Exeter City’s under-18s recorded a 1-1 draw in their Devon Derby clash with title rivals Plymouth Argyle.
A second half goal from Matt Jay meant the points was shared between the two sides, however it left the Grecians feeling disappointed leaving Plymouth with just a draw.
City had started the match brightly, dominating possession and territory with a good use of the football. The away side carved out decent goal scoring opportunities, but they went able to convert their supremacy into anything on the scoresheet.
And ultimately the Pilgrims punished Exeter for it, with the hosts converting a chance against the run of play midway through the first period.
The goal proved to be a body blow for Lee Skyrme’s men, with anxiety creeping into their attacks. At times it looked rather forlorn as the Grecians started forcing the play towards their favour, with their natural free-flowing game absent in desperate times.
But with the pressures of a high stakes game exerted on the team, the u18s continued to remain hungry, and all of their efforts and focus remained on searching for the crucial second goal of the game.
Half-time came with the Greens still in front, and they started the better in the second half, however despite their onslaughts onto the Exeter goal, the away side continued to create chances of their own.
Changes were made on both sides, with Exeter throwing on Cameron Gill in place of defender Josh Read to add to an impressive arsenal of attacking options on the pitch.
And with 15 minutes to go, their efforts were rewarded when substitute striker, Gill, found space on the wing to cut the ball back to the prolific Matt Jay, who coolly slotted home his shot to level the score.
Jay continued his hot scoring streak, and perhaps this was the most important of his tally this season, finding an equaliser in a match which looked to be going away from City.
And with Skyrme’s men in the ascendancy, they almost snatched it in the closing moments, in a match which may have a high influence on who will secure the Youth Alliance South West league championship at the end of the season.
Under-18s coach Lee Skyrme said: “The boys are disappointed we haven’t won the game, because we showed in the first thirty minutes how good we can be.
“A positive from the game is how the boys looked determined to get a result from the match, even when we went a goal down.
“Perhaps our early substitution affected our flow, however I thought Charlie Madden played very well for us today.
“We’ve played good football all season and we’ll be hoping to get bounce straight back with a win against Torquay on Tuesday.”
Exeter City Under-18s
1 James Hamon
2 Hussein Heidari
3 Connor Riley-Lowe
4 James Byrne
5 Charlie Madden
6 Josh Read
7 Jason Pope
8 Alex Byrne
9 Dean Billingsley
10 Matt Jay
11 Ollie Watkins
12 Joe Charles
14 Cameron Gill
15 Jimmy Hines