Goals from Gosling, Bennett, Nichols & Cureton
Exeter City recorded a comfortable victory over Dorchester Town this evening thanks to three goals from Centre of Excellence youth products and a late strike from Jamie Cureton.
Jake Gosling curled home a splendid opener before Scot Bennett rattled in the second.
There were 11 changes made at the interval but City continued where they left off and went three up when Tom Nichols was fouled in the box and the striker brushed himself down before sending the keeper the wrong way from the spot.
The gloss was put on the victory with three minutes to go when Jimmy Keohane teed up Cureton, who is currently training with the club, for the eleventh goal in 180 pre-season minutes.
With pre-season training only eight days old, Paul Tisdale used 24 players during the 90 minutes, giving the whole squad a chance to shine.
The first half saw Artur Krysiak in goal and youth products Elliott Frear and Aaron Dawson either side of the experienced centre back pairing of Danny Coles and Pat Baldwin.
In midfield Tommy Doherty was joined by Scot Bennett and Jake Gosling while trialist Elliott Chamberlain played upfront with Guillem Bauza and John O’Flynn.
And City, wearing Cabrini kits for the last time before the new Joma home kit is worn on Saturday, took the lead after just 13 minutes, Gosling picking up the ball on the right hand side and opening up his body to curl a lovely left-footed effort up and over former City keeper Jason Matthews and into the top corner.
Five minutes later and Matthews came very close to picking the ball out of the back of his net again, Dawson putting a fantastic cross into the box from the right flank which was met by Bauza but his header dropped just over the crossbar.
On 32 minutes though it was 2-0. The Grecians were peppering the home side’s goal and after O’Flynn passed to Bauza and his shot was parried the ball found its way to Bennett who composed himself before rifling a right-footed shot across Matthews and into the top corner.
Bauza then had two great chances to extend City’s lead, first he shifted the ball onto his right foot and fired a low shot inches wide of the far post before minutes later Frear got to the byline and pulled a cross back for the former Swansea forward but Matthews saved well.
At the other end the closest Dorchester came to a goal was a dangerous corner that Bennett did well to head over his bar.
So 11 new Grecians entered the fray at half-time and the new line-up included the experienced pair of Matt Oakley and Jamie Cureton – both currently training with the club.
Rhys Evans was between the sticks with Kevin Amankwaah at right-back, Steve Tully joining youngster Jordan Moore-Taylor at centre back and Craig Woodman at left-back. The midfield of Oakley, Liam Sercombe, Jimmy Keohane and Arron Davies played behind the strike duo of Cureton and former Magpie Tom Nichols.
It was Cureton who had the first chance of the second half as he fired a first time effort over the bar after Amankwaah had powered past his man on the right flank. From the resulting corner only a diving Dorchester body stopped Moore-Taylor from testing Matthews.Woodman then shot high and wide after Sercombe had teed him up.
The City midfield, supported by the rampaging Amankwaah, looked to thread balls to the short strikers with clever passes whenever possible and on a number of occasions had fans on both sides applauding their vision.
Nichols, who had been doing well and winning more than his fair share of physical battles with the Dorchester centre backs in the 24 minutes since his introduction, was then taken out by inside the box after being fed by Sercombe. The 18-year-old stepped up to slot home the penalty, as he did on a number of occasions for the Magpies last season.
City were beginning to get into their groove and put together a number of flowing moves including a piece of play which began with Woodman and resulted in a left-footed cross from Sercombe and a header from Cureton that was only kept out by the fingertips of Matthews.
From the resulting corner Sercombe fired over the bar before Moore-Taylor, who had seemed very much at home in the City defence, and Nichols were replaced by Jordan Tillson and Jacob Cane.
Cane, a first year pro like Moore-Taylor and Tillson, was always looking for the ball and his first involvement was a pass to Sercombe that he collected but the resulting effort whistled wide.
Oakley was a cool head in the centre of the park as always and he also had to be on his guard to head a goal-bound effort off the line.
An impressive evening’s work was completed with three minutes to go when Keohane fed Cureton and the 36-year-old buried the ball low into the keeper’s left-hand corner.
Remember City's next match sees the Grecians host FC United on Saturday, (3pm) where entry for Under 18s is FREE.
It is a pay on the day game and the prices are: FLYBE (seating): Adult £6; Concession £4; Under 18 FREE and BIG BANK (standing): Adult £5; Concession £3: Under 18 FREE.