Matt Jay and Pierce Sweeney on target for Grecians
Troy Archibald-Henville and Pierce Sweeney both featured for Exeter City reserves against Portsmouth reserves on Tuesday as they continued their comeback from injury.
Sweeney has not played for the first team since picking up an ankle injury in a 0-0 draw with Luton Town in November, while Troy Archibald-Henville has been battling injuries problems for most of the season.
City started the game slowly and found themselves behind after eight minutes when a corner was only cleared to the edge of the box and Ben Close fired a shot at goal. His shot was saved by Bobby Olejnik, but the rebound fell to Jamal Lowe who hit the ball in off the post from close range.
The energetic Matt Jay, captain for the game, then got City back on level terms as he chased down Drew Talbot in possession before running towards the area and unleashing a shot that slipped through the grasp of Liam O’Brien.
However, Portsmouth were back in front midway through the first half when Adam Buxton found the left corner of the net with a free-kick right on the edge of the box.
City continued to create chances in the first half with Jay volleying wide and Robbie Simpson glancing a header off target, but it was not until the second half that they managed to draw level once more.
It was Jay who was the provider again as his ball across the box was well left by Simpson for Sweeney to run on to and hit home from the right side of the area.
However, after that, the match went downhill for City. Amine Linganzi was allowed too much room to drill a shot into the bottom corner of Olejnik’s goal from 30 yards.
Then with 15 minutes to go Conor Chaplin skipped past a couple of challenges in the box before lifting a shot over Olejnik and into the far corner of the net.
The City keeper then gifted the 19-year-old striker a second as he dwelt on the ball for too long in his box, was robbed of possession and could only watch as Chaplin rolled the ball into an unguarded net.
This lack of composure on the ball struck again for City as Buxton stole the ball off the Grecians defence and was then brought down by a clumsy challenge in the box. Chaplin stepped up to send the spot-kick down the middle of the goal to complete his hat-trick.
In all, it would have been a second half performance that would have disappointed manager Paul Tisdale but he will at least take the positives in the fact that Archibald-Henville and Sweeney have more minutes under the belts.
Exeter City: Olejnik; Sweeney, Archibald-Henville, Storey, Croll; Ampadu, Byrne, Tillson, Riley-Lowe; Jay, Simpson. Subs: Egan, Down, Collins, Seymour.
Portsmouth: O’Brien, Buxton, Liganzi, Chaplin, Lalkovic, Close, Bedford, Lowe, Whatmough, Talbot, Davies. Subs not used: Widdrington, Hall, Bradbury, Collins, Haunstrup.