Exeter City’s under-18s coach, Chad Gribble, was left delighted with how his team finished the calendar year following a 4-1 win away at Newport County last weekend.
“We showed our most complete performance for a long time, and this was one where we showed both sides of our game and managed to piece it all together," he said. "I have to credit the players for their performance in what was challenging conditions in terms of both the weather and the way Newport played.”
The Grecians travelled to Wales with the hope of ending 2019 in style with another positive performance.
Their recent good habit of starting matches quickly and scoring goals early continued once again with Gribble’s men making the breakthrough after just three minutes. Jack Veale fed Nelson Iseguan, where the winger created some space on the left flank to cross the ball in. Lewis Wilson’s nonchalant touch caressed the ball past the goalkeeper to hand his side the 1-0 lead.
Off the back of the early goal, Exeter saw plenty of possession, however, their threatening runs forward led to very little as breaking down the stubborn defence proved to be challenging.
But the visitors remained patient, and they ended up doubling their advantage 10 minutes before half-time. Louis Morison’s aerial pass fell in behind the home side’s backline, and Frank Lovett took the ball in his stride before neatly lobbing the Exiles keeper to make it a two-goal game.
No further chances opened up in the remainder of the first period, however, after the break, Newport pressed City further up the pitch, which allowed the game to open up.
In the 55th minute, County grabbed a goal of their own when they countered quickly. A well-taken finish meant the hosts hauled themselves back into the contest.
Their hopes of a comeback were dashed however just a minute later, when the Devon outfit won themselves a corner from the resulting kick-off. Veale’s delivery located Diabate, and the defender rose highest to head the ball in to swing the momentum back in favour of the away side.
The Grecians used that impetus to continue to dominate proceedings, before sealing the victory with 10 minutes remaining.
After manoeuvering the ball down the left, Gribble’s men recycled possession, before they attacked down the opposite wing through Ellis Johnson. The substitute’s delightful cross hung nicely for Veale to attack, and he powered home his header to make it 4-1 and hand Exeter a well-deserved three points just before the Christmas break.
After the match, Chad Gribble admitted the victory was well deserved. “I thought we managed the game and used the ball well on what was a difficult surface. We had to remain patient and look for those moments to exploit Newport. I think the 4-1 scoreline was a fair reflection of how well we had played. The key was to not give the ball away, and I thought all of our possession had a purpose to it.”