Grecians victorious at Woodspring StadiumExeter City were pre-season victors at Woodspring Stadium, defeating hosts Weston-super-Mare by a 2-1 scoreline.
Trialist Alex Fisher opened for City in the first half, before Tom Nichols netted within minutes of the restart.
Dale Grubb found the back of Exeter’s net soon after, but it wasn’t enough to salvage a result for the Somerset side.
Birthday boy Jamie Reid started in a three-man attack with Alex Nicholls and trialist Alex Fisher, while former Grecians midfielder Jacob Jagger Cane was named in the starting XI for the hosts.
Exeter had the better of the early chances, with Reid the first to register a meaningful shot as he cut in off the left flank, but goalkeeper made a solid save.
Defender Jordan Tillson then made a critical lunging tackle after Bradley Ash skipped through a challenge, before Kane Ingram saw a shot blocked by one of his own teammates.
City continued to pile on the pressure, and even when Reid beat goalkeeper Dan Jackson, stopper Clayton Fortune was well positioned to hack clear off the line and keep the scores level.
And Fisher was only the width of the woodwork away from finding the opener – Arron Davies, up from right-back, delivered a peach of a cross for the forward to attack, but the header bounced clear off the base of the near post.
Tom McCready then had a pop-shot after breaking forward from midfield, but his dipping effort didn’t quite fall underneath the crossbar. Soon after, Matt Jay showed good balance to hold off a number of challenges before rifling a right-footed drive, which Jackson parried away.
However McCready was instrumental in the opening goal, when it came. It was his lively burst through midfield which allowed him to find Craig Woodman in the channel, and his low driven cross was diverted past Jackson for the opener by Fisher.
Weston had been limited in their opportunities, although twice in quick succession they had equalising chances. First Danny Wring hit from the edge of the box, only to find goalkeeper Bobby Olejnik well-placed, before Jake Mawford’s deflected cross almost wrong-footed the City stopper, who ultimately got a glove on the ball.
Half-time: Weston-super-Mare 0 Exeter City 1
Exeter introduced a completely different XI for the second period, while hosts Weston made three subs of their own as the teams took on a different complexion.
And it was sub Nichols who profiteered within three minutes of the restart, as a loose defensive touch on the edge of the Weston box allowed City’s reigning Golden Boot winner to find the net for the first time in pre-season with a hammered effort from 18 yards.
Harley nearly added a third for Exeter as they broke swiftly on the counter from a Weston corner. The former Seagull pulled the trigger from a narrow angle when fed on the left, and his effort spun away from the near post and wide.
David Wheeler also came close to extending the lead when he showed good strength to hold up the ball, rolled his man smartly, and saw a left-footed effort blocked out.
However it was the visitors who netted the third of the game to reduce the arrears, and it was a delightful move through midfield which merited the goal.
Tristan Plummer combined neatly with Scott Wilson in the centre of the pitch before the latter released sub Grubb, who finished firmly past James Hamon with a first-time shot.
Lee Holmes came close to reestablising a two-goal cushion when his cross-shot from the right came in, following some neat footwork – however the ball whistled past the frame of the goal by a whisker.
Plummer had a chance to level the scores from a dead ball, 25 yards out – his free-kick has plenty of power, but was well wide of Hamon’s goal.
However Hamon was at full stretch to deny Bradley Ash late in the game, who had found a pocket of space, and a smart palm around the post kept City’s lead intact.
Full-time: Weston-super-Mare 1 Exeter City 2
Weston-super-Mare: Jackson; Withey, Barnes (Camper), Ingram (Keary), Jordan, Fortune, Mawford (Grubb), Cane, Wilson (Davis), Wring (Plummer), Ash.
Unused sub: Edge.
Exeter City (first half): Olejnik; Davies, Brown, Tillson, Woodman; Noble, McCready, Jay; Reid, Nicholls, Fisher.
Exeter City (second half): Hamon; Butterfield, Ribeiro, McAllister, Riley-Lowe; Harley, Pope, Oyeleke (Charles); Holmes, Wheeler (Watkins), Nichols.
Goals: Fisher, Nichols.
Referee: Adam Penwell