Exeter City’s under-18s won their latest fixture in the Youth Alliance South West division with a 1-0 victory against Yeovil Town.
Joel Randall scored the only goal of the game for the visitors on 19 minutes, in a match which was scrappy in certain areas, and became a little ill-tempered with the Glovers chasing the game
And despite missing a penalty later on, the Grecians held on to secure another three points, helping them extend their unbeaten run to eight matches across all competitions now.
The victory keeps Dan Green’s side in third place in the league standings, five points behind the table toppers AFC Bournemouth, but boasting the best goal difference in the league with an impressive +18.
Exeter’s youngsters came into the match in good spirits, hoping to secure another win to apply pressure on the two sides above them in the league table.
With an unchanged line-up following their decent victory against Oxford United last time out, City started brightly and created a couple of half-chances which they couldn’t take.
The match fell into a pattern of little quality, but the away side continued to apply pressure on the Yeovil goal during the opening quarter of an hour, and despite not breaking the deadlock, they looked the most likely to score the first goal of the game.
After 19 minutes, their pressure finally paid off with Randall grabbing the opening goal. Jordan Dyer played a neat ball into the midfielder, before a beautiful first touch allowed him to coolly slot home a finish inside the goalkeeper’s near post to make it 1-0.
Not long after, the Devon club were awarded a penalty when a promising passage of play led to Randall falling inside the 18-yard box. The referee awarded a penalty, giving the Grecians the chance to double their lead. However, Randall saw his spot-kick saved by the Town goalkeeper resulting in the scoreline remaining at 1-0.
Arguably, Green’s men could have been awarded a second penalty in the resulting aftermath of the first spot-kick, but protests were waved away, and play continued.
On 30-minutes another flashpoint occurred when the referee punished a Yeovil player with a red card after a reckless tackle on Harry Kite. The game was certainly boiling up as half-time approached.
The second period saw the hosts become competitive as they tried to look for a leveller. Exeter weren’t able to create many clear openings due to the Glovers sitting off them and becoming extremely difficult to break down.
The Somerset outfit did particularly well in breaking up play, and continuously looked for ways to counter-attack.
However, all hope of getting themselves back onto level terms were banished when another Town player was dismissed with a second yellow card following an argument with the officials on 89 minutes.
It meant that City were able to hang on to the one-goal lead, as they continue their quest in trying to close the gap to league leaders AFC Bournemouth in the Youth Alliance South West division.
Exeter City under-18s coach, Dan Green: “I’m really pleased we’ve managed to keep a clean sheet and see the game through. Bournemouth are on a good run at the moment, so it was important for us not to let them increase their lead in the league table.
“It was one of those competitive matches, but we stayed out of that. It was certainly a new experience for the lads, to be involved in an environment like that, but the team tried their best not to let that affect them; in the future these lads may end up playing for the first-team in more hostile environments so the game was certainly another experience which will benefit them.
“I was really pleased with Joel Randall and Will Dean. In a game that lacked that bit of quality, they were the individuals who understood the opposition and what was going on, and they matched their competitiveness with their quality and intensity.
“It’s pleasing that we’ve won again but bigger picture we know that we need to have more positive performances to get to where we want to be. The most important thing is that we strive to improve every day.”
Exeter City under-18s: Felix Norman, Sam Haynes, Jordan Dyer, Josh Hancock, Joe O’Laughlin, Will Dean, Mitch Thomas, Jack Sparkes, Joel Randall, James Dodd, Josh Key. Subs not used: Lewis Williams, Josh Williams, Harry Kite, Brandon Parsons, Lucas White