Goals from Sparkes, Smallcombe and Collins earn City a place in the third round
Exeter City under-18s secured their passage to the FA Youth Cup third round with an impressive win and confident display at St James Park.
In an entertaining encounter it was City who created the decisive moments, and with good displays across the pitch it was the full-backs Josh Key and Jack Sparkes who impressed early on.
In fact it was these two who combined to set up the first goal. Key hit a deep cross to far post, and Sparkes got in ahead of two challenging defenders to nod in the opener after 27 minutes.
The game remained in the balance from there, but City doubled their lead just minutes into the second half when another raid down the left from Sparkes led to him being brought down in the box.
Captain Max Smallcombe stepped up to take the spot-kick and confidently smashed the ball past Dons keeper Nathan Pickworth at the Big Bank end.
Both sides continued to created chances, but despite the Dons attempts to get back into the game the result looked to be secure just before the hour when Archie Collins grabbed a headed goal at the far post.
From here on in the visitors sat higher up the pitch, and for long spells were camped in the City half, but Dan Green’s side reacted well to each situation with good positional work and committed tackling.
A clean sheet looked to be the icing on the cake for City, but the Dons got a consolation goal in the 84th minute when one of their brightest players on the night, Samuel Nombe, picked up the ball just on the edge of the six-yard box and rifled his shot past Williams.
City now go on to play Wigan Athletic at home on the 17th of December.
FULL-TIME: Exeter City 3 (Sparkes 27, Smallcombe 49, Collins 60) - MK Dons 1 (Nombe 84)
Exeter City under-18s: Williams, Key (Kite, 86), Sparkes, Gillard, Haynes, Hartridge, Thomas, Smallcombe, Seymour (Parsons, 78), Collins (Randall, 78), Hargreaves.
Subs not used: Phillips, O’Loughlin.
Booked: Archie Collins, Cam Hargreaves.
MK Dons under-18s: Pickworth, Kioso, Hope, Kasumu, Tapp, Omar, Nombe, Osei-Bonsu, Thomas-Asante, Logan (Bell, 31), Evans (Stratton, 64).
Subs not used: Jones, Jackson, Wright.
Referee: Craig Simpson
Assistants: Brian Lee – Kevin Moore