City's youngsters into semi-final of St Lukes Bowl
Exeter City earned a place in the St Lukes Bowl semi-final win a superb 4-1 win at Tiverton Town.
Tivvy, who play their fixtures in the Southern League Division One South & West, were beaten finalists in the competition in both of the last two seasons. The home side had been awarded a walkover in their second round match against Dartmouth, but were sure to provide stiff opposition for the young Grecians at Ladysmead.
City’s representatives were mostly drawn from the under-18 side, with the exception of first-year pros Jamie Reid, Tom Nichols and Jacob Jagger Cane.
Exeter’s intention to attack from the off was evident – and consequently they took the lead within a minute through Nichols. The striker, who had featured seven times for Bath City on loan this season, beat the Tiverton stopper at his near post with a left-footed drive after receiving the ball inside the box.
Nichols got his and City’s second midway through the first period – after finding a route to goal, he showed plenty of composure to loft the ball over the advancing Chris Wright to find the back of the net.
Leading by two at the interval, the Grecians approached the second half with much the same mindset, and were trying to kill the game off. It was Ollie Watkins – who has been in imperious goalscoring form for the under-18s in the league – who netted the third, ten minutes after the restart.
The move had begun down the left-hand channel, and when Connor Riley-Lowe – advancing from the full-back position – put the ball into the danger area, Watkins showed plenty of desire to attack the ball at the near post and bulleted a fantastic header into the roof of the net.
The hosts had something to build on midway through the second half, when they clawed a one back through Alex Faux. The goal came after a dead-ball was knocked down in the area, and eventually the defender was able to scramble the ball across the line to offer Tivvy some element of hope.
But if the hosts were hoping the youngsters would have been rattled by the prospect of a fight-back, they were to be left disappointed as the City players refused to be fazed and continued to control the direction and tempo of the fixture.
City carried on hunting for goals and were rewarded when Reid – who had earlier had a goal chalked off when the assistant flagged for offside – swept home a cross from the left with ten minutes to spare, to put the sheen on a mature victory.
Following the fixture, Youth Team Coach Kevin Nicholson said: “It was an accomplished performance from our young side. We controlled the majority of the game by retaining possession even when the players were being put under considerable pressure. By doing that, we created numerous chances and scored four fantastic goals.
“The game plan was to try and make sure we got the first goal, and to have done so within the first minute was brilliant. We played positively from the moment we kicked off.
“We knew that getting that first goal would open up the opposition, which would work in our favour. That was exactly what happened, and I’m pleased that the boys were able to execute what we discussed pre-game against an experienced adult team.”
Tiverton Town: Chris Wright, Josh Concanen, Lewis Tasker, Jimmy Hinds, Adam Faux, Tom Gardner, Josh Searle, Harry Nodwell, Michael Nardiello, Joe Bushin, Alex Faux.
Subs: David Steele, Dave Pearse, Lewis Moore, Kevin Hill, Russell Jee.
Goal: Alex Faux.
Exeter City: Christy Pym, Sam Brown, Connor Riley-Lowe, James Byrne, Kamarl Duncan, Irvine Densu, Ollie Watkins, Matt Grimes, Jamie Reid, Tom Nichols, Jacob Jagger Cane.
Subs: Heidari Hussein, Jason Pope, Alex Byrne.
Goals: Tom Nichols 2, Ollie Watkins, Jamie Reid.