Grecains pegged by three times by resilient RoversExeter City’s under-18s were pegged back three times as they drew with Bristol Rovers at Cliff Hill training ground on Saturday in an eventful 3-3 draw.
City struck through Brandon Parsons, Ben Seymour and Max Smallcombe, but each time they had taken the lead, they couldn’t build on the initiative.
Under-18s coach, Dan Green, shuffled the pack making several changes to his starting XI. Parsons started in attack, whilst Max Gillard and Mitch Thomas came into a defence that had been vacated by Ethan Ampadu due to his call up to Paul Tisdale’s first team.
Just six minutes had been played when City netted the opener. The high pressing effort by Archie Collins led to a loose ball as Rovers tried to play their way out of defence. It was Parsons who got to the ball first and the striker coolly converted his one-on-one opportunity.
Midfielders Smallcombe and Joel Randell helped create more chances for the hosts, unlocking the Pirates’ defence with some fine through balls, however City’s youngsters failed to convert the openings as they looked for their second goal.
Green’s men were to be punished for this when the visitors grabbed an equaliser on 24 minutes from a direct free-kick.
Just before half-time though City nudged themselves into a well-deserved lead once more.
From good attacking play down the wing, a cross from Collins found Seymour, and although his initial header was blocked, he showed good predatory instincts to send the rebound home.
The Gas started the brighter in the second period, and on 52 minutes they found their second of the game to level the scores.
The response was good from City and seven minutes later they retook the lead.
A smart move down the flank saw the ball pulled back to the edge of the penalty box, and Smallcombe fired past the goalkeeper to make it 3-2.
Halfway through the second half, the away team showed tremendous character as they found a third equaliser, in what was becoming a really open game.
Green resorted to his substitutes’ bench to try and liven up his side, however despite their positive impacts, they couldn’t help the Grecians add a fourth as the game ended in a draw.
City’s under-18s coach Dan Green, said: “I was delighted with the first half.
“It was a complete contrast to last week when we started slowly, and perhaps the best half of football we have played since I arrived.
“It would not have been flattering if we came into half-time with a two or three goal lead.
“However there is a room for improvement in our second half performance. I feel we may have hurt our chances in the second half through the intensity of our first half performance, however we can not use that as an excuse, and we have got to get better and stronger.
“My man of the match was Joel Randell, though I thought Mitch Thomas, Harry Kite and Max Gillard all did very well too.
“This was a good example to the guys that if you aren’t quite at it at certain points in the game, you can get punished for it. I’m delighted that they have the chance to learn from this opportunity, but I’m reasonably satisfied we have managed to get four points from our first two games.”
Exeter City under-18s:Lewis Williams, Sam Haynes, Max Gillard, Mitch Thomas, Harry Kite, Cameron Hargreaves, Joel Randell, Max Smallcombe, Archie Collins, Brandon Parsons, Ben Seymour.Subs not used:Lucas White, Arnie Kingman, Josh Key, Josh Hancock, Joe O’Loughlin