Grecians end all square against the ShrimpersEXETER CITY's Under-18s came away from a long journey to Southend with a point after a 2-2 draw in their fifth game of their Merit League One fixture list.
A Frank Rosenwald finish, as well as a goal from the combined efforts of Alex Hartridge and Will Richards, gave the Grecians a two-goal advantage. But a resurgent Shrimpers fought back after the interval, and scored twice in the second half to level the scores.
City tried to find the fifth goal of the match, however that potential winner deserted them, and they left the South East with just a disappointing draw.
The Grecians started on the front foot, and despite the pitch not being in the greatest condition, Lee Skyrme’s side were able to move the ball relatively well.
Their early dominance paid off, as they took the lead on seven minutes. After Rosenwald latched onto an Archie Collins pass, the striker took his chance coolly to give the visitors a deserved lead.
The Devon club’s dominance continued as they looked to find more goals, but they would find the Southend goalkeeper in inspired form, and his diving saves kept the score down to just 1-0.
Kyle Egan perhaps had the best opportunity, but the Grecians captain was to be thwarted by the excellent United shotstopper, who kept his team in it with his impressive display.
The away team were also denied a penalty, and it looked as if luck was against them, but they did get a deserved second on the half-hour mark when they attacked down the left flank. Hartridge unleashed a shot that deflected off Richards to make it 2-0.
It meant that City went into half-time with a deserved lead, but perhaps they should have scored more because of their supremacy.
But the deficit was halved one minute after the break. A long range strike that bobbled horribly off of the uneven surface deceived goalkeeper Lewis Williams, and the ball ended up in the back of the Exeter net.
The West Country outfit were unable to come to terms with the rejuvenated hosts, and they continued to come forward to find a leveller.
Skyrme’s men were also in search of a goal, as they continued to carve out openings for Rosenwald, Collins, and Mustafa Rehemi, but the luck of the bounce wasn’t favouring them when they got into decent areas.
With twenty minutes left the home side found an equaliser from a free-kick which left Williams no chance as it found the top corner. Their second goal woke the young Grecians up, and they responded to it with a positive attitude.
The visitors got back to the levels they were playing at in the first half, but luck continued to elude them at the crucial moments. Substitute Jack Sparkes was unable to find his man with a cross, before Rosenwald couldn’t execute a pull-back because of a bobble off of the pitch. They were chances perhaps they would have taken on a flat and even playing surface, but the pitch conditions meant they were unable to accomplish the things that they would normally do.
As the full-time whistle sounded, it meant City came away from a tough away trip with a credible draw, and ended their run of three straight defeats. But they will know this was perhaps two points dropped as they look to finish as high as they can in Merit League One.
Exeter City Under-18s Coach, Lee Skyrme: “I was really pleased with our first half. We dominated the play, and if we went into half-time with more goals, and I don’t think anybody could complain. For all of our good play and good chances, the irony is we have scored from two strikes that weren’t so great.
“Coming into the break with just two goals was a little disappointing, but I can’t really blame our poor finishing. We made some good chances and should have had two penalties. Their goalkeeper has made some excellent saves and if the pitch was a bit better then perhaps we could have scored more.
“However, in the second half they were much better than us. They were trying to get that quick first goal, and we have gifted it to them. We had our own chances, but they had the impetus after that goal, and we just needed to remember our first half performance and get back to that.
“I’m disappointed because we haven’t got the win. I wasn’t happy with our second half display, and there wasn’t enough consistency in our play. The mentality was disappointing at times and we failed to respond to their first goal. Hopefully we can put that right next time around.”
ECFC Under-18s: Lewis Williams, Kyle Egan, Jordan Storey, Nick Grimes, Alex Hartridge, Steve Rodgers, Cameron Hargreaves, Archie Collins, Mustafa Rehemi, Will Richards, Frank Rosenwald
Subs: Jamie Harkness, Jack Sparkes, Sam Haynes.