City fightback from a goal down to win, with strikes from Lucas White and Archie CollinsExeter City’s under-18s produced a second half comeback to inflict a 2-1 defeat to local rivals Yeovil Town in their first match of this season’s Youth Alliance South West division.
Goals from Lucas White and Archie Collins turned a 1-0 half-time deficit into a lead for City and the hosts stood firm and held on to a precious three points, despite a rejuvenated Glovers team coming back at them.
Dan Green took charge of Exeter for his first competitive match, and the coach acknowledged his team’s character after coming from behind to win the game.
Though it was a tight and edgy first 10 minutes both teams were trying to string passes together.
The Grecians perhaps enjoyed more of the possession, and on 12 minutes striker Ben Seymour headed wide from White’s deep cross as the game started to flow.
The visitors were perhaps looking more threatening from set-plays, and twice went close after two long-throws from the left flank.
In between Yeovil’s chances however, the Devon club still enjoyed a large majority of the ball, and Seymour kept the opposition defence honest when he flashed a volley goal-bound, which was blocked by the away side’s centre-back.
But in the 28th minute, it was Town who took the lead. A header from a corner flew over City goalkeeper Lewis Williams. The ball struck the crossbar and bounced over the line to give the visitors the opening goal.
Green’s men tried to respond but were failing to test the goalkeeper when they found themselves in decent areas. Captain Max Smallcombe shot over from long range before Seymour fired a shot across goal.
But the closest City came was just before the interval when Seymour wriggled free of his marker to send a diving header towards goal. The effort bounced off the post and away to safety summing up a frustrating 45 minutes for the hosts.
However it was a bright start from Exeter in the second period, and Cameron Hargreaves shot into the side netting in the early stages to show signs of intent.
After a good interception from defender Alex Hartridge, White was adjudged to have been offside when he received the defender’s pass before rolling the ball into the corner.
After 56 minutes, an equaliser arrived. A long kick from keeper Williams was smartly flicked on by Collins. Seymour latched onto ball to slide White down the right channel, and he cut inside the defender and finished off a well-worked goal to restore parity.
Just two minutes later and the game was completely turned around. Good high pressing from the hosts saw Seymour pick out Collins, and the latter showed good composure to tuck home his team’s second goal.
The 2-1 lead was completely deserved, however Yeovil almost drew level moments later when their attacker intercepted a short backpass, but Williams denied the forward with a good save from what was a golden opportunity.
The two teams continued to trade efforts, and midway through the half the visitors saw an effort hit the post as they continued to search for an equaliser.
City perhaps should have doubled their advantage when Seymour shot wide as time ticked down, with Green resorting to his substitutes bench to solidify his defence and make sure of the result.
His side managed to hold on, in what was a testing encounter. Town put up a good fight with their physical and aerial play, but the quality of football shone through, which gave Exeter a deserved victory to start off the new season in the Youth Alliance South West division.
Under-18s coach, Green: “I’m delighted with the character of the boys today. I feel they got their reward for a long and hard pre-season, and were also rewarded for the way they stuck together and did their jobs today.
“The message at half-time was that we had to continue with what we were doing, but execute them better. I feel we were a bit nervous and anxious at the beginning of the match, and if we had taken our opportunities then it might have been a different game.
“Archie Collins was excellent. I was happy with his work rate and the way he carried the ball, and his goal was a nice bonus and well deserved.
“In some ways it was the perfect win. There were reminders out there that we aren’t the finished article, and out there on the football pitch there are no hiding places for mistakes. Against a different opponent it may have been different but overall it was a good win at the start of the new season.”
City under-18s: Lewis Williams, Sam Haynes, Ethan Ampadu, Alex Hartridge, Harry Kite, Cameron Hargreaves, Joel Randell, Max Smallcombe, Archie Collins, Lucas White, Ben Seymour