Normal service was swiftly and ruthlessly resumed as rampant Wanderers cruised to an eighth successive victory to set more records and move to the top of the League One table, writes Pete Oliver.
Ian Evatt’s men picked up where they left off ahead of the international break to become the first Wanderers’ team in 33 years to record such a winning streak.
The margin of victory, following a blitz of five second-half goals, also made it the biggest ever league win at the Toughsheet Community Stadium.
And having surpassed the 6-0 thrashing handed out to Sunderland in January, 2022, Wanderers also recorded the club’s biggest home league victory since a 7-0 beating of Swindon Town at Burnden Park in March, 1997.
Six of the current wins have come in the league and this was one was never in doubt once the Whites led 2-0 at the break to head towards the summit.
Jack Iredale broke the deadlock before Victor Adeboyejo’s sixth goal of the season all but killed off any resistance from a struggling Exeter side which had no way of quelling Wanderers’ instatiable appetite as they continued their march up the table.
Paris Maghoma made it three early in the second half and Dion Charles then got in on the act with two more goals to add to his Wanderers’ tally, which now stands at 12 for the season.
Wanderers were simply unstoppable and there was still time make it a magnificent seven as substitutes Kyle Dempsey and Dan Nlundulu – with his first league goal since his summer signing – also hit the back of the net to cap another superb performance on a rapidly growing list.
Randell Williams’ absence through injury meant one change to the side that had started the Whites’ League One win over Blackpool a fortnight ago as Iredale returned at wing-back.
Iredale – like Josh Dacres-Cogley on the opposite flank – saw plenty of the ball early on as Wanderers predictably dominated possession in their quest to find the opening goal.
Exeter – without a league win since mid-September – were quick to get plenty of men behind the ball to support a defence including former Wanderers’ centre-back Will Aimson in the captain’s armband.
That didn’t make it easy to try and work an opening for the Whites but their patience and persistence paid off with just over half an hour as they took the lead with a wonderfully worked goal.
Charles – fresh from a goal for Northern Ireland in mid-week – this time provided the assist as he combined perfectly with Gethin Jones before hanging up a tempting cross which Iredale made with a powerful far-post header he planted into the roof of the net.
Iredale’s third goal of the season gave Wanderers’ the added control they wanted and before half-time they tightened their grip further by going 2-0 up.
Again Charles was involved in the build-up as he collected a Josh Sheehan corner before laying the ball back to Sheehan to drive over a low cross the ideally-placed Adeboyejo buried from close range to end his wait for a goal.
It could then have been three just two minutes into the second half but after some neat footwork in the box Maghoma was denied by City keeper Viljami Sinisalo as the visitors tried to at least keep Wanderers in sight.
The respite didn’t last long, though, as Maghoma quickly gained his reward for another all-action performance.
George Thomason deserved great credit for keeping the move alive and then ferrying the ball into the path of his midfield partner who drilled a shot high into the net to claim his fourth goal in seven games.
Charles almost added a fourth with little over an hour gone as he dragged an effort just wide but he didn’t have to wait long either to add his name to the scoresheet.
Wanderers were attacking at will and with Exeter’s defence no longer able to cope, Jones whipped in another excellent low cross which Charles swept home from eight yards out to cap a notable week for club and country.
That triggered a double change from the bench as Evatt shared the workload and three more substitutions followed a fifth goal and second for Charles.
The leading scorer was one of those to make way but not before he added to his tally with his last touch– another poacher’s goal coolly tucked away after Iredale’s effort had been blocked.
It was a case of how many Wanderers would score and three minutes from the end of normal time the fit-again Dempsey added the sixth on his return to action after seven games out, nodding in after Nlundulu flicked on an Iredale corner.
That had everyone searching for the record books and Nlundulu’s excellent finish, crashing in a low cross from Dempsey, earned another entry as Wanderers – who have also now kept six successive clean sheets – made it a red-letter day.
Wanderers: Baxter; Jones, Almeida Santos, Toal; Sheehan (Morley 64); Dacres-Cogley, Maghoma (Mendes Gomes 75), Thomason (Dempsey 75), Iredale: Charles (Nlundulu 75), Adeboyejo (Bodvarsson 64). Substitutes: Forrester, Jerome.
Exeter City: Sinisalo; Aimson, Sweeney, Hartridge; Niskanen, Carroll, Trevitt, Jules (Rankine HT); Kite, Aitchison; Dibate. Substitutes: MacDonald, Scott, Cole, Wildschut, Taylor, Harper.
Referee: Benjamin Speedie