Exeter City fell to a pre-season defeat at Weymouth as Jake McCarthy’s first-half strike was enough to settle their match at the Bob Lucas Stadium.
Despite the 1-0 defeat to the Southern League Premier Division outfit, there would have been plenty of positives for manager Paul Tisdale to take out of the match as they controlled possession for large parts of the match and created plenty of chances to get back into the match.
Sixteen-year-old Jake Sparkes was particularly impressive when he came on as he rattled both posts, sent another shot inches wide and brought a good save out of Mark Travers.
Tisdale named a strong starting XI for the game, with Lee Holmes getting his first outing of pre-season on the left of an attacking midfield three that including Liam McAlinden on the right and Jake Taylor in the centre.
However, it was the home side who sprang a shock in the fifth minute as a ball to the back post was only half cleared by the Grecians and Terras’ skipper Jake McCarthy drilled a low shot home from 25 yards out.
City were enjoying long spells of possession in the opening 20 minutes but were almost 2-0 behind when Weymouth countered and Brandon Goodship curled a shot off the underside of the crossbar.
However, from then on the Grecians found their footing and should have really found a way back into the match.
Their first meaningful effort of the match came moments later as some good build play, involving Ryan Harley and Reid saw the ball find the feet of Taylor, but his first time shot curled its way out for a goal kick. Reid was then in the thick of the action again as he chested a ball into the path of Holmes, but the former Derby County winger could only hit a first-time volley over the crossbar.
City kept the pressure up for the remainder of the half with Holmes sending a low ball across the six-yard box that Ashley Wells had to cut out. Then, on 38 minutes, Holmes had a shot from the edge of the box that deflected just wide.
Tisdale made two changes at the break with James Hamon and Craig Woodman coming on for Holmes and Pym. And Woodman created the first chance after the break as he checked onto his right foot but for swinging a cross to the back post that Tillson was inches away from heading home.
Tisdale then made four further changes on the hour mark with Jack Sparkes and Matt Jay joined trialists Ryan Brunt and Tyler Harvey on the pitch at the expense of Taylor, Harley, McAlinden and Reid.
Harvey went close to equalizing a minute later as he fired a shot a foot wide from 20 yards out. Sparkes then created a chance and he got down the right and crossed for Brunt to send a header that was gathered under his crossbar by Weymouth keeper Mark Travers.
Sixteen-year-old Sparkes then almost produced a moment of magic as he cut in from the right and arrowed a shot towards the top corner but his effort missed the target by a matter of inches.
Then with 16 minutes to go Harvey kept a ball alive in the box and as it bounced into Sparkes’ path and the lively teenager hit a first-time volley that cannoned off the base of the post.
Jay was next to go close with 11 minutes left, before Sparkes show continued. First he hit an effort against the inside of the other post, from the edge of the area, and then walked past three defenders before bringing a good save out of Travers from the edge of the six-yard area.
However, for all their efforts, City couldn’t find a way back into the match and Weymouth came away with a memorable pre-season victory.
Weymouth: Travers; Brooks, Wells, Buckley, Sa (Down, 29); McCarthy, Carmichael, Davis; Thomson, Goodship, Wakefield. Subs not used: Down, Thomas, Baker, Stewart, Rodriguez, McGrath, Janz-Baker, James, Jackson, Faruggia, Harvey.
Exeter City: Pym (Hamon, 45); Sweeney (Barthram, 66), Brown (Storey, 66), Moore-Taylor (Croll, 66); James (Byrne, 66), Tillson (Collins, 66); Taylor (Jay, 59), Harley (Harvey, 59), Holmes (Woodman, 45), McAlinden (Sparkes, 59); Reid (Brunt, 59).