Academy report: Cheltenham 1 Exeter City 0

Disappointing result for under-18s

Exeter City’s under-18s narrowly lost 1-0 to Cheltenham Town last weekend in a closely fought contest in Gloucestershire.

The solitary goal, scored by the home side in the first half from a set-play, meant in a game where clear-cut goalscoring opportunities were limited, it was enough to separate the two sides on the scoresheet.

Despite the defeat, the Devon club still sit third in the Youth Alliance South West division table, just a point behind Bristol Rovers who sit top of the league with 11 points before this weekend’s fixtures.

Dan Green and his men though will be slightly disappointed they couldn’t return to the top of the standings though, as they started their match against the Robins in a bright fashion.

The hard-working hosts meant open chances came at a premium however for the Grecians, whilst Town looked the most threatening from set-pieces.

It remained tight throughout the opening 45 minutes, however with the game still goalless, Cheltenham fashioned another opportunity from a corner, before converting the chance past Lewis Williams in the Exeter goal to make it 1-0 before the interval.

Green’s youngsters came back out in a spirited fashion in the second half, and started creating some better scoring opportunities.

Captain Max Smallcombe saw two long-range efforts saved by the Robins’ shot-stopper, whilst Lucas White also tested the reflexes of the in-form goalkeeper.

The sustained pressure from City eventually led to Archie Collins winning a penalty for the visitors, however the ‘keeper was to deny Ben Seymour from the spot as luck seemed to be with the home team.

In spite of the efforts of the Westcountry side, they were the ones to leave Cheltenham empty handed, however everyone associated with the squad will be reflecting on the many positives from the performance, and believing the match was another good learning opportunity for the team.

Exeter City’s Academy Manager Simon Hayward, said: “It’s a disappointing result but I’m not terribly disappointed with the performance. They were a team that were robust, and had a high intensity, which provided us with a good challenge. The referee gave some soft and debatable decisions, and wasn’t allowing us to play our way.

“We weren’t bad, and in the second half when we were chasing the game, it isn’t always easy against a team who are hard working. It was a game with fine margins, and we just need to find a way to do a little bit more so we can come away from these games with a 1-0 win rather than a 1-0 defeat.”