caprice screaming for the lay-off in a goal-scoring position.

Jevani Brown saw a shot deflect over the crossbar, while Zanzala was again off target from Joshua Key’s cross.

However, the deadlock was finally broken in the 34th minute when Tim Dieng scrambled in Archie Collins’ free-kick for his 14th goal of the season.

Exeter extended their lead on the hour mark when Brown’s shot was beat away by Lynch and Matt Jay dived to head the rebound into the net.

Rochdale rarely threatened until the final minute when Dawson made another outstanding reactive save to deny Josh Andrews.

Exeter will now win promotion with a home win over Barrow on Tuesday.

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