City beaten at Haye RoadEXETER CITY's Under-18s suffered a difficult defeat to the hands of rivals Plymouth Argyle last week after they went down 5-2 at Elburton Villa’s Haye Road on Thursday.
Despite defender Kyle Egan and attacker Mustafa Rehemi both scoring for Exeter, they were both merely consolations in a match which saw their defence punished for some sloppy errors.
The City Under-18s had already lost to their counterparts three times this season, and coming into the match off the back of their 3-1 defeat to AFC Bournemouth, Lee Skyrme and his men wanted to perform much better and grab a positive result to take back up the A38.
However in a game where they matched their opponents in certain periods, it was those careless times that cost City here. They were always facing an uphill task right from the start, and after an individual error cost them a goal quite early in the first period, things always seemed uphill.
Despite passing the ball quite well, the Grecians lacked a fight in their play, and their first half got worse when they went 2-0 down largely down to another individual error. At that point in the game, the Pilgrims’ play may not have merited the two goal cushion, but the away side weren’t creating enough to warrant a lead themselves.
However at just 2-0 down, they still had a chance to regroup and remain in the game. But the home team kept coming forward, and grabbed a third just before half-time when the Exeter defence failed to deal with the initial cross that entered the penalty box.
At half-time, Skyrme spoke to his team about their mentality of his players and asked to see a better application in the second period. He got just that, with the visitors coming out more fired up, and with more intention in their play.
In a complete contrast to the first period, Skyrme’s men got on top in the game, and pulled a goal back through Egan, their captain, just six minutes after the break. Rehemi missed a golden opportunity moments later, and arguably after the hour mark, the Grecians could have found themselves level if it wasn’t for their wasteful shooting.
Slightly against the run of play, Argyle scored again through a long range strike, before adding a fifth with a shot from the edge of the box. City kept coming forward themselves though, and just before the full-time whistle, they found another consolation through Rehemi, however it wasn’t enough to overhaul the clinical nature of the Plymouth side.
Exeter City Under-18s Coach Lee Skyrme: "Scoring twice away from home I thought we could have got something from the game, but I was disappointed with our application, and the fine details. We will have to get the basics right next time out.
"We passed and moved the ball well, but the difference was we gave them easy chances to score, and we weren’t clinical enough with our opportunities.
"We’ve gone from keeping five clean sheets from six games to conceding eight goals in two which isn’t good enough. We have got a hard game against Leyton Orient next when we will have to be focused right from the off.
"We have to get back to our solid defensive shape, but not lose our identity with our quick passing and movement also. I’m pleased with the way we are moving the ball from one box to the other because we have been causing teams problems, however, we have to get back to reaching the performance levels we were at earlier on in the season."
Exeter City Under-18s: Kavanagh Keadell, Ethan Ampadu, Jordan Storey, Nick Grimes, Kyle Egan, Max Smallcombe, Steve Rogers, Scott Merritt, Cameron Hargreaves, Mustafa Rehemi, Frank Rosenwald
Subs: Archie Collins, Ben Seymour, Lewis Williams, Jamie Harkness, Alex Hartridge