Grecians youth side fall to the Gas
Exeter City’s under-18s suffered a 1-0 defeat to the hands of Bristol Rovers as their quest to defend their Youth Alliance South West title suffered a blow.
A solitary Gas goal midway through the first half was enough to separate the teams, leaving City stuck in third place in the standings, nine points off first-placed AFC Bournemouth.
With last week’s FA Youth Cup defeat still fresh in the minds of some of the players, coach Lee Skyrme selected the same starting XI, in a hope to get a positive response from his side.
Possession was much in favour with the Grecians, however their build up play lacked the desired tempo needed to break a resolute Rovers defence down.
Many neat passing moves often broke down in the final third for the visitors, as it proved to be a frustrating afternoon for Skyrme’s men.
Defensively Exeter looked in a strong position also, restricting the hosts to long range efforts, however just past the 20 minute mark, a little bit of luck gave the home side the lead.
In another hopeful effort from 25 yards, the Devon club have managed to throw bodies in the way of the initial shot, only to take the ball beyond goalkeeper, Kavanagh Keadell’s reach, and go in off the post to give them the lead.
It was the one fortunate piece of play that proved decisive in an even half. Skyrme changed personnel at half-time in a hope to get back into the match.
However, once again, with all the possession they had, City were unable to use it productively, creating minimal chances as they got into Bristol’s defensive third.
Even the introduction of forwards Dean Billingsley and Frank Rosenwald were unable to bring a goal, as the game petered out to a 1-0 defeat.
Skyrme will now be hoping the young Grecians can get back to winning ways with their next match, which is away to Newport County AFC this weekend – their conquerors in the Youth Cup last week.
Under-18 coach Lee Skyrme said: “The match wasn’t the most spectacular, with goalscoring chances limited for both sides. However the key ingredient that was lacking from our game was the change in tempo in the final third.
“Both teams weren’t brilliant. They had a few bright moments, however most of their play was in front of our defence, so we looked comfortable at the back. And we have had a couple of good opportunities, but we didn’t produce enough quality in the final third to really test their goalkeeper.
“Alex Byrne worked tirelessly in midfield. He had a lot of close attention from the opposition but he worked hard in trying to make things happen for us, whilst Josh Read and Charlie Madden were solid in defence and kept us organised throughout the match.
“It’s been an intense few months for us, so we are looking to have a good week in preparation for Saturday, where I will be hoping our playing levels will be up to standard and we can get the performance we are after.”
Exeter City U18: Keadell, Rehemi, Madden, Down, Read, Egan, Hayfield, Byrne, Merritt, Charles, Gill.
Subs: Richards, Billingsley, Rosenwald.