Exeter City’s under-18s recorded a comfortable victory with a thumping 4-1 victory over Newport County AFC in the . Jason Pope, Ollie Watkins, Alex Byrne and Cameron Gill all scored for City, who were in complete control from the opening exchanges.
In fact just five minutes were on the clock when the Grecians recorded their first effort on goal, which gave the hosts an early lead.
After defending a corner with relative ease, a quick Exeter counter-attack, led by the ever-influential Matt Jay, saw the forward time his reverse pass to perfection to allow the energetic Pope to burst onto the ball, and coolly slot the ball home.
The attacking players for the Devon outfit were terrorising the opposition defence, with Byrne and Watkins both seeing opportunities narrowly miss as a second goal looked inevitable. And with another wave of continuous onslaughts from Lee Skyrme’s boys, on 17 minutes, the lead was doubled.
Byrne dribbled his way into the middle of the park and exchanged passes with Jay. The midfielder then found Watkins with a disguised through ball who acknowledged the pass with a shot just as impressive; the ball flying past the Newport goalkeeper and into the top corner for arguably the goal of the match.
County’s only chance in the first period was a rather speculative effort from 25 yards, but it was the Westcountry side who continued to look the more likely to score again.
The clock showed 41 minutes when Watkins, who continuously caused havoc down the Exeter left, turned the opposing defender once again to set-up another glorious chance.
The 17-year-old could easily have shot himself, however he was unselfish and teed up the advancing Byrne to score the goal his performance merited and give the City a 3-0 lead at half time.
As the pitch worsened, the passing game of the home team became a little more disjointed, however that didn’t stop the Grecians’ from creating chances, with Pope, and defender Hussein Heidari both going close early on in the second half.
As substitutions were being made from both sides, the two teams still pressed for a goal, and things became interesting 19 minutes into the second half when the visitors scored.
With arguably the best opportunity the Newport side had, they equalised with a glancing header from a free kick to give themselves a chance.
However substitute Cameron Gill made sure there was no such comeback with a quarter of the game remaining. The striker capitalised on a defensive mix-up, and converted the simplest task to help restore the three-goal cushion and confirm the result.
Exeter City U18s
1 James Hamon
2 Hussein Heidari
3 Connor Riley-Lowe
4 James Byrne
5 Charlie Madden
6 Toby Down
7 Alex Byrne
8 Jason Pope
9 Dean Billingsley
10 Matt Jay
11 Ollie Watkins
12 Cameron Gill
14 Toby Gostling
16 Joe Charles