Grecians downed by the RobinsExeter City’s under-18s suffered a dent in their push to defend their Youth Alliance South West division league title with a 4-0 defeat away to Cheltenham Town.
With many first team players absent through injury, a depleted squad travelled to Gloucestershire, and a well-organised Robins’ side were too strong for the visitors.
Despite a satisfactory start, the downward spiral started as soon as the first Town goal was scored, and with the Grecians perhaps not applying their game as they had done in previous matches, it was always going to be hard work for them.
However midway through the second period a bright spark did arrive for City in the shape of under-14 Ethan Ampadu, making his debut for the under-18s.
The youngster, who had just won the Victory Shield for the Wales under-16 squad, was drafted into the side as a result of the missing personnel from the regular under-18s squad, and he looked at home.
The positive impact he brought onto the team was evident, however it wasn’t enough to swing the result, as the game came to a close at 4-0.
With top spot in the league standings looking increasingly unlikely, the under-18s will now have to work hard to try and achieve a top three finish, to go into the stronger division after Christmas.
Under-18 coach Lee Skyrme said: “It was a bad performance from us, and perhaps the poorest I’ve seen us play since I arrived at Exeter City.
“We went away from the things we normally do on the pitch, and what we talked about and worked on we didn’t put into practise.
“A real positive from the game is Ethan Ampadu’s performance off the bench. For a 14-year-old, he looked very good.
“This will be a harsh lesson on the players, but now we have to regroup and try to perform next time against Portsmouth.”
Exeter City U18s: Keadell, Down, Madden, Read, Egan, Hayfield, Harkness, Merritt, Charles, Richards, Rehemi.
Subs: Ampadu, Collins, Seymour, Williams.