Robins triumph over Grecians
Swindon Town U18s v Exeter City U18s
Exeter City Under-18s can count themselves unlucky as their trip to Swindon Town ended in a 2-0 defeat for the young starlets.
The Grecians were undone by two sloppy bits of defending when arguably they had the better of the play, and may have ended up winning the game if they had scored the crucial first goal.
Matt Grimes, captaining the side once again, had a solid a game in the middle of the park, whilst the front three of Matt Jay, Ollie Watkins and Roderick Young caused the opposition defence problems throughout.
However their efforts were to no avail as the trip north ended in defeat, despite the many positives that came out of the game.
City started the game in comfortable fashion, with Grimes, Jason Pope and James Byrne taking control of the early midfield battle.
The trio helped conjure up a number of glorious opportunities for the front three to feed off, however they couldn’t make the most of the chances presented to them; Young from the right and Jay from the left often cutting in and flashing crosses across the goal.
However the misses didn’t phase Exeter at all, and they looked very composed on the ball inside the first 30 minutes. Centre-backs Kamarl Duncan and Irvine Densu often brought the ball out of defence to start City’s possession play.
However on 32 minutes, perhaps against the run of play, the home side took the lead.
A deep free-kick from Swindon found their centre-half, up for the set piece, alone 15 yards out. His header beat Christy Pym in the Grecian goal, and the Robins found themselves 1-0 up.
A combination of poor marking from the away side, and good technique in the header meant the Devonians had to find a way of getting back into a game they had dominated.
However as Exeter pushed forward in search of an equaliser, just before the break, Swindon doubled their lead.
City pushed forward as they earned a free kick in the home side’s half, with the presence of Duncan and Densu the obvious targets from defence.
However it exposed the Grecians defensively and once the Robins managed to clear the ball, they quickly broke and bore down on Pym’s goal.
The recovery from the away side wasn’t quick enough as Swindon made the most of the great numbers and slotted the ball home for a 2-0 half-time lead.
After the interval, the game took a different complexion, with Swindon looking the more comfortable in possession, and took control of the game.
The approach from the Wiltshire club was of a keep-ball mentality, which they did very well, as tactically the young Grecians weren’t good enough at winning the ball back.
The City coaching team rang the changes with debutant Joe Charles making an appearance off the bench on 55 minutes, adding more firepower to an already potent force, whilst Alex Byrne was brought on with an hour played to add a more creative spark in the midfield as the visitors switched to a 4-4-2 formation.
It helped somewhat as Jay and Charles both got in down the right, however both weren’t able to convert their respective chances as frustration crept into the side.
Josh Reid, another individual making his debut, was brought on to add some steel to the defence. However going forward, there were no answers to solving City’s goalless issue.
With full-time approaching, the young Grecians again had a good opportunity. A corner was whipped in and met by the head of Duncan, who should have done better from six yards.
And despite Pym’s efforts at the other end, a decent double save keeping Exeter in the game, Town saw the game out with more possession football.
Academy Manager Simon Hayward: “We had the better play in the first half, and fair play to Swindon they had a better second half.
“However what we should have done is taken advantage of our early dominance, and if we had scored the first goal of the game, it may have been a completely different match.”
1 Christy Pym
2 Sam Brown
3 Connor Riley-Lowe
4 Kamarl Duncan
5 Irvine Densu
6 James Byrne
7 Matt Grimes
8 Jason Pope
9 Ollie Watkins
10 Matt Jay
11 Roderick Young
12 Josh Reid
14 Alex Byrne
16 Joe Charles