Exeter pay the penalty for failing to make the most of their dominance
Exeter City failed to make the most of their second-half dominance as they crashed out of the Johnstone's Paint Trophy at the first-round stage after losing to Aldershot Town on penalty kicks.
Jordan Moore-Taylor and Steve Tully both saw efforts saved in the shoot-out, allowing Ben Herd to send the Shots through and gain revenge for a 2-1 npower League Two defeat at the Recreation Ground two weeks ago.
The Grecians made a number of changes to the side that beat Burton Albion at the weekend. Danny Coles missed out with a groin strain and was replaced by Moore-Taylor, while Tully, Tommy Doherty, Guillem Bauza and John O'Flynn all started in place of Kevin Amankwaah, Matt Oakley, Arron Davies and Jamie Cureton.
Aldershot started well, with Craig Reid forcing Artur Krysiak to save with his feet and Jordan Roberts' long-range effort being deflected narrowly wide.
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Liam Sercombe had Exeter's first effort with a first-time shot straight at Glenn Morris. Alan Gow forced Morris into a smart stop and Scot Bennett hammered in the rebound, but the 'goal' was disallowed for a foul on Troy Brown.
That was Brown's last contribution as he was forced off with injury and Aldershot had a reprieve moments later as O'Flynn appeared to break the offside trap. The lineman saw differently, though, and flagged for offside.
That was pretty much it for the first half in which there was some good football, but few clear-cut chances. Exeter had the better of it, but needed to be a bit more clinical in and around the penalty box.
Exeter stepped it up a gear after the break and Bauza almost got on the end of Gow's cross. The Spaniard then saw his attempted chip easily held by Morris, before some frantic Aldershot defending prevented O'Flynn from getting on the end of Sercombe's teasing cross.
The Grecians called for Elliott Frear 11 minutes into the second half. He replaced Pat Baldwin as the Grecians made a number of tactical changes to accommodate the young winger and, almost immediately, Frear started putting balls in the box, but City could not finish them off.
The Grecians were awarded a free-kick on the edge of the box after a foul on Gow, but the Scotsman's dead-ball effort was easily saved by Morris.
Elliott Chamberlain came on for Bauza with 15 minutes remaining and he had valid claims for a penalty after having his shirt pulled inside the penalty box. Again, nothing was given.
Gow let fly from 30 yards, but his shot was just wide of the post before Chamberlain screwed a shot wide after a neat lay off from O'Flynn.
The Grecians were piling on the pressure, but could not get that elusive breakthrough. Sercombe's fierce drive from the corner of the penalty box was kept out by Morris, and substitute Jimmy Keohane headed over from close range after Bennett had headed Sercombe's corner back across goal.
A rare Aldershot foray forward resulted in a free-kick which was pumped into the Grecians' box. Sonny Bradley got on the end of it, but headed straight at Krysiak.
That was to be the last chance as the tie went to penalty kicks. O'Flynn hammered in the first, but it was matched by Reid of Aldershot.
Moore-Taylor saw his effort saved by Morris and Rankine gave Aldershot the lead by sending Krysiak the wrong way.
Keohane also sent the goalkeeper the wrong way before Aaron Morris skied high into the Big Bank to level it up at 1-1. Tommy Doherty put City back in front only for Alex Rodman to score, and the writing was on the wall when Tully's effort was saved by Glenn Morris.
That gave Herd the chance to send Aldershot through, which he duly did with a fine spot-kick into the bottom corner. Back to the League for the Grecians.
Exeter City (4-3-3): Krysiak; Tully, Baldwin (Frear 56), Moore-Taylor, Woodman; Sercombe, Doherty, Bennett; Gow (Keohane 82), O'Flynn, Bauza (Chamberlain 75). Substitutes (not used): Evans (gk), Amankwaah.
Aldershot Town (4-4-2): G Morris; Herd, Lancashire, Bradley, Anderson; Mekki (Branston 88), A Morris, Brown (Rankine 30), Roberts (Rodman 77); Vincenti, Reid. Substitutes (not used): Young (gk), Madjo.
Referee: B Malone (Wiltshire).