Academy report: Yeovil Town 1 Exeter City 2

Ben Seymour and Lucas White on target as City stretch their winning run

Exeter City’s Under-18s stretched their winning run to four games with a 2-1 victory away to Yeovil Town to remain top of the Youth Alliance South West division.

Ben Seymour and Lucas White both scored in the first half, with the visitors in control of proceedings for the majority of the match.

A late penalty halved the deficit for Town but the Grecians stood firm in the final few minutes to secure another one-goal victory.

From the start, Exeter looked to control the play with their short, sharp passing. They set a quick tempo to the match which proved to be effective when they came forward trying to unlock the Glovers’ defence.

From an attacking corner, City broke the deadlock with Seymour pouncing on a loose second ball to bundle the ball home and make it 1-0.

The opening goal provided something to build on for the away side, and they scored once more before half-time with Lucas White finding the net.

It meant as the half-time whistle sounded, the Devon club found themselves with the same scenario as their previous match; a two-goal advantage which may have been vulnerable if they didn’t start the second period well.

However, unlike the week previous, the Grecians remained switched on and rebuffed any chances that came Yeovil’s way.

In attack, Exeter looked to their three forwards to score another and kill the game off, but chances were limited as both defences remained solid in a tight second half.

Under-18s coach, Dan Green, shuffled the City pack and brought on Josh Hancock, Brandon Parsons, Cameron Hargreaves to add energy to the ranks. 

Goalkeeper Lewis Williams made his first appearance since returning to injury as time ticked down but, with 10 minutes left, it remained a close contest in a match where the next goal could have shifted momentum in the closing stages.

On 89 minutes the home side finally got a breakthrough when a penalty was awarded after some grappling in the 18-yard box.

The spot-kick was converted and with just injury time remaining, the hosts had a chance of snatching a draw. But in the time that was left, Green’s men stood firm to secure another victory in the Youth Alliance South West division.

ECFC Academy Manager Simon Hayward, said: “We started well and had a good first half, and our play performance was epitomised by Mitch Thomas in central midfield. He really set the tone for the game, and the high tempo and intensity to his play was excellent. It was the best 45 minutes we had seen from him all season.

“We went into half-time two goals ahead, which was similar to the week before, however we didn’t let up in the same way, though we didn’t do enough to kill the game off. The team learnt from the previous game, and if we had scored a third goal it would have killed off the contest.

“This is the fourth consecutive week where we have won by the odd goal. We are still waiting for that complete performance from the lads, but we have won once again whilst we haven’t been at our best. 

“Neither goalkeeper had any real saves to make in the second half, and besides the penalty, we never looked like conceding at any time. I think we controlled and managed the second half well enough.”

“Lewis Williams and Cameron Hargreaves made their first appearances for us after their respective concussions, and it is good to see them on the road to a full recovery."

“We’ve had one or two knocks recently, and it has been a while since we have been at full strength, but hopefully we can have all the lads back soon enough and we can continue this winning run that we are on.”

Exeter City under-18s: Charlie Phillips, Alex Hartridge, Sam Haynes, Joe O’Loughlin, Josh Key, Jack Sparkes, Mitch Thomas, Max Smallcombe, Joel Randell, Lucas White, Ben Seymour. Subs: Lewis Williams, Brandon Parsons, Cameron Hargreaves, Josh Hancock