Exeter City’s under-18s secured all three points from their latest fixture in the Youth Alliance Merit League following a 2-1 victory over Leyton Orient.
Despite finding themselves 1-0 down after a quarter of an hour, the young Grecians responded well and restored parity just before the interval through striker Brandon Parsons.
After half-time, Parsons teed up midfielder Joel Randall to score City’s second and complete the turnaround following a bright start to the second half.
Both Parsons and Archie Collins had chances to increase the home side’s lead, but two goals proved to be enough to gain a precious three points.
Exeter started the game brightly, dominating possession and territory and they created a number of half-chances.
Dan Green’s men came the closest to breaking the deadlock when Joe O’Laughlin’s dangerous cross evaded everyone before the ball was scrambled away by the Orient defence.
But with the Devon club controlling a lot of the play, it meant they were stationed high up the pitch, and with one hooked clearance by the visitors, they managed to take advantage. In what was a swift counter-attack, the long ball fell to the O’s forward, whose composed finish beat Lewis Williams in the Grecians goal.
However, the goal didn’t affect the City morale or mentality and they stayed determined and got back on level terms in the 40th minute.
Lucas White combined with Parsons, and the attacker held off his marker to fire a low finish out of the reach of the Orient goalkeeper and into the bottom corner.
After half-time winger Josh Key found himself involved in a lot of the Devon outfit’s attacking play and his contribution led to the hosts scoring their second of the game.
Key caused havoc down the wing before his cut-back found Parsons in the centre. The striker’s lay-off to Randall was perfect, and the playmaker finished neatly from 12 yards to give the Grecians the lead for the first time.
The Grecian youngsters continued their search for more goals despite going ahead and they almost netted a third when Collins forced another save from the busy Orient goalkeeper.
In spite of some direct play in the final moments of the game, where the visitors saw their goalkeeper head the ball just wide after coming forward for a last-minute set-play, City held on to record an important three points in their quest to finish strongly in the Youth Alliance Merit League One.
Exeter City's under-18s coach, Dan Green: “We definitely dominated proceedings here. The Luton match went against us, and we responded with a decent performance against Southend. Even though the result went against us once again, we wanted to play in the same vein as that game with a creative performance which I felt we did.
“The goal we conceded came from a lack of concentration on our part, where we took our own eye off of our shape behind the ball. It has provided us with a good learning opportunity, and I’d like to think that we won’t make that mistake again.
“Going 1-0 down didn’t really knock us, and we always looked in control. We were comfortable in the first half, and after tweaking some of the tactics at half-time, we asked the boys to not become frustrated with things and to try and work out how to break down their defence.
"Joel Randall was excellent, and I am very pleased with James Dodd coming in and making his first start and performing well. It was nice to give Morgan Cullen and Theo Simpson some game time also. The opportunity came about for some of the Under-16s and I felt they took it well.”
Exeter City under-18s: Lewis Williams, Sam Haynes, Josh Hancock, Mitch Thomas, Joe O’Laughlin, James Dodd, Joel Randall, Archie Collins, Josh Key, Lucas White, Brandon Parsons. Subs: Morgan Cullen, Theo Simpson