Gosling's late header earns a draw
A late Jake Gosling header earned a hard-working and creative Reserve team a 1-1 draw with the Nike Academy this afternoon at the Cat & Fiddle.
The match saw experienced first team squad members Steve Tully and Rhys Evans get valuable game time under their belts as part of Rob Edwards’ team that worked their socks off in what was a very competitive match, given its friendly status.
It also saw a lively return to competitive action for Elliott Chamberlain, the striker signed by the supporters via the 1931 fund had been ruled out with a slight injury at the time of putting pen to paper.
The first real chance of an open clash came after 14 minutes when Evans rushed off his line to deny the Academy striker. But just minutes later the defence infront of the former Millwall keeper had to be rejigged with Jordan Moore-Taylor coming off to be replaced by fellow first year pro Ollie Knowles.
Chamberlain played as the lone striker and created two opportunities for the opening goal in quick succession before the half hour. First he had a ball played to his feet inside the box and, after spinning his marker, drilled a low shot across goal that whistled just wide.
Five minutes later a swift counter-attack that began with Knowles winning the ball, ended with a lovely raking pass to the Wales Under 21 striker who raced through before a combination of goalkeeper and defender managed to keep him out.
It wasn’t all City though with Evans pulling off a strong left-handed save on 31 minutes to push a shot, that seemed destined for the bottom corner, around the post.
Aaron Dawson was always looking for the ball in the City midfield and a lovely through ball teed up Chamberlain who made a well-timed run but he couldn’t get the power he wanted on the shot.
Despite not scoring Chamberlain was getting in all the right areas and his movement really tested the Nike Academy’s defence. The perfect example came on the stroke of half-time when he timed his run to perfection and ended up bearing down on the keeper but his low right-footed drive whistled across goal and just inches wide.
Two minutes after half-time only a goal-line clearance stopped him from scoring from close range before Jacob Cane shot wide. Captain for the afternoon Tully was then withdrawn for Jordan Tillson, a recent summer signing from the opposition. Jamie Micklewright, Jamie Reid and Luke Roper were then introduced for Chamberlain, Jimmy Keohane and Cane.
With 15 minutes to go though the Academy took the lead against the run of play when a low ball in from the left flank was tapped over the line.
City’s response was immediate and you sensed that every player was desperate to impress and the Grecians went on to finish the game by far the stronger side.
Dawson continued to influence the match from the heart of midfield and he had Exeter’s next chance with a move he orchestrated himself. Winning the ball in midfield he got the Grecians going and when it ended up back with him on the left-hand edge of the box he smacked a right foot shot wide.
On the 80 minute mark the Grecians drew level when a lovely left-footed cross from Jacob Wannell found the unmarked Gosling inside the box and he headed the ball past the stationary keeper for 1-1.
Knowles’ distribution from centre-back and the pace of substitute Reid alongside Gosling upfront made City a real danger as the game continued to be stretched and it was Knowles who picked out Gosling with a long ball with five minutes to go but the striker put his first time effort over the bar. And then it was Reid’s turn to try his luck but his volley was high and wide.
Elliott Frear’s radar was just off with a free-kick before the final chance of the match which came from a fantastic flowing move from back to front. Tillson won the ball at right back and teed up Dawson who moved the ball to Frear on the left-wing and after getting to the touchline he curled in an inviting ball that was inches from the incoming attackers.
City Lined Up: Evans, Tully, (Tillson) Duncan, Moore-Taylor, (Knowles) Wannell; Gosling, Dawson, Cane, (Roper) Frear; Keohane; (Reid) Chamberlain. (Micklewright)