STAR MAN: Ilfracombe keeper Steve Oliver.
ILFRACOMBE TOWN goalkeeper Steve Oliver was named man of the match but he couldn't stop the Bluebirds losing their Errea South West Challenge Cup opener.
Coca-Cola League One new boys Exeter City ran out 4-1 winners at Marlborough Park.
Oliver and his defence withstood early pressure from the Grecians, but they buckled when Richard Logan shot home from 12 yards.
A minute later Logan set up Adam Stansfield to head Exeter's second.
Home defenders James Mayne and Steve Hobbs headed off the line before the sides went in at half-time.
An Exeter counter-attack brought their third goal. Scott Golbourne feeding the unmarked Ryan Harley to chip over Oliver.
A bizarre goal got Ilfracombe on the scoresheet. A Combe forward was offside but not interfering with play when the ball was played through. The linesman flagged but referee Andy Bennett waved play on, only for an Exeter player to pick the ball up believing his side had a free-kick.
A free-kick was instead awarded for handball. Ricky Marinaro's free-kick was handled by a defender and the Combe midfielder fired the penalty into the top corner.
Exeter's three-goal cushion was soon restored when Manny Panther smashed a shot into the top corner.
Marinaro's goal ensures Ilfracombe take two points from the defeat, while Exeter have three for their win.
Combe meet holders Eastleigh at Marshford in Appledore on Wednesday (6pm). Exeter's clash with Eastleigh is on Friday at Bideford's Sports Ground (8pm).
See Thursday’s Journal for a full report and reaction.