Jay's goal beats the GullsA Matt Jay goal was enough to see Exeter’s Under-18 side beat Torquay United 1-0 in their rearranged weekend fixture on Friday afternoon.
After a week of hard work on the training pitch, City started the game with new ideas and tactics, and started the game with a 3-5-2 formation.
With both regular full-backs Connor Riley-Lowe and Sam Brown, pushed into more advanced wing-back positions, in came Hussein Heidari, back from injury, to slot in as the third centre-back.
With the lack of width further up the pitch, much was relied on forwards Jay and strike partner Ollie Watkins to provide energy and movement, as well as become Exeter’s first line of defence when needed.
The Grecians started well, and produced a solid first half, creating the better of the chances.
With the numerous chances Exeter helped create, arguably the best opportunity fell to Watkins, when the attacker was inches away from a decent cross from the left. Had the striker made contact with the ball, a goal seemed the likely outcome.
Torquay were restricted to half chances, however they did create one good opening when a ball from their left was played to the far post. Despite the on-target shot from the Gulls’ attacker, Christy Pym in the City goal saved well.
The front two were causing the visitors’ defence problems throughout, and their commitment in defending from the front almost paid off.
With United unable to clear their lines properly with the ball deep inside their own box, Jay profited, but could only see his effort wasted as Exeter just couldn’t find the breakthrough they deserved before the interval.
However when the half-time whistle did blow, the match remained in the balance at 0-0. The home side were in control of the game, however Torquay were comfortable in possession when they had the ball.
The start of the second half began with Exeter in a dominant mood, and the first 20 minutes was arguably their best spell of the game.
The Grecians came out bright and began to get a good grip of the game, and after a sustainable amount of pressure and possession, they managed to find the breakthrough.
Jay netted for the second consecutive home game, after his goal in the 3-1 win over Bristol Rovers.
The response from Torquay was good, as they looked to find a way back into the match, however the Exeter defence proved stubborn, and in particular Heidari who was putting in a man of the match display.
Whilst in possession Exeter looked comfortable still and controlled the tempo of the game, whilst the coaching staff rung the changes to freshen the tiring side.
Roderick Young came on for Jason Pope, whilst Joe Charles and Josh Reid also made appearances off the bench.
And it was the latter who almost doubled the lead during a short spell where City were unlucky to hit the woodwork twice during the impressive period.
Reid’s attempted through-ball was cut out by the opposition defence, however the midfielder pounced on the clearance that fell back at his feet, and saw his shot beat the goalkeeper only to strike the post.
Fellow substitute Young was just as unlucky moments later, when he cut inside from the right wing to unleash an unstoppable shot that hit the near post.
It looked as if anyone were to score again, it would be the home side. However with two minutes to play, City had to thank their shot-stopper for keeping them in front.
Neat build-up play from the Torquay midfield put their striker through one-on-one with Pym, however the goalkeeper made himself big and saved well earning huge praise from his teammates and supporters.
Exeter held on to triumph 1-0, with Jay taking the plaudits for scoring the only goal, but Pym’s heroics at the end were perhaps just as important in City’s win over their local rivals.
Academy Manager Simon Hayward said: “At one point during the game, with all the chances we had created, it looked as if it wasn’t going to be our day.
“However the strikers were lively for the whole 90 minutes, they worked hard, both offensively and defensively, and we were rewarded with Matt Jay’s goal.”
1 Christy Pym
2 Sam Brown
3 Connor Riley-Lowe
4 Kamarl Duncan
5 Irvine Densu
6 Hussein Heidari
7 Matt Grimes
8 Jason Pope
9 Ollie Watkins
10 Matt Jay
11 James Byrne
12 Josh Reid
14 Roderick Young
16 Joe Charles