Exeter City kicked off pre-season with a narrow 2-1 defeat to Weston-Super-Mare at the Optima Stadium.
James Dodd captained the first half XI, full of youthful homegrown talent making their first starts in the first team. Summer signing Callum Rowe slotted in at left-back with Sonny Cox, who signed professional terms last week, leading the line for the Grecians.
Sam Avery had the first chance of the match for the hosts with just two minutes on the clock, as a ball was swept in from deep and he sent a header sailing over Jack Arthur’s goal.
The first ten minutes saw the Grecians make some nice passing moves without fashioning a real chance, but a rash challenge from Joe Wragg as he closed down his man on ten minutes gave Dayle Grubb the chance to put the Seagulls ahead from the spot. He dispatched his penalty past Jack Arthur to make it 1-0.
The hosts had the chance to double their lead on fifteen minutes as some trickery down the left saw a low cross come in but great work from Jack Arthur and Ellis Johnson allowed Cheick Diabate to hook clear.
The Seagulls continued to have the best of the chances with Scott Laird crashing a free-kick against the post from 25-yards.
On 24 minutes Weston doubled their lead through Lucas Vowles, who stooped to head home a wicked delivery from the dangerous Scott Laird from six yards.
Matt Taylor made a pair of changes just after half an hour, as Charlie Hanson and Joe Wragg were replaced by Jamie Nicholson and Eli Collins.
City came close to halfling the deficit after 40 minutes as Eli Collins sent a thunderous shot from 25-yards crashing off the post with Luke Purnell beaten in the Seagulls goal.
Matt Taylor played a more experienced team in the second half which made a strong start. Jack Sparkes impressing down the left, sending in a low cross that just evaded Matt Jay.
City fashioned their best chance of the half on 56 minutes as MJ fed Sparkes on the left, who sent in a low cross that Ben Seymour got a toe to but was flagged offside.
Matt Jay would be next to test Purnell as his free-kick on the edge of the box on 59 minutes stung the goalkeepers gloves. City really should have pulled one back after 65 minutes as Archie Collins headed wide from a corner.
Jack Sparkes again proved an outlet for City as he sent in a teasing low ball on 69 minutes that was inches away from Ben Seymour’s outstretched boot. The Grecians kept pushing to get back in the game with MJ sending a shot over on 72 minutes from Joel Randall’s neat pass.
City would finally get the goal their pressing deserved as Josh Key picked up the ball on the halfway line, raced forward beating three defenders before placing an inch perfect cross for Archie Collins to drill home from inside the box.
Despite making a few more half chances, the Grecians would fall to a 2-1 defeat.
Exeter City are next in action on Friday evening with a 7:30pm kick-off against Tiverton Town at the Ian Morecroft Stadium.
Weston-Super-Mare: Luke Purnell, Kieran Thomas, Scott Laird, Jacob Jagger-Cane, Sam Avery, Jason Pope, Nick McCootie, Lloyd Humphries, Lucas Vowles, Dayle Grubb, Jordan Bastin.
Exeter City (First half): Jack Arthur; Ellis Johnson, Cheick Diabate, Alfie Pond, Callum Rowe; Michael Lilley, Jack Veale, James Dodd, Joe Wragg, Charlie Hanson; Sonny Cox.
Exeter City (Second half): Harry Lee; Jake Caprice, Josh Key, Jordan Dyer, Alex Hartridge, Jack Sparkes; Harry Kite, Archie Collins; Joel Randall, Matt Jay, Ben Seymour.