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Academy: Exeter City under-18s go into this weekend's clash with Portsmouth top of the table

2 September 2016

AFC Bournemouth 0 Exeter City 4

Exeter City under-18s travel to Portsmouth this Saturday still top of the EFL Youth Alliance South West division following a 4-0 away win at AFC Bournemouth last week.

Goals from Josh Key and Brandon Parsons, either side of a Ben Seymour brace, meant the young Grecians have now stretched their 100 per cent record to four games.

After three home victories, City were on the road first time and travelled east to Dorset in what they knew was going to be another tough encounter, this time against the youth side of a Premier League outfit.

In fact it was the Cherries who started the brighter, with an excellent and positive start. They particularly threatened from set-pieces and if it wasn’t for Lewis Williams in the Exeter goal, then the hosts may well have found themselves ahead.

The shot-stopper made two really good saves in the early exchanges, however after the opening 15 minutes, Dan Green’s men saw a lot more of the ball. Despite the slower start they began to dictate the tempo of the match after, and they began to create chances for their forwards, whilst without the ball, they defended in an assured manner.

It was that attitude without the ball that led to the first goal of the game. After a high press from the visitors, the Bournemouth goalkeeper scuffed his clearance. The ball struck an onrushing Seymour, before Key buried the loose ball into the back of the net to give his team the lead.

Half-time came, and after Green addressed the issues with his side, the Devon youngsters started the second half on fire.

Just a minute had been played and the lead had been doubled.

Harry Kite raced down his wing, before crossing the ball into Seymour, and the striker fired the ball past the opposition goalkeeper to really put his team in the ascendency.

Exeter continued to enjoy the majority of the possession, and they grabbed a third goal midway through the second period.

The magnificent Joel Randell slid the ball through to Seymour, and the forward finished cooly which wrapped up the three points despite a quarter of the game still left to play.

With 15 minutes remaining, substitute Parsons bundled home a fourth after Joe O’Loughlin’s initial cross had hit the woodwork.

The remaining minutes saw the away side ease their way to a clean sheet and victory, recording another fine win to keep them top of the league. The young Grecians will perhaps face their toughest test in their next fixture when they travel to second-placed Portsmouth.

Coach Dan Green, said: “They started the better side, but I feel they were just having a spell, and our guys did well to defend well through it. Part of Lewis Williams’ job is to make crucial saves, and he has helped us out with two early on today so a big well done goes to him, because if we had gone behind it may have been a completely different game.

“We started to dominate the ball, but when they had possession we were happy with where they were keeping it. We’ve scored two of our goals from good presses and i’m happy to see we are getting rewarded for our defensive understanding. I’m delighted we have kept a clean sheet also.

“Josh Key and Joe O’Loughlin did well on their first starts of the season. It is important to know we have players ready to step in and perform and they certainly did that today. Joel Randell continued to show his high level of consistency, and showed why he is a big asset for us defensively today with the way he broke up play and ready the game. He was very good.

“As a team, we are continually looking to improve. Despite us being not at our absolute best, this was a 7 out of 10 performance, and we have made more progress. Everything has to improve every week, and it’s important we continue to develop on a weekly basis, because if we do that, they results will hopefully take care of themselves.”

Exeter City under-18s: Lewis Williams, Alex Hartridge, Max Gillard, Mitch Thomas, Harry Kite, Joe O’Loughlin, Joel Randell, Max Smallcombe, Cameron Hargreaves, Josh Key, Ben Seymour

Subs: Lucas White, Brandon Parsons, Ollie Jarrett, Josh Hancock, Sam Haynes.

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