Perfect start continues for City's youth sideExeter City’s under-18s maintained their unbeaten start to their Youth Alliance South West campaign with another impressive 2-0 victory over Oxford United.
Goals from Dean Billingsley and Scott Merritt made sure the Grecians recorded an important home victory against arguably one of their rivals for the league title.
The match displayed quality throughout, with a high-tempo favouring both sides with the ball kept impressively by both sides. The football shown was easy on the eye and the high standards by both sides must be commended.
However just 10 minutes into the match, City found the important first goal. After another display of fine passing and good possession, the ball found its way to Joe Charles on halfway. His direct dribbling meant he teased the opposing defence with his running, with defenders afraid of bringing the attacker down as he approached the penalty area. His shot was fierce and spilled by the goalkeeper, allowed Billingsley to latch supply a finish to put the hosts in front.
The goal proved how clinical the Devon club were getting, whilst at the other end, United moved the ball around well and maintained possession, however they failed to really test Kavanagh Keadell in the Exeter goal.
Half-time arrived with a one-goal deficit between the sides, however Lee Skyrme and his men knew they had to remain focused as any slip-up could have brought their counterparts back in the game.
The home side reorganised themselves for the second half, and they began finding things easier as they started to dominate the match more.
Defensively, the Grecians found that they were much tighter and more organised, allowing the rest of the side to win the ball back higher up the field. Whilst in possession, the midfield helped keep the ball better, which consequently led to City doubling their lead on 55 minutes.
The hosts’ attacked with the ball landing at Will Richards’ feet. With a defender in his path, the midfielder lofted the ball in a superb piece of skill to round his man, squaring a ball which was only half-cleared to allow Merritt to fire in a volley and make the score 2-0.
Oxford continued to press and tried to find a way in breaking down a strong Exeter defence, however there was to be no way through for the visitors, with defender, Josh Read clearing the ball off the line for Westcountry side denying their opponents once again.
Read and his centre-back partner, Charlie Madden were proving hard to get past, with the duo very composed in everything they did, and helping keep a well-deserved clean sheet in the process.
The full-time whistle sounded and it meant Exeter kept perfect league record going, with a match against Devon rivals, Torquay United, next up for them.
Under-18 coach Lee Skyrme said: “I am very happy with the win. It was pretty comfortable and a good performance from the team.
“Oxford are a good side, and they had a decent first half, but in the second half we were a little more dominant, and dictated the tempo of the game.
“We were very solid at the back, and there were only very little differences between the two sides. We managed to hurt them more with the way we finished some of our opportunities.
“But overall I am very pleased with the performance. Win or lose, we always want to make sure our performance is 100 per cent and after today, I believe as a squad we are making good progress together.”
Exeter City U18s: Kavanagh Keadell, Kyle Egan Toby Down, Charlie Madden, Josh Read, Mustafa Rehemi, Dan Hayfield, Alex Byrne, Will Richards, Joe Charles, Dean Billingsley.
Subs: Scott Merritt, Jamie Harkness, Frank Rosenwald.