Grecians and Robins share spoils in eight-goal gameIn an entertaining game for the neutral, Exeter City’s under-18s drew 4-4 with Swindon Town.
The Grecians were unlucky not to take three points from the match after leading for the first time in the game with five minutes remaining, however a late goal from the away side meant both sides settled for a point.
Coach Lee Skyrme will be delighted with his team’s clinical nature, particularly in the second half, with their goals coming from Dean Billingsley, Max Smallcombe, as well as a brace from Frank Rosenwald.
However defensively it was a day to forget for both sides, with attack proving to be the best form of defence as both sides went all out to find a way to outscore their opponent.
Exeter started on the back foot, struggling to get any authority in midfield in the opening 10 minutes.
Conditions were difficult, as the weather made City’s passing game difficult, which consequently led to the hosts’ finding themselves go behind in the early exchanges.
However despite the scoreline, the Grecians sprung into life and discovered their rhythm. A slickness was apparent in their play as the trio of Dan Hayfield, Max Smallcombe and Jamie Harkness in the Grecian midfield became the heartbeat of every attack.
However Skyrme’s men weren’t able to find a goal of their own in the first period, however there were signs that were encouraging despite them still trailing.
But early on in the second half, they soon found themselves on level terms. Striker Rosenwald, seized his opportunity from a corner and levelling the scores deservedly for his side.
However the Robins were to take the lead once again after a defensive mix up, before the score became 2-2 in a manic few moments.
Joe Charles led an Exeter counter attack, and his mazy run and shot led to Dean Billingsley tapping in from close range to restore parity.
The game turned into an end-to-end spectacle, with action happening in both penalty boxes throughout the frantic second 45 minutes.
A quality finish from the visitors then made it 2-3, before a good passing move from the resulting kick off led to Max Smallcombe receiving the ball in the middle of the park, before scoring an impressive solo goal to level once again.
With not long remaining, the Devon outfit took the lead for the first time in the match with Rosenwald’s second.
Following good interplay from the hosts, ripping the Town defence apart, Billingsley saw his first effort saved, before Rosenwald followed up and finished emphatically.
With five minutes remaining, in an already high goalscoring match, all the Grecians had to do was to stay tight defensively for the closing minutes, however, a lapse in concentration allowed the ball to find its way into the back of the City net once more to make it 4-4.
With the game going into added time, there was still one more moment late on for the home side, however Rosenwald squandered his opportunity for his hat trick, leaving both teams settling for a point despite the proficiency of their attacks.
Under-18 coach Lee Skyrme said: “I believe there were more positives to take from this game than negatives. We’re glad we have scored four times, got a decent point, however we are disappointed with all the goals we have conceded.
“We had a much better second half because we won possession back more effectively, however we didn’t manage the game well enough, and we should’ve done better once we got ahead in the game.
“With some of our players still suffering with illnesses, we’ve done well in difficult circumstances. Frank [Rosenwald] grew into the game and put in a decent performance whilst I was also pleased with Max [Smallcombe] and with what Kyle Egan offered us in both attack and defence.
“I feel we’ve made some progress in areas, but we know we’ve got to continue to work hard as there are things that still require work, and we’ll be hoping for more improvements next time out.”
Exeter City U18s: Keadell, Down, Madden, Read, Egan, Harkness, Hayfield, Smallcombe, Charles, Rosenwald, Billingsley.
Subs: Merritt, Collins, Ampadu.