Grecians finish seven points clear at the top of the table after win against Oxford
Exeter City’s under-18s completed their Youth Alliance South West league fixtures last weekend with a 1-0 victory over Oxford United.
Brandon Parsons scored the solitary goal for the hosts in a game which, despite not being at their best, still produced 17 shots from the table toppers and although the scoreline was far from emphatic, ended with plenty of positives for the City youngsters.
The win leaves the Grecians finishing seven points clear of their closest rivals and they can go into Merit League One full of confidence when the two Southern sections combine in the second half of this promising season for the under-18s.
The home team started brightly, with Parsons, Ben Seymour, and Lucas White starting in attack for Exeter.
White combined well with Joe O’Loughlin on numerous occasions early on down the left-flank to cause The U’s defence problems.
Archie Collins and Cameron Hargreaves both spurned half-chances, but the best openings of the first half came from Alex Hartridge as he twice came close via some excellent deliveries from attacking set-pieces.
Despite a mostly positive first half, the standards started to slip from the Devon side during the latter stages. This allowed Oxford to enjoy more possession and they edged their way into the contest as they started to threaten with more purpose.
After the interval though Dan Green’s side got on the front foot once again with Collins striking the post before Joel Randall went close with two chances in quick succession.
Josh Hancock, Harry Kite and Max Smallcombe were all brought on and their introduction provided more energy to the Grecians resulting in Exeter scoring on 72 minutes. After dispossessing the visitors in their own half the ball was played into Parsons and on the half turn the striker smashed a shot into the top corner.
Moments later the home team should have scored again. After White was fouled inside the penalty area Smallcombe’s spot-kick was saved.
As time ticked down United began to test the City defence with their direct style of play, but despite the increase in pressure the Grecians were able to deal with everything thrown their way during the dying minutes to hold on to another good, but testing victory.