Academy manager contented with City youngsters
Simon Hayward, Head of Exeter City’s Academy, was disappointed with the under-18 side’s 4-3 reverse against Swindon Town on Wednesday, but ultimately pleased with the way they played on the night.
City have a recent history of being knocked out of the FA Youth Cup in the first round – and although the outcome was the same again, it wasn’t down to being overawed by the occasion.
Eliminations in previous years have often been notable by the under-par performance, but Hayward felt that this time around they were probably no more than a fraction off the pace in what was an entertaining tie with some fine creative football being shown.
And, of course, while the boys are still Academy players, the learning-curve that they are on en route to a professional career is a more important than the result of the fixture.
“As much as we were disappointed with the result last night, I don’t think the performance was a million miles away from our week-in, week-out standard,” said Hayward. “It was ten or 15 per cent off, and Swindon were five or ten per cent better than they were when we beat them 5-0 in the league.
“The pleasing part is that I don’t think the occasion got to the lads. That group of second-year scholars are probably the best group we’ve had behind the crop that had Jordan Moore-Taylor, Jacob Jagger Cane, Jamie Reid, Jake Gosling and Jacob Wannell.
“There are six of them that are up for decisions at the end of the year, and as an Academy we’re very hopeful that the current crop can go on and do as well as that group.
“If we can get four or five of these offered a contract, and three or four are still here and breaking into the first team in the next couple of years, then that’s the result that matters more so than losing 4-3 against Swindon.”