A pacey young left-winger with a bag of tricks that could hurt even the best drilled of defences, Randell Williams arrived at St James Park on January 18.
A Londoner by birth, he spent some time in Tottenham Hotspurs’ youth system, also enjoying a spell in non-league football with Tower Hamlets. After spending 2016 with Crystal Palace, he moved onto Premier League rivals Watford, enjoying two loan stints at Wycombe Wanderers, for whom he made 26 appearances, scoring three goals. Having helped the Chairboys into League One last time out, he will be hoping to repeat that feat as a part of Matt Taylor’s promotion pushing outfit.
11 – Upon his arrival in the south west, Randell was given the prestigious number 11 shirt. Traditionally reserved for skilful left-wingers, throughout City’s history it has been worn by a range of players, including Adrian Thorne, a key member of the promotion winning Grecians side of 1963/64. The shirt was most recently vacated by fan-favourite Jayden Stockley, who netted a stunning 50 goals in 97 appearances for the Grecians before moving on to Preston North End at the turn of the year.
95 – Having signed on the dotted line just 24 hours before, Randell was given little time to adjust to his new surroundings, making the 95-mile trip to Rodney Parade to take on Newport County. Named on the bench, he came on for his debut in the 66th minute, replacing Jonathan Forte. Unfortunately, he was unable to help the Grecians avoid a narrow 1-0 loss.
72 – The following week, he made his home bow, coming off the bench in the 72nd minute against Cambridge United. An altogether happier affair, City took the lead just 10 minutes after his introduction, after a Nicky Law shot took a devilish deflection to wrong foot the U’s keeper. Although a strong rear-guard action followed, City were able to hold out to give him his first win in a red and white shirt.
1 – Having impressed since his arrival, the young winger was given his first start the following week, away at Carlisle United. After taking the lead through an in-form Nicky Law, the Grecians were pegged back by Jamie Devitt just 10 minutes from time, to earn the Cumbrians a share of the spoils. Randell would make his first 90-minute appearance just seven days later during a narrow 1-0 loss to Bury.
342 – Having arrived just a couple of months ago, Randell has already become an important squad member, clocking up 342 minutes across six appearances. Speaking to Devon Live at the start of March, Matt Taylor acknowledged his potential, stating that: “He is a young player that is still developing, but he’s had a good run of games now and he is very much a part of it [the squad].”
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