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Match Reports

📝 Match reports: City under-18s suffer friendly defeats to Crystal Palace and Swansea City

18 July 2019

Exeter City’s under-18s played twice in five days as they continued their pre-season fixtures in the hope to be ready for the start of the Youth Alliance South West divisional the beginning of August.

Exeter City’s under-18s played twice in five days as they continued their pre-season fixtures in the hope to be ready for the start of the Youth Alliance South West divisional the beginning of August.

Last Friday saw the Grecians travel towards the capital, when they played out a close affair with Crystal Palace. City lost 2-0, but encouraging steps were made.


Tuesday’s friendly saw Exeter’s youngsters take on Swansea City’s youth team. The two sides were well matched throughout, but some late goals meant the Welsh outfit came away as 4-1 victors.

Disregarding the two scorelines, there were plenty of positives to take from the games for Chad Gribble's players. Now they'll be hoping to build on those.

The Devon club headed eastwards to face a talented Palace team. The Grecians went into the match with a defensive gameplan, which they executed brilliantly in what was a pleasing first half. They also created numerous chances going forward, however, they were just unable to take them.

The Premier League side scored just before the interval, before they changed their approach and personnel at half-time. With the Eagles introducing their more senior players off of the bench, City brought on their younger individuals.

Despite neither side really troubling the two goals in the second period, the London club were able to double their lead with 20 minutes remaining to take the game away from the visitors.

In spite of the two-goal margin, Exeter came away from the contest with real encouragement, and they remained in an optimistic mood before their match against Swansea.

Arguably, the Swans were a tougher test for Gribble’s men. With another defensive plan set up, the away side executed it well, nullifying their opponents, but, they did fall behind early on thanks to a Swansea penalty.

The Devonians began to create their own openings as they worked their way into the match, with Lewis Wilson and Alex Moyse both being denied by some last-ditch defending, before, Louis Morison (pictured) did bring his side level with a free-kick just before half-time.

In a contest displaying some moments of the highest quality, the sides traded blows after the break when the match became stretched and the action was end-to-end.

Gribble made changes to his team on 65 minutes, with the more inexperienced players getting some more productive minutes on the pitch. However, as a result of the substitutions, the game was disrupted, which resulted in the Wales side netting three late chances.

Despite Exeter coming away with another defeat, their coach was more defiant and believed the two games brought out plenty of positive moments.

“The Crystal Palace match was encouraging,” said Chad Gribble. “The levels we showed in all parts of our game was good, with the only thing missing was the finishing in front of goal.

“Our game with Swansea City was really entertaining. We would have liked to have been more solid when it became end-to-end, but the changes disrupted our flow, and we aren’t reading into the scoreline as 4-1 didn’t reflect on our performance at all.

“Pre-season friendlies are all about making progress and producing building blocks. Some guys got some much needed minutes, and we also introduced some of the younger players to the group.

“We’ve been strong in certain areas, but when we add the bits that are just missing from our game we feel we will be stronger. If we can show the same high levels in those parts of the game that need working on, that will help us build towards a complete performance.

“What we are aiming for is to be ready for the start on the season on August 3. We have another friendly on Saturday when we play Birmingham City, which I feel will provide us with another test similar to the one we had at Swansea, before we play Exmouth men's side next Wednesday, which will be entirely different. I’m looking forward to seeing how our boys will get on.”

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