Goals from Hussein Heidari and Matt Jay earned Exeter City’s under 18’s a hard-fought 2-2 draw against Hereford United last weekend.
Despite finding themselves a goal down in controversial circumstances, the Grecians hit back with two of their own in an excellent first-half display.
Hereford managed to snatch a leveller in the second period, and despite all of City’s efforts in finding the winner, it ended all-square in a tight affair.
The match began with Exeter on top with their controlling possession football, with numerous opportunities created from the visitors.
After a hard week of training, the tactics were applied brilliantly by Lee Skyrme’s men. But against the run of play, they were undone by the opening goal from the home side.
A debatable free-kick had been awarded to the Bulls which, after a good save from James Hamon initially, Hereford scored from.
However, the opposing shot-stopper, who had been the busier of the two goalkeepers, keeping his side in it beforehand, saw all his efforts thwarted instantly.
Like something that had come off the training ground, Matt Jay slipped in a precise through ball to full-back Hussein Heidari who coolly slotted home an equaliser.
It was the least that the Grecians deserved, considering they were the team that had been on top in the opening exchanges.
After more decent spells of possession, Exeter found their second goal of the game through Matt Jay. Centre-back Charlie Madden clipped a ball over United’s defence and Jay pounced on the ball and finished clinically to give his side the lead.
Half-time arrived and arguably the Devon outfit should have had more than their one-goal advantage, but that was cancelled out just six minutes into the second half.
After a good showing in the first period, City’s back-four lost focus momentarily, from which Hereford scored off the back of a defensive mistake.
It was frustrating for everyone to see after such a dominant opening 45 minutes, and to allow the Bulls back into the game was almost criminal.
United changed their attacking play to a more direct style, using it to devastating effect in creating numerous chances at Hamon’s goal.
City panicked, and lost their focus in trying to win the game. Tactics were almost abandoned as they flooded forward trying to find a third.
However they would often get caught out playing without discipline, as Hereford themselves came close to another on several occasions.
Despite the chances coming at either end, it remained two goals apiece, in a match that possibly Exeter felt they could have gone on to win on another day.
Under-18 coach Lee Skyrme said: “There was a lot of pleasing aspects in the first half that we worked on in training, and it was nice to see them come off in devastating effect.
“Overall I think it was a solid team performance, where we controlled the game for 50 minutes.
“The goals we conceded were disappointing from our point of view, and we will want to rectify the result with another decent performance next time out.”
Exeter City Under-18s
1 James Hamon
2 Hussein Heidari
3 Connor Riley-Lowe
4 James Byrne
5 Charlie Madden
6 Toby Down
7 Joe Charles
8 Jason Pope
9 Dean Billingsley
10 Matt Jay
11 Ollie Watkins
12 Alex Byrne
14 Cameron Gill
16 Will Richards