Simon Hayward thanks Exeter City supporters for atmosphere at FA Youth Cup tie

Fans applaud players off at the final whistle

Exeter City Academy manager Simon Hayward praised the club’s supporters for turning out in plenty of numbers and making such a positive atmosphere at Tuesday night’s FA Youth Cup game against Wigan Athletic.

The Grecians lost the tie in the final minute of extra-time as James Berry fired home from 25 yards to give the Latics a 2-1 victory. 

However, the performance from the Grecians was superb – as they took the lead through a well-worked move that was finished off by Jack Sparkes – before keeping their opponents at bay until the 82nd minute when a volley from Shane Donaghey found the back of the net.

The crowd upped the noise levels at various parts in the game, especially during extra-time when the young Grecians were getting tired and Simon (Hayward) admitted that helped lift his side.

“I want to say a massive thank you to the 630 plus fans who came to watch the game on Tuesday night,” said Simon. 

“Their support was magnificent. I know the players’ performance sometimes lifted the crowd, but there were definitely moments in the match when the supporters lifted the players and gave them that little bit of extra energy out on the pitch.

“Their support even gave me and Dan (Green, under-18s coach) a little bit of extra energy on the touchline.”

There was also a touching moment when a large number of the fans stayed at the final whistle to applaud the City players off the pitch, despite the defeat.

“I know the players appreciated that and it was great to see,” added Simon.