Grecians make light work of Bluebirds
The Grecians ended pre-season in forceful fashion with a 7-1 victory away at Chippenham Town.
Goals by Jake Gosling, Matt Jay (twice), Tom Nichols, Jimmy Keohane, Ollie Watkins and Jordan Tillson made light work of the Bluebirds – despite City only leading 1-0 into the final period.
The hosts had in fact themselves levelled through Isaac Reid, before the Grecians opened the floodgates.
City took a young side to Hardenhuish Park for the final pre-season fixture at Chippenham Town. Jacob Wannell took on the captain’s duties, whilst under-18 player Connor Riley-Lowe took the right-back berth.
Former Exeter City striker Lee Phillips, on the books with the Bluebirds, wasn’t on the teamsheet for the fixture.
The referees decided to split the fixture into three 30-minute thirds, rather than traditional halves.
And right at the start of the first period, Elliott Chamberlain had a great chance to latch onto a wayward backwards header by a Bluebirds defender but the angle was narrowing by the second and his dinked effort hit the side netting.
Chamberlain again had a chance to open the scoring when Gosling cut a ball back from the left byline – the striker controlled well and steadied himself for a shot, but the effort with the outside of his boot was dealt with by Ben John in goal.
The hosts had little threat to Christy Pym’s goal until Tom Knighton raced away down the inside right. Under pressure from Myles Anderson, the striker couldn’t beat the ‘keeper who turned around the post.
Welsh hitman Chamberlain was having the best of the chances and when Riley-Lowe delivered low cross form the right, the striker poked goalwards – but John again was his foil.
Chippenham nearly had a touch of good fortune at the end of the first period a Pym clearance smashed against Knighton who tried to keep the ball alive, but the Grecians breathed a sigh of relief as the ball travelled just beyond the byline and behind.
End of first period: Chippenham Town 0 Exeter City 0
City continued the second period much like they ended the first, and a Matt Grimes corner needed a timely intervention to prevent Myles Anderson heading in.
But the deadlock did finally come, midway through the game. When Gosling took control of the ball 25 yards from goal, he used the movement of his teammates to open a shooting angle. He needed no invitation to drill the ball beyond the reach of John and into the bottom corner.
Joe McClennan tried to earn an early equaliser for Chippenham. After some good ball retention in the final third, the midfielder took it upon himself to cut inside from the right flank to shoot – however his powerful left-footed effort flew some distance wide of goal.
A goal appeared elusive for Chamberlain as he couldn’t have diverted Gosling’s sumptuous cross any better, but John clawed the ball out of the bottom corner.
Chippenham sub Harley Purnell had the best opportunity to find the net straight after his introduction as a free-kick was laid into his path but it hit the outside of the post on its way behind.
End of second period: Chippenham Town 0 Exeter City 1
It was the final period when the goals began to fly in. The hosts actually drew level to begin when Isaac Reid played a neat one-two to get clear on goal and his shot beat the reach of Pym.
But the Grecians were ahead again through Jay soon after as Tom Nichols’ pull-back was dummied by Jagger Cane, and Jay took one touch before popping the ball into the corner.
Nichols added City’s third when he was released by Jay after some neat build-up play by Ollie Watkins. The striker was decisive with his strike for 3-1.
Matt Jay added his second and City’s fourth when laid in by Chamberlain. The youngster took a touch a drilled a powerful effort from the edge of the area which John couldn’t keep out.
Within a minute, Keohane added the fifth as a ball through the rattled Chippenham defence allowed him to give the goalie the eyes and slot in.
Ollie Watkins added a sixth after some smart link-up play with fellow under-18 striker Jay, before Jordan Tillson pounced to scramble home Exeter’s seventh and final goal.
Full-time: Chippenham Town 1 Exeter City 7
Chippenham Town: John, Fitzpatrick, Allward, Harris, Tindle, Harvey, McClennan, Tippins, Reid, Knighton, Legister.
Subs: Austin, Wickens, Osman, Andrews, Purnell.
Goal: Reid (65).
Exeter City: Pym, Riley-Lowe, Tillson, Anderson, Wannell, Keohane, Grimes, Jagger Cane, Gosling, Nichols, Chamberlain.
Subs: Cairns, Jay, Watkins, Pope.
Goal: Gosling (47), Jay (70, 77), Nichols (73), Keohane (78), Watkins (85), Tillson (88).