Exeter City’s under-18s booked their place in the second round of the FA Youth Cup after winning 3-0 against Yeovil Town at Huish Park on Tuesday night.
Despite seeing a number of chances go begging, the teams went into half-time still level at 0-0.
However, a brighter second half from the visitors resulted in Joel Randall breaking the deadlock, before two penalties from Will Dean secured the win Dan Green’s men merited.
After their hard-fought victory here, the Devon outfit will meet either Charlton Athletic or Whitehawk in round two, who meet each other in Welling next week.
Following a decent string of results in the Youth Alliance South West division, the Grecians were hoping to begin a strong cup run on Tuesday. However, a tricky tie against the Glovers stood in the way of City’s youngsters marching into the second round.
It was a bright and positive start from the away side, and during what was a good Exeter spell, they perhaps should have taken the lead twice inside the opening 25 minutes.
After good work from the productive Randall, the midfielder managed to dribble down his wing before cutting the ball back for striker Brandon Parsons who was lurking dangerously in the centre. The forward could only fire his effort over the crossbar.
James Dodd also came close to scoring the first goal when his inswinging free-kick evaded everyone before the ball clipped the post and bounced safely away.
The visitors were just short of a killer instinct in front of goal, which resulted in them, and their opponents heading into the half-time goalless.
If Green’s men lacked their traditional cut-throat finishing before the interval, they found it again after a minute of the second period.
Winger Josh Key beat his defender before crossing for Parsons. The attacker got across his marker, but failed to connect with the centre, leaving Randall to pick up the ball at the far post. The playmaker smashed home a shot past the Yeovil goalkeeper and into the top corner to make it 1-0.
The Devon club resorted to making changes, which included introducing Jack Sparkes to the fray. The substitute instantly brought life into the Grecian ranks and added another dimension to their attack.
However, the second goal came from a different City source. Key once again found himself down the flank, before he entered the 18-yard box and was brought down, resulting in the referee blowing for a penalty. Dean cooly slotted home the spot-kick to double his team’s advantage on 71 minutes.
Just five minutes later, Exeter’s youngsters booked their place in round two with their third goal of the game. The busy Sparkes got down the side of Town’s defence before rounding the goalkeeper, who brought him down clumsily consequently giving the away side their second penalty kick. Dean once again dispatched the penalty, rounding off what was a very good second half performance, and adding another victory on their impressive run of results.
Exeter City under-18s coach, Dan Green: “It was a good result. The guys put in enough of a performance to get the win, but we know we have more in us. We will need to find that in a competitive competition like this but I am pleased to progress.
“We had two or three good opportunities in the first half, but we didn’t take them and we lacked a cutting edge in the final third. It was a bright opening first 25 minutes from us but we just lost a little bit of momentum as the half wore on.
“We took the lead early on in the second half, and we made some changes. That brought us more energy and the team went on to score two more times to get the right result.
“We have Charlton or Whitehawk in the next round, but first we will be preparing for our match on Saturday against AFC Bournemouth in the southern quarter final of the Youth Alliance Cup.”
Exeter City Under-18s: Felix Norman, Sam Haynes, Jordan Dyer, Will Dean, Joe Belston, Mitch Thomas, Josh Williams, Joel Randall, James Dodd, Josh Key, Brandon Parsons.
Subs not used: Harry Gardner, Lucas White, Lewis Wilson, Louis Morison