Grecians beaten last weeekendEXETER CITY's Under-18s suffered a narrow 1-0 defeat to Leyton Orient at the Cliff Hill Training Ground last weekend.
A goal from the visitors just past the hour mark was enough to separate the two sides, when a draw seemed the fairest and likeliest result between two very entertaining teams.
The game started with a high tempo from the very beginning, and the Grecians’ defence were tested by a team who had won all of their previous three matches in the Merit League.
Coming off the back of two resounding 4-0 victories, Orient looked to take the early initiative in the contest. But the hosts proved to be made of sterner stuff, and breaking the deadlock would require more quality than their speculative long shots that they tried in the opening exchanges.
After defending resolutely, keeping their clean sheet intact, Exeter grew into the game. They started creating chances of their own, but the attacking duo of Ben Seymour and Archie Collins weren’t able to find a clear sighting of the London club’s goal.
It was evident that both sides were comfortable with the ball, despite their contrasting styles. City’s short and sharp passing was easy on the eye, whilst the away team possessed a game plan that was very direct.
Whilst both teams looked for that important first goal of the game, half-time came with the score still at 0-0. The Devon outfit were happy at the interval, but with it still being goalless, they needed to commit more men forward in search of the opener.
The Grecians started the second half well, and again looked good in possession as they tried to create a decent opening. As the game grew older, the more the hosts looked in control, but as the game reached midway through the second period, the first goal arrived.
Slightly against the run of play, after winning a corner from a quick break, and initially clearing the first ball from the set piece, an overhead kick was executed to perfection, and had enough to beat Kavanagh Keadell and his scrambling defence and end up in the back of the Exeter net.
It was slightly harsh on City, and to find a leveller, they had to breach a defence that hadn’t conceded a goal in the Merit League so far.
The O’s became effective in breaking up the game and halting any City onslaught as they looked for an equaliser. Despite coach Lee Skyrme tweaking his tactics, and bringing Frank Rosenwald and Will Richards off of the bench, his team were just lacking the bodies in attack when they got in behind the away team’s defence, and were unable to really test the Orient goalkeeper.
It meant as the full-time whistle sounded that the Exeter side headed off the pitch disappointed. They just couldn’t find a goal to grab a deserved draw from a game where they had matched their very good opponents, and they will be hoping to put in that kind of performance, and grab a positive result next time out.
ECFC Under-18s coach Lee Skyrme: "In what was a very competitive game of football, I thought the team played really well. To a man the boys played great, but perhaps we didn’t create as many opportunities as we normally would.
"The goal was preventable. We’ve pressed them well, but they’ve managed to get the ball down in midfield and slide a pass through which we have put out for a corner. Their forward has executed a bicycle-kick really well, but if we did our jobs right in the build up to the goal, that wouldn’t have happened.
"I was really pleased with how we were playing up to the point of the goal, and we were ok after. I’m happy with our competitiveness, and the way we saw out their spells of pressure too. We’re pleased with the way we have moved the ball, and the lads know that they have played well, so it’s understandable that they have come away from the match disappointed.
"Leyton Orient were well organised and hard-working in defence, and they were very streetwise once they took the lead. They knew how to frustrate us which knocked our rhythm, and that is the main learning point from the game. They’ve kept their fourth clean sheet now in a row, but I feel we’ve helped them achieve that by not committing numbers when we have attacked.
"It was a good response to last week’s defeat, and we are certainly heading in the right direction. We have a tough away trip to Southend United next, so I’m hoping we can head down there with the same mentality, up parts of our game, and grab a positive result."
Exeter City Under-18s: Kavanagh Keadell, Kyle Egan, Jordan Storey, Nick Grimes, Brandon Green, Jamie Harkness, Steve Rodgers, Cameron Hargreaves, Mustafa Rehemi, Archie Collins, Ben Seymour
Subs: Frank Rosenwald, Will Richards, Alex Hartridge,