Goals from Sam Nombe, Josh Key and a trialist handed Exeter City a 3-0 win over Truro City to give the Grecians their third pre-season win in a row.
The first half saw the Grecians take control of the contest from the off, and they deservedly went two goals ahead thanks to some precise passing and neat build up play.
Second half replacement, Nelson Iseguan, provided a lively cameo, and he and Alfie Clark played a massive hand in City’s third, which was eventually driven home by an Exeter trialist.
Grecians boss Matt Taylor looked to increase the minutes in the legs of several members of his first-team squad, with his starting XI down to play until the midway point of the second half as the start of the League One campaign draws ever closer.
Key and Josh Coley provided the width for the team in wing-back roles, while Nombe returned to partner Jevani Brown in attack.
City were quick to get onto the front foot, and just three minutes in they went close when Jevani Brown’s corner was met by Alex Hartridge, however his header was eventually cleared by the away defence.
Coley looked prominent in the early stages, and his surge down the left side saw the wing back get deep into the Truro half. His pull back found Nombe, and the striker’s front post strike was turned away by goalkeeper Morgan Coxhead.
Coley was at the heart of everything good from the hosts, and when he received the ball from the resulting corner, he whipped an effort just past the far upright.
Nombe, in his first showing since his four-goal haul against Weston-Super-Mare, was the next in an Exeter jersey to try his luck. Josh Key’s low ball located the poacher, but he scuffed an effort into the hands of the Truro shot-stopper.
Despite the visitors giving a good account of themselves, the Devonians continued to carve open the better chances, and on 18 minutes, Coley came within a whisker of breaking the deadlock when his cross-shot cannoned off the Truro crossbar.
Moments later, Harry Kite’s deflected effort was the next shot of the contest, but that proved to just be a warning sign because at the midpoint of the first period, the opening goal arrived.
Kite once again received the ball within shooting distance, and his low drive was saved onto the post by the left foot of Coxhead. On hand, Nombe displayed his sharp instincts by reacting first and converting from close range to make it 1-0.
However, despite being in the supremecy, Taylor’s men were close to conceding from a free-kick a few minutes later. Former Exeter man, Will Dean floated the ball into the danger area, and Tyler Harvey rose highest to divert the ball towards the near post, however, the linesman flagged an offside just when it looked like the ball would be bundled home.
But just just sparked the home attack back into life, and in the 29th minute, the Grecians doubled their advantage. Coley, once again showing his hunger and desire sustained the pressure onto the Truro goal with another forward run, before he linked up with Key. The right wing-back powered the ball home from 15 yards, much to the jubilation of everyone watching on.
As the hosts attempted to turn the screw, Tim Dieng saw a header disallowed after the assistant flagged for another offside, while Nombe might’ve done better when the ball fell his way inside the six-yard box following good work from Hartridge and Key.
Truro looked dangerous from set-pieces, and following a corner, Harry Lee denied Truro captain Connor Riley-Lowe when he volleyed from the edge of the box.
But in the lead up to half-time, the best opportunity for the match’s third goal fell the way of the hosts when a strong run from Archie Collins saw the midfielder move the ball onto Nombe, but the forward could only fire over.
With the Exeter players looking good for their two-goal lead, Taylor made just the one change at half-time with Matt Jay coming on for Nombe.
And the club captain played a part in the second half’s opening opportunity when Brown’s precise first-time ball found MJ. The Exeter number seven laid it to his right into the path of Dieng, who shot flashed past the post.
Seconds later, the visitors felt hard done by when they capitalised on a blocked clearance by the home defence. Rocky Neal stole in and looked to round Lee, however, as he put the ball into the back of the net, he was given offside.
Jay looked to swing the momentum back in his side’s favour a few minutes later when he combined with Brown, but the skipper saw his strike tipped round by Coxhead.
But while Taylor’s men continued to dominate proceedings, the away side were once again unfortunate not to get themselves on the scoresheet when a corner led to a bit of a scramble inside the Exeter penalty area, before Neal smuggled the ball past Lee, but again, the offside flag denied the Cornish club.
Coley saw a low shot tipped round the post as the game ticked into the final quarter, before Taylor turned to his bench to change the majority of the team. Introduced, the likes of Jake Caprice, Iseguan, and a trialist entered the fray, but it was in fact Academy player, Clark, who had the game’s next opening.
Iseguan flew down the left, before he sent a deep ball towards MJ. Jay showed tremendous composure by teeing up his strike partner, but Coxhead was equal to Clark’s shot.
The young frontman made amends minutes later though when the Grecians scored with their next attack. Iseguan, who looked lively since his introduction got to the byline before finding Clark. Clark laid the ball back to the trialist on the edge of the box, and his powerful strike was too good for the visiting goalie, to give his team a three-goal cushion late on.
The home team continued with the initiative with Jay and Gabriel Billington both going close, while, up the other end, Lee was merely a spectator for the most part.
While City looked for another goal late on, when the referee blew for full time, Taylor’s men had to settle for the 3-0 win, which overall offered plenty of encouragement for the coaching staff, and those watching on the YouTube channel.
The Grecians are next in action on Saturday when they play against Yeovil Town away from home in a 3:00pm kick-off. The details of the game can be found here.
Exeter City 1st XI: Harry Lee, Cheick Diabate, Alfie Pond, Alex Hartridge, Josh Key, Josh Coley, Harry Kite, Tim Dieng, Archie Collins, Jevani Brown, Sam Nombe
Exeter City 2nd XI: Harry Lee, Pierce Sweeney, Sam Stubbs, Jonathan Grounds, Jake Caprice, Nelson Iseguan, A.Trialist, Harrison King, Pedro Borges, Matt Jay, Alfie Clark
Truro City FC: Coxhead, Egan, Riley-Lowe, White, Rice, Dean, Harvey, Sullivan, Knowles, Grange, Neal
Subs: Edlin, Newton, Horton, Perrow, B.Rowe, K.Rowe