Exeter City U18 4 Southend United 1

Grecians get the better of Shrimpers

The Grecians’ under-18 contingent got back to winning ways in the Youth Alliance Merit League 1 in emphatic style – beating visiting Southend United 4-1 at the Cat & Fiddle.

City have might have opened the lead even earlier – after a free-kick hit the Shrimpers wall, Joe Charles recycled the ball and picked out the head of Cameron Gill, whose effort was saved acrobatically.

Exeter were somewhat fortunate to not concede first though – Toby Down didn’t trap a ball forward but the Southend striker didn’t take advantage, pulling his shot past Kavanagh Keadell’s far post.

And Down made his impact at the other end instead – a simple bit of movement allowed him to steal a march at the near post as Charles delivered a low corner from the right, and he directed a left-footed shot on the half-volley inside the sticks for the lead.

Moments later defender Down had doubled the lead – another corner, this time from the left, was chested on by fellow defender Josh Read and sat kindly for Down to take one touch to set and another to shoot low and in from six yards.

Will Richards then forced an impressive save from Josh Bexon after some persistence down the right, before Down was denied a hat-trick as he headed another corner goalwards – only to see it cleared off the line.

But Exeter did hold a three-goal lead going into the break – Alex Byrne intercepted in midfield and played a smart one-two Dean with Billingsley before teeing up Charles – the first effort was kept out but Gill followed in quickly.

The lead was reduced to two early after the interval – Brandon Green upended Nico Cotton and despite the challenge taking place a clear yard outside the area, the referee pointed to the spot.  Keadell guessed the right way but the shot from visiting captain Ross Johnson had too much on it.

A moment of madness saw Southend reduced to ten men – Jordan Williams kicked out with venom at Richards, leaving the match official with an easy decision.

City added their fourth and final goal with 15 minutes to play, as Byrne’s inswinging corner from the right was allowed to travel all the way through and nestled inside the far post.